Ever wanted to take apart the microwave to see how it works? Crack open your computer and peek inside? Intrigued by how things work? So are we! That’s why we’re dissecting all kinds of things from rubber erasers to tractor beams! Read along as National Geographic Kids unplugs, unravels, and reveals how things do what they do. Complete with “Tales from the Lab,” true stories, biographies of real scientists and engineers, exciting diagrams and illustrations, accessible explanations, trivia, and fun features, this cool book explains it all!
How Things Work Review
T.J. Resler & National Geographic Kids did a fantastic job with How Things Work. It hit all the right notes to keep kids (and adults!) interested. The book opens by talking about hoverboards and hoverbikes. That’s enough to catch almost anyone’s attention. Especially those who have seen Back to the Future or Star Wars! Who hasn’t dreamed of zipping smoothly along? From there, it touches on everything from the mundane to the super-cool. And it even manages to show you exactly how neat even the normal stuff – like your refrigerator – actually is.
Writing books for kids that keep them interested enough to keep reading is challenging. Especially when you’re throwing information that can be hard to grasp at them. It requires a deft touch, some silly language, and the occasional cute picture doesn’t hurt. How Things Work has all three. Awesome fact snippets and horrible puns, to pictures that make even the most Grumpy Gus go “Aww!” .
Just the Facts. Fun facts. Myth vs. Fact. Different sections within each topic are clearly defined. Bright colors, various font sizes, and great illustrations keep attention on the page. The illustrations do a fantastic job of clarifying concepts – for kids and adults. They definitely chose well when picking out exactly what to show. How Things Work does pack a lot of information onto each page, so it’s not a book you devour in one sitting. However, it would be a great tool for getting kids excited about learning at home or in the classroom.
Most entries also have a Try This! with them. They are simple projects that children can do that illustrate some concept relating to the object being talked about. As a rule of thumb, the experiments should have parental guidance, but none of them are even close to dangerous. The experiments range from extremely simple to a bit more complex. The simple things are ones like stretching a slinky out and observing the waves when you shake it. The more complex involves stuff like using a couple of square mirrors and two stuffed toys to make a cloaking device.
There are also profiles on people who have made a difference using science in some way. My favorite was probably that of Nicolas “Cola” Gomez and Favio Chavez. They have worked together to make musical instruments for disadvantaged kids out of garbage. However, other people profiled include: David Moinina Sengeh, Helen Greiner, Edwin Link, and Elon Musk. Some of the names you might recognize, and some you probably don’t. Due to their various contributions, though, all definitely belong in this book. But if you want to find out why, you’ll need to look for yourselves!
Overall, another great book put out by National Geographic Kids! T.J. Resler succeeds on all points with How Things Work. Expect to see this on my list of “Best Kids Books” at the end of the year.