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Book Review: by Lang Reid
Kids Almanac 2010
am a great believer in education. If the disadvantaged of this world were
only given education, the world would be a better place. Unfortunately,
there is more than one force opposing education for all, intent on
maintaining the status quo. A great shame.
However, the National Geographic people have done their bit for many years,
and this new publication National Geographic Kids Almanac 2010 (ISBN
978-1-4263-0501-6, National Geographic publishers, 2009) is designed to make
the learning experience for children a fun and rewarding one.
The almanac is divided into nine main sections including Your World 2010,
Awesome Adventure, Amazing Animals, Culture Connection, Geography Rocks,
Going Green, History Happens, Wonders of Nature and Super Science.
Being an American organization, it came as no surprise that the first item
in the first chapter related to Barack Obama being voted into the White
House. I think everyone would agree that it was a momentous occasion for the
world, let alone the US.
The pages are illustrated in a vibrant and very colorful way which should
appeal to the younger market. The facts are presented in anything but a
stuffy didactic way.
There are many pages on the dinosaurs, a group that has held the world’s
attention, even though they have been extinct for millions of years, and
popularity of the movie Jurassic Park is a testament to this.
Of definite value is the section called “Homework Help” with some very
practical advice on how to write and present oral reports and even a
checklist of what to do in the lead-up to the presentation.
The origins of the universe are given following modern scientific thought
and not the creationist doctrine. Genesis doesn’t get a mention. Interesting
facts are presented about our own solar system and the major constellations.
Recent findings on nano-technology are explained in simple terms, but yet
with enough depth to give the young minds a good start in understanding the
world which will be coming - even if not quite 2010, things will be very
different by 2020.
In the section on inventions and discoveries there is mention of Yves Rossy,
the man who ‘wears’ the jet-powered wing to fly across continents, who had
to ditch a couple of weeks ago when he got confused in dense cloud as to
which way was up. A real adventurer, doing something nobody else has done
since Icarus. However, it was heartening to see that the true pioneers of
science such as Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Marie Curie, Alexander Bell and
Albert Einstein were not ignored.
At B. 450 in my local Bookazine store, it is a very inexpensive Xmas gift
for young enquiring minds. Unfortunately, nowhere could I find the
recommended age groups for this book, but I would suggest 10 years and up.
By the way, even though the almanac is directed towards children, there were
plenty of facts that this old father did not know, such as the “zorse” (half
zebra, half horse) being kept in a German zoo, or the fact that cats can
communicate with each other having a known vocabulary of 16 “cat words”.
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