Saturday, June 30, 2012

Katy and the Big Snow

0395181550Katy and The Big Snow
Written by Virginia Lee Burton
Published at Houghton Mifflin Books

About the book

Katy, a brave and untiring tractor, who pushes a bulldozer in the summer and a snowplow in the winter, makes it possible for the townspeople to do their jobs.

In 2009, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of Virginia Lee Burton's birth. As part of this celebration a glitter-cover edition of Katy and the Big Snow, complete with snowy stickers, has been created. In this enduring winter favorite from the Caldecott Medal winner Burton, Katy the snowplow finally gets her chance to shine when a blizzard blankets the city and everyone is relying on Katy to help dig out. This new paperback is perfect for gift giving. Children love sharing Katy’s shining moment of glory and will inevitably admire her “chug, chug, chug” endurance.

Who is Virginia Lee Burton?

Virginia Lee Burton (1909-1968) was the talented author and illustrator of some of the most enduring books ever written for children. The winner of the 1942 Caldecott Medal for THE LITTLE HOUSE, Burton's books include heroes and happy endings, lively illustrations, and a dash of nostalgia. She lived with her two sons, Aristides and Michael, and her husband George Demetrios, the sculptor, in a section of Gloucester, Massachusetts, called Folly Cove. Here she taught a class in design and from it emerged the Folly Cove designers, a group of internationally known professional artisans. She is the author of many classic children's picture books, including MIKE MULLIGAN AND HIS STEAM SHOVEL and KATY AND THE BIG SNOW.

My Thoughts

Here’s a classic book with a beautiful story in it.   The main reason I requested this book  to review is that I have a lapbook based on it and I didn’t own the book.  Mind you I could have taken it from the library but it is quite popular among homeschoolers and it is frequently out. 

Katy is a red tractor that can be transformed into a bulldozer and a snowplow if needed.  But Katie is barely used during the summer because usually there isn’t enough snow for her to plow.   However, one day a HUGE snow storm hit the city and Katie was needed.   She helped everyone in the city and plowed all the streets to help the people to circulate during the storm.

The illustrations have not changed much since the first publication of the story back in 1943.   I love it when old stories get re-published for the pleasure of a new generation of children.   The story is simple yet fun to read.   Perfect for kids in PreK to grade 3.

If you are interested in getting the lapbook of Katy and the Big Snow, you can purchased it at CurrClick.  The lapbook is a creation from In The Hands of a Child.

Katy and the Big Snow is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Monarch Butterfly

09090Monarch Butterfly
By Gail Gibbons
Published at Holiday House

About the Book

From egg to caterpillar to butterfly, the story of how they live.

My Thoughts

I’ve discovered the books by Gail Gibbons with Ladybugs which I absolutely adore.  I wanted to look at other titles from her and requested the Monarch Butterfly one because it is one of my favourite butterflies.

From the beginning of the book I learned something interesting that I didn’t know – the egg of a monarch is almost always laid on a milkweed plant.   When the egg latches the plant becomes its food.   I didn’t know that a monarch butterfly will lay its eggs on the same kind of plant.   Now I understand the importance of keeping milkweed plants around.   The tiny caterpillar will eat for two weeks and molt five times before starting the process of becoming a marvelous butterfly. The process is explained in details with nice illustrations.   Through the book, you will always experience the journey of a monarch butterfly as it migrates for the winter.   

The book explains in clear words the whole life cycle and migration of the monarch butterfly.  It is a great way to discover more about the butterfly that comes and visit us during the warm season.   At the end of the book, you also have some tips on how to raise a monarch butterfly.   It would be a great way to have live science in your home!

Monarch Butterfly is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

A Picture Book of Anne Frank

10781A Picture Book of Anne Frank
By David A. Adler
Published at Holiday House

About the Book

The story of the girl who tried to hide from the Nazis.

My Thoughts

Anne Frank is one of the well known name from the Second World War.   I requested this book because I want my kids to know about the story of this young lady and how she unfortunately died. 

