This Book Made Me Do It.
Illustrated by Tobatron.
DK. 2010. 192 pp.
There are a rash of titles out there from the Dangerous Book for Boys to How To Be the Best At Everything that are filled with things for young readers to learn about and do. These are classic lazy days of summer books, full of marvelous ideas for hobbies and projects to work on. John Woodward contributes to the genre with the widest ranging volume I've seen yet: This Book Made Me Do It. From DK Books it leaves the rest of the field in the dust when it comes to design (as you would expect) and also offers basic instructions on everything from building a bottle rocket to surfing to holding a ghost hunt. (There are also pertinent instructions on avoiding a vampire bite, in case you're worried.) Rather than waste a lot of time on details, this is a straightforward group of instructions, via diagrams and lists, on how to do many many many things. You learn how to pack a first-aid kit and fashion a splint, tie a bandana and tie-dye a t-shirt, make tomato sauce and flip a crepe. There's an entire chapter on surviving in the wild (steer by the stars and build a raft) plus a section on sports, amazing your friends and exploring the world (finally—how to dowse for water!). It's the most complete book of this type I've come across and as such is a must addition for any classroom or library and easily has homeschooler written all over it. But even beyond the obvious use as a teaching tool, it's just flat out fun and there is something in there that will appeal to absolutely every single type of kid. Call it a rainy day investment, satisfaction guaranteed.
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