Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy

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Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Margaret Young
Reviewed by Margaret Young
Summary: With dinosaurs, brains, and super trains all in the title, we could hardly resist this book. What's more it has volcanoes, hurricanes, early aircraft, race cars and more. This is a very boy friendly book of science quizzes and ideal for a family game night or to entertain the children on a long trip.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: March 2013
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447227168

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Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains is divided into eight sections. The first four sections are questions on dinosaurs and prehistoric life, the human brain, natural disasters and finally transport. The following four sections are much longer and provide not only the answers to the previous sections' questions, but a detailed, scientific explanation in clear easy to understand language that even my four year old can usually follow. These answers are very well written and quite interesting to both of my children, and even as an adult I found this both educational and entertaining. I have to admit, I learned a few things from this book as well, and we will certainly be brushing up on our knowledge of the human brain before bringing this out again.

Every topic in this book is something my sons are interested in. They love dinosaurs, but this was the easiest section in the book and even the 4 year old was able to answer all of the questions. I have to admit though, we have more than the usual interest in palaeontology and we rarely go a day without reading something dinosaur related. My sons find the human brain interesting as well - and what boy wouldn't with all the interest in zombies nowadays? But they also enjoy reading about the brain as they would a machine. They like to know how everything works, and this book explains these topics quite well. We found the questions in this section the most difficult, and even I missed a number of them, but it makes this something to learn from. I would say the last two chapters were just right on difficulty for us. My eight year old could answer most of the questions, but even where we knew the answers, we often learned a bit more from the explanations.

We also really enjoyed the picture puzzles. This was another one that even the youngest child could participate in, with minimal help. Some of these were sets of pictures in which you had to guess which was the odd one out - and most importantly - why? Another puzzled showed four volcanoes and asked the readers which ones were active and which ones were extinct. Most of the illustrations are just cartoon like doodles added to brighten things up, but a few illustrate a scientific principle, and these do help make the topics easier to understand.

My sons did take issue with one question in the dinosaur which asks what the name dinosaur means. Both boys know very well that it means terrible lizard but this is not one of the possible answers. Instead the author says it means awesome lizard as he feels this is what Richard Owen meant when he named the creatures. There is some scientific basis for this assumption Deinos technically means terrible, powerful and wondrous in ancient Greek, but as most children are taught the name dinosaur means terrible lizard, this can be a bit confusing. There is also one misprint, but the children actually loved this part. The author has asks how heavy the Apatosaurus the largest of the pterosaurs was. The boys were laughing their socks off at the idea of a flying Apatosaurus. The author obviously meant to type sauropod, an order of saurischian dinosaurs most prominent in the Jurassic period which included Apatosaurus, rather than pterosaurs, which are not dinosaurs at all but flying reptiles. Still, my sons delighted in the author's mistake and presumed embarrassment. Considering my sons' reaction, I would have to say that the misprint greatly added to, rather than detracted from their overall enjoyment of the book.

We had quite a lot of fun with this book. It is a fun way to pass an evening indoors, and would be brilliant to keep children entertained on a long trip. It has the added benefit that the children are learning while they are having fun. I would note though, that I don't think this book would have been used at all if I did not read out and ask the questions. This is simply because my son found it too awkward to keep flipping to the back of the book to read the explanation, and then back to the front for next question. Even I found this tedious, and down right annoying when I lost my place and had to search through so many pages to find it again. I would really have preferred it if they had repeated the questions with the answers so a child could just read this straight through as you would any science book if they wanted to read this on their own. Barring this, I would have at least preferred the answers for each section to follow immediately, as it would have meant fewer pages to flip through if you lost your place. I have taken ½ star off for this feature, but overall this is still a fun book that the whole family can enjoy.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend:

Why is Snot Green? by Glenn Murphy

Science: Sorted! Evolution, Nature and Stuff by Glenn Murphy

Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon

Buy Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Super Geek, Dinosaurs, Brains and Supertrains by Glenn Murphy at Amazon.com.


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