Discover the Extreme World by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele
|Discover the Extreme World by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A readable and enjoyable introduction to the world about them for the pre-teen. It's a book that will get read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: September 2011|
|Publisher: Miles Kelly Publishing|
In my day it would have been called an encyclopaedia. It would have had a lot more text, been rather dull – and remained largely unread by those who received it as a worthy present. For 'Discover the Extreme World' you need to start at the opposite end of the scale. It's about visual impact. A fact is linked to a picture and the more striking the better – and only then is it explained. The text is as simple as possible – clear, unambiguous wording which drives the point home as quickly as possible. The layout encourages you to move the book so that you see the pictures better and can read the words. It's fun and (say it quietly) it's educational.
If you're wondering what's so extreme, it's really quite simple. You take a subject and you look at its extremes. The first subject is Active Earth and you'll be taken on a trip through those things which come to earth from space, volcanoes, mountains, tectonic plates, temperature extremes, earthquakes, rivers, erosion, caverns, mineral deposits, the depths of the oceans, winds, the polar regions and the earth's driest places.
The information is up-to-date and relevant. There's reference to the volcanic eruptions of 2010 and the resulting ash clouds. Children will remember what happened and see the relevance to their lives. It's not something which happened in prehistoric times before even Grandma was born. There's no dumbing down and it's never patronising. The section on Active Earth is just one of six (along with Awesome Animals, Incredible Science, Ultimate Machines, Super Humans and History Revealed) and they're all written to the same standard. There's also an excellent index – and it's good to get pre-teens used to the idea of using an index. With a book like this they'll do it willingly.
Disadvantages? Well, just a couple. If you're in the UK you'll have to accept that the spelling is American – you'll meet words such as center and theater but if children are reading this book then they should be able to accept the differences without difficulty. The other point I would make is fundamental to the format of the book. It is limited. There's a section on Heroes and Villains. The heroes are Confucius, Marcus Aurelius, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale and Nelson Mandela. There have been one or two more. With the villains there have – unfortunately – been many more than the five shown. This isn't a book to rely on as the definitive information on a subject, but it is an excellent starting point.
And even Grandma enjoyed reading it.
If this book appeals then we can also recommend The Comic Strip Big Fat Book of Knowledge by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner, The Human Machine by Richard Walker and Moon: Science, History, and Mystery by Stewart Ross.
You can read more book reviews or buy Discover the Extreme World by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Discover the Extreme World by Camilla de la Bedoyere, Clive Gifford, John Farndon, Steve Parker, Stewart Ross and Philip Steele at Amazon.com.
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