A Picture Book of Anne Frank will tell the story of young lady who took the time to write in a journal while hiding from the enemy.   The book doesn’t tell only the story of the hidden years but also her birth and youth.    Having a book that speaks about the whole life of someone is fabulous because you can have a pretty good idea of how that person lived.   The illustrations are beautiful and bring the story more complete as you can see whether in color or in black and white how life during the 2nd World War was.  

Anne seemed a beautiful smiling child while growing up.   Through the pages of the book, we discover how she wanted to become a writer and receive a blank book at her 13th birthday.    The illustration picturing the hiding place is very interesting as it give you a pretty good idea on their quarters for over two years.   Unfortunately, someone must have betrayed them because they were discovered and sent to camps.  Of the eight hiding only one survived – Anne’s father.   The diary that Anne left behind helps us discover what happened during the war.   It gives us a better perspective of how a young girl went through these hard years.

Other titles in the A Picture Book series are about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Christopher Columbus, John F. Kennedy, Simon Bolivar, Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, Jesse Owens, Frederick Douglass, Sitting Bull, Rosa Parks, Robert E. Lee, Sojourner Truth, Jackie Robinson, Paul Revere, Patrick Henry, Davy Crockett, Thomas Alva Edison, Louis Braille, Thurgood Marshall, Amelia Earhart, George Washing Carver, Sacagawea, Dwight David Eisenhower, and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

A Picture Book of Anne Frank is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Irena Sendler and the Children of Warsaw Ghetto

22517Irena Sendler and The Children of the Warsaw Ghetto
By Susan Goldman Rubin
Published at Holiday House

About the Book

Irena Sendler was a diminutive Polish social worker who helped spirit more than four hundred children out of the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

Using toolboxes, ambulances, and other ingenious measures, Irena Sendler defied the Nazis and risked her own life by saving and then hiding Jewish children. Her secret list of the children's real identities was kept safe, buried in two jars under a tree in war-torn Warsaw. An inspiring story of courage and compassion, this biography includes a list of resources, source notes, and an index.

My Thoughts

I didn’t know the story or Irena Sendler and how she was able to save numerous Jewish children during the 2nd World War.   Discovering this book was very informative for me.    The story is accompanied by breathtaking painting illustrating the events of the life of an extraordinary woman.

This young lady has taken amazing risks to save the life of many young Jews during a time when her city was occupied by Nazis.   She would stop at nothing to find ways to take the children out of the Ghetto and put them in protective custody – even a baby.   The children would move frequently to protect them.   She would keep a list of the children and even was able to hide it from the Nazis when she got arrested.   Eventually, she hid the list under a tree in front of a Nazis building.    Jews were even hid inside the animal cages of the Warsaw Zoo.  

More than four hundred children were brought to safety thanks to the efforts of Irena Sendler.  Even after the war, the story remained a secret because of the presence of the Soviets in Poland.    The Communists regarded Irena as a traitor.    The story finally came to light in 1989 when the regime was disintegrated.   Since then her work during the 2nd World War has been recognized.

Holiday House also has a teaching guide that goes with the book.  You can access it at

The story of Irena Sendler is worth reading for everyone.  It is a good reminder that when injustice happens, it is important to stand up against it and do everything you can to help the ones who are mistreated, even if it means you are putting  your own life at risk.

Irena Sendler and The Children of the Warsaw Ghetto is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Spider-Man toys from Hasbro Canada



July 3rd will mark the comeback of The Amazing Spider-Man on the big screen.   After numerous movies on the famous comic book character, a new one will be in theaters next week.    I personally have mixed feelings about it but my husband is telling me that it is a good things that they are re-doing the Spider-Man movies.   For us it will mean a date night together – hopefully before I embark a plane to go to Calgary on training.

While many comic book fans wait patiently to see the new movie, Hasbro has recently released new toys based on The Amazing Spider-Man.    Kids (whether young or older) will be delighted to discover the new products in the toy section of their favorite store.

