Friday, August 30, 2013

Back to School with DK - How to be a Genius by John Woodward

It's the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas. It's back to school time and DK is celebrating by offering discounts on many of their educational reference books.

Need to know more about English, math, science or history or another subject? DK probably has a book for you. Whether your child is taking his or her first steps to school or entering their final year, these books can start the school year off right. By the way, many of these books aren't just for kids. Even adults can learn a thing or two.

Click here or on the icon to the left to see the list of books in the Back to School Boutique.

Today, I have a review of one of those books.

How to be a Genius explains how the brain works and presents lots of puzzles, games and optical illusions to exercise and train your way to being a genius.

I loved this book. It's wonderfully illustrated with bright and exciting colours. It's filled with interesting facts about the brain and uses some fun exercises (labelled "Brain Games") to explain a point and emphasize the information that's presented. I particularly liked how the section on the parts of the brain and how it works with the rest of the body. I also liked the games and puzzles as they are intended to get your mind working. The book is written for 10-17 year olds, but older kids (aka adults) might also find this book useful and/or interesting.

There's also little tidbits of interesting information scattered throughout the book. Here are two examples: "There is a theory that it takes 10,000 hours of work to be an expert at anything - that's around ten years of practice" (page 20) and "The six basic facial expressions of emotion are the same in all human cultures worldwide" (page 158).

The book also has pages featuring many famous geniuses. These include: Mozart, Einstein, da Vinci, Gandhi, Darwin and a few others I hadn't heard of like Wernher von Braun (a rocket scientist), Jean Francois Champollion (master of languages, decoded the hieroglyphs on the Rosetta Stone), Mary Anning (pioneer in geology), and George Washington Carver (fought racism and improved the lives of the poor by focusing on agriculture). I actually had heard of Carver, but I didn't know what he did. All of these features were extremely interesting.

All of the brain games were fun, but many of them were challenging, at least for me anyway. A genius I am not. I think kids will like them. It was especially amusing to read the pages for training your pet (page 178-179, follows the pages on animal intelligence). Even though I don't have any pets, I loved learning how to train the various pets; dog, cat, hamster, guinea pig and goldfish.

The table of contents lists the major sections and topics within each of those sections. The back of the book contains a glossary, which includes some fascinating definitions as well as an adequate index. Of course, there are several pages of answers to the brain games.

Highly recommended.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank Chris at DK Canada for this review copy.

How To Be a Genius by John Woodward, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2099. ISBN 9780756655150(Hardcover), 192p.

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