The Amazing Spider-Man Web Battlers – Web Blade31A9BCA85056900B10D8B8A4E1DAE50E

This is the amazing web-crawling hero and his arch nemesis The LIZARD like you’ve never seen them! These Web Battlers Action Figures look just like the characters from THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN movie, but each has a surprise that his enemies won’t be ready for! When you squeeze his legs, he unleashes a furious attack. Amp up your adventures with these Web Battlers Action Figures.

Each sold separately. Styles may vary.

My Thoughts

I have mixed feelings about this figure. The figure itself is quite solid and somewhat moveable. I say somewhat because the knees as well as one elbow won’t bend. However, the legs, the arms and the right elbow can move without problem. As you squeeze the legs, the web blade will twist to attack the enemies of Spider-Man.

Thought the mechanism is smooth and works well, I don’t like the hand where the web blade is located as it is much bigger than the other one. However, I understand that making toys based on movie characters can be tricky and I can see that ultimately, they wanted to show Spider-Man in action. Boys won’t mind it and will definitively find the spinning web blade really cool!

31AB22E35056900B10B075F92135B596The Amazing Spider-Man Spider Strike Battle Racer

Buckle up, because your SPIDER-MAN adventures will never be the same once you’ve got the AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Strike Battle Vehicle. Your SPIDER-MAN figures ride in the seat when he needs more than webs to chase down evil and stop it. When his enemies least expect it, push down on the vehicle’s spoilers to launch the retractable web claw! Your SPIDER-MAN figure can launch a swinging stealth attack from the claw that nobody will see coming!

Vehicle comes with figure.

My Thoughts

Let me tell you one thing that any super-hero fan knows… Spider-Man doesn’t have a vehicle in comics and/or the movies. But for the purpose of this review, let me present you the Spider Strike Battle Racer which is brand new on the market. The car possess a retractable web claw which shoots out and swing Spider-man into action. To unleash the claw, you simply have to push the spoiler on the back of the vehicle. The car itself has a very cool design and I particularly love the color of it. A figure also comes with the vehicle.

All little boys out there will enjoy playing with this car and Spider-Man. It is quite original and will keep them busy for quite some time.

The Amazing Spider-Man Symbiote Snap VENOM

SPIDER-MAN is already a legendary superhero with amazing powers that he uses for good. These web-slinging hero figures and menacing villain figures each come with accessories.

Each figure sold separately. Styles may vary.

My Thoughts

At first I was a bit disappointed to have received a villain from the Spider-Man comic series. But my husband thought it was cool because usually people always get the good guys for figures. This particular figure come with a snap jaw piece that could be inserted on one of the arms of the figure. It reminds me of the ability of creating things out of the symbiote in the comics. The jaw is easy to use and the mechanism seems to be smooth. The figure itself represent Venom with its mouth open and its tongue popping out of it. Not the most pleasant character…

The figure is made of strong plastic that could withstand the play done by kids ages 4 and up.

The Amazing Spider-Man Hero Mask


Feel just like your web-slinging hero with this awesome SPIDER-MAN Hero Mask! It conceals your true identity as you imagine web-crawling adventures and battles against the forces of darkness. Evil doesn’t stand a chance when you’re in your Hero Mask!

My Thoughts

I love the mask.   This particular mask is so well done that I feel as though I am holding the real Spider-Man mask into my hands.    Now mind you it isnt’ the real deal but any little boy would love to wear this one on Halloween this year!   It is specifically designed to allows great visibility through the eyes and will hold perfectly on the head of a child thanks to the velcro bands behind the mask.  Inside the mask, you will see a blue contour for the face that is flexible and soft at the same time.  Prepare your child with a great adventure during trick or treating this year with this marvelous Spider-Man mask!

The Amazing Spider-Man Mega Blaster Web Shooter


Imagine SPIDER-MAN adventures at a whole new level with this incredible Mega Blaster Web Shooter set! You’ll be able to fire web fluid or water just like your favorite web-crawling hero when you pull on the glove and attach the Mega Blaster Web Shooter to it. Use your middle two figures to trigger the shooter just like SPIDER-MAN does! Evil doesn’t stand a chance when you’ve got your Mega Blaster Web Shooter set!

Web shooter comes with 1 can of web fluid, 1 refillable water cartridge and 1 glove.

My Thoughts

Finally, here’s the package that I found the coolest of all the ones I have received.  I will admit that this particular package will go hand-to-hand with the mask mentioned above.   My only disappointment would be that there is only one glove inside the box.    I think it would have been more interesting to have two gloves to complete a costume.

Included with the glove, you will find a mega blaster web shooter, a refillable water cartridge as well as a web fluid.    This item will blast either the web or will blast waters during hot summer days.   This particular item is suggested for kids ages 5 and up.  However du the the fact that there is content under pressure, I would suggest to consider the age of the child before purchasing this.    Some kids would understand that they have to be cautious if they are mature enough.   So as a precaution I would determine the maturity of the child before putting this item in their hands. 

In conclusion, if you have a boy in your household who loves anything and everything related to Spidey, he would love the new toys from the Hasbro collection based on the new movie. 

The movie is coming out on July 3, 2012.   You don’t want to miss it.    Watch this trailer to give you an idea of what the new movie will look like.

All toys presented in this review can be purchased at your favourite toy store.


Disclaimer: Thanks to Hasbro Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes . I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Help Your Kids with Science

9780756692681LHelp Your Kids with Science
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Following the success of Help Your Kids with Math, Help Your Kids with Science is a comprehensive and stress-free approach to science.

With clear graphics, instantly understandable diagrams, and welcoming, jargon-free text — covering all the important areas of biology, chemistry and physics — Help Your Kids with Science is a great resource for children and adults to learn even the most complex science problems with confidence.

Whether it's working with the Periodic Table, the threes laws of motion, or trying to explain polarity and magnetic fields, Help Your Kids with Science is a great resource for parents.

Help Your Kids with Science also includes a glossary of key science terms and symbols.

My Thoughts

Science is a dreadful term sometimes for homeschoolers.   Many moms feel overwhelmed when they see the words chemistry, physics and biology.    But don’t be discourage because there is now a book that will help you with science!    This book is a unique step-by-step visual guide that will guide you to help your kids with science.   

Essentially, the book is divided in three major sections; biology, chemistry and physics.  Three reference sections on each subjects can also be found at the end of the book. 

The section about biology will provide guidance on everything related to biology; what is biology?, variety of life, cell structure, cells at work, fungi and single-celled life, respiration, photosynthesis, feeding, waste materials, transport systems, movement, sensitivity, reproduction, life cycles, hormones, disease and immunity, animal relationships, plants, invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, birds, body systems, human senses, human digestion, brain and heart, human health, human reproduction, ecosystems, food chains, cycles in nature, evolution, adaptations, genetics, pollution and human impact.

The section on chemistry will covers the following subjects: what is chemistry?, properties of materials, states of matter, changing states, gas laws, mixtures, separating mixtures, elements and atoms, compounds and molecules, ionic bonding, covalent bonding, periodic table, understanding the periodic table, alkali metals and alkali earth metals, halogens and noble gases, transition metals, radioactivity, chemical reactions, combustion, redox reactions, energy and reactions, rates of reaction, catalysts, reversible reactions, water, acids and bases, acid reactions, electrochemistry, lab equipment and techniques, refining metals, chemical industry, carbon and fossil fuels, hydrocarbons, functional groups, polymer and plastics.

Finally the section on physics will highlight the following themes; what is physics?  inside atoms, energy, forces and mass, stretching and deforming, velocity and acceleration, gravity, Newton’s laws of motion, understanding motion, pressure, machines, heat transfer, using heat, waves, electromagnetic waves, light, optics, sound, electricity, current, voltage, resistance, circuits, electronics, magnets, electric motors, electricity generators, transformers, power generation, electricity supplies, energy efficiency, renewable energy, the Earth, weather, astronomy, the Sun, Solar System, stars and galaxies, and origins of the Universe.

Though I have some reservations on the evolution information that could be found in this book, I still believe that my kids should be expose to both evolution and creation teaching.   Having this book not only will help me to be able to highlights the difference between the two ways of thinking but also decorticate the information to pass on to my kids.    The images and graphs found in this book are fabulous and will help to understand how something work.   For example, in the feeding section you can visualize a close-up section on a drawing illustrating the mouthpart of a grasshopper and learn that it is suited for cutting and chewing.    In the Chemistry section you will have numerous illustrations about how molecules bond and the physics section also contains drawings explaining how the sounds travel and so on.

Essentially, I consider this book as a great reference book for parents as well as high school students.   It is definitively a great resource to have in your home so that you can have the tools to help you explain something to your child.    I would recommend this book for higher levels of primary school as well as high school parents.    If you are a parent who feels overwhelmed with science but want to help your child who might have difficulties, this book is definitively a life saver!

Another title from DK Canada might be of interest for parents who are lost in the mathematical world.   Help Your Kids with Math is also available for parents.    Seeing that my oldest is entering more complicated mathematical problems, I am seriously thinking of requesting this one for review in the future.  

The book Help Your Kids with Science is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Life After Baby

Life_After_Baby_coverLife After Baby – Rediscovering and Reclaiming Your Healthy Pizzazz
Written by Victoria Dolby Toews
Published at Basic Health Publications

About the book

Life After Baby touches on key aspects of a woman’s life to help readers redefine themselves in a healthy way as they adjust to a myriad of post-baby changes — body and soul.

With an engaging and easily accessible style, health writer Victoria Dolby Toews helps moms navigate their new life after the arrival of a baby. Like a road map to the altered terrain of life once a baby becomes part of the family, Life After Baby touches on key aspects of a woman’s life to help readers redefine themselves in a healthy way as they adjust to a myriad of post-baby changes—body and soul. Filled with sensible, sound, and realistic advice—grounded in the latest research—Life After Baby offers an array of down-to-earth tips on issues new mothers grapple with every day, such as:
• Losing the baby weight
• How to supercharge Mom’s nutrition
• Fitting exercise into Mom’s daily routine
• Rediscovering beauty basics
• Reviving passion
• Fighting fatigue
• Overcoming stress
A comprehensive guidebook for new—and longtime—mothers, Life After Baby brings a welcome measure of honesty and sanity to the discussion of how women can rediscover and reclaim their health, their verve, and their joie de vivre after a newborn joins their family.

Who is Vitoria Dolby Toews?

Victoria Dolby Toews, M.P.H., is the coauthor of several books including the User’s Guide to Glucosamine and Chondroitin, The Soy Sensation, The Common Cold Cure, and The Green Tea Book. She lives in Oregon with her husband and children.

My Thoughts

My kids are way past the baby stage with ages ranging from 4 1/2 to 11 years old.   With four kids in the house, I am quite busy.    Our baby stages are long gone for now.  However, I have received a book -Life After Baby- that covers how to rediscover and reclaiming your healthy pizzazz.

So I decided to discover the book in order to know what it was all about even though I wasn’t in that stage of life anymore.   The book contains ten chapters as well as an appendix on herb and dietary supplement safety.  Here’s what the chapters cover:

Losing the Baby Weight; This chapter covers the importance of exercising to loose the baby weight.   The best advice in this book is to purchase a pedometer.   I know if might sound silly but having a pedometer will help you track the number of steps you do in a day.   Honestly I wish I had this advice when I had my kids…
Kitchen Table Woes; This chapter encourages the new mom to continue to eat well even after baby is born.   There are even a section on how to avoid BPA.
Supercharge Your Nutrition;  The author will emphasize the importance of eating fruits and vegetables as well as her point of view on organic foods.  
Supplement Savvy; Vitamins can be beneficial to your body.  However, too many of something that is good can also cause some problems.  Discover how beneficial some vitamins can be and how much would be the ideal quantities to get.
Fitting in Exercise; Exercising is a great way to loose that baby fat on your body.  This chapter will highlights everything you need to know about exercising from how to start and what to eat to help you stay energized.
Rediscovering Beauty Basics;  This chapter covers tips on how to have a great skin, luxurious hair, though nails, and a healthy mouth.
Reconnecting with Passion;  After having a baby, life continues and that also means your sex life.  This chapter will help you reconnect with your spouse on the intimate level.
Fighting Fatigue; Having a baby can drain your internal batteries.   This chapter will give your tips and tricks on how to fight fatigue and stay alert – even when you still have to get up to feed the little one!
Stress and Sanity; What is postpartum depression and how to deal with it?  This chapter will cover how to recognize postpartum and the stress in your life.    Being a new mom can bring some anxiety in your daily routine.  This chapter will also help you to deal with reducing the anxiety.
After-Baby Health Concerns;  This chapter covers a variety of health issues that could happen after you had  your little one.

In all, I think there are interesting tips and tricks in this book.  However, I would caution my Christian readers that this book is now Christian based and might contain secular advices.   I would strongly suggest that you take the suggestions that you are comfortable with and leave the ones you don’t like.    Essentially, this book will encourage new moms to move more, eat healthy and take care of themselves in order to avoid some future health issues like depression, weight gain and so on.   If you are a mom-to-be and want to make sure that you stay healthy after baby, I would like to suggest that you go check our the book Life After Baby as it does contain interesting information.

As for the book I have received, I have recently learned that a dear friend of mine is expecting her first child, so I will pass the book over to her and I know it could be very informative to her.

Life After Baby is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Brain Quest for Grades K to 7

Brain Quest for Grades K to 7
Published at Workman

About the products

Brain Quest is beloved by kids, trusted by parents, used and recommended by teachers. It’s the curriculum-based, fast-paced, question-and-answer game that challenges kids on the stuff they need to know, when they need to know it. It’s the brand that says “It’s fun to be smart!” And it delivers.

For the fourth edition every deck is thoroughly revised and includes 20 percent new material. The content aligns with national and state standards and is overseen by the Brain Quest Advisory Board, a panel of award-winning educators, each a recent state teacher-of-the-year award winner or a recipient of the prestigious Milken Educator Award. The covers and cards have a refreshed design, giving Brain Quest a cooler, updated look.




My Thoughts

How can I not love a tool that will help my children to challenge their mind with over 300/750/1000/1500 questions and answers?   I have been eyeing the Brain Quest products every time I would set foot into Costco during the months of August and September when the new items of school can be find on the shelves.  Last year I was able to grab the Brain Quest Canada at Value Village and I didn’t regret the purchase.  But finding the Brain Quest at this store is like looking for a needle in a hay stack…  either you are lucky or you are not.

So when I saw the new revised 4th edition at Workman, I thought it would be a great opportunity to review them.

To be honest, not only will the kids will be challenged but mom and dad as well.   We have a tendency to sometime do questions and answers time while we drive long distance.  And with our upcoming move in the northern part of Toronto, I am certain that these cards will be used quite a bit.    Not only it makes the kids practice their reading skills but it helps all of us to step up to the challenge and answer the questions.   Besides, these packs are easy to bring along wherever you go as you can slip them in any type of bag.

Each box contains two deck of cards with questions based on the grade level mentioned on the cover.   The questions will cover different subjects from that grade; reading, math, language arts, science, social studies and miscellany.  When you get in the high grades you will also get some geography as well as history questions.   Please note that these were created in the US which means that some questions are based on that country.   The questions cards are always followed by an answer card.   So you could easily go through a set while travelling like I mentioned or if you want to test your child on a specific subject.  As you advance in the grades, the numbers of questions will also increase.   

The presentation of the Kindergarten Brain Quest is more base don image that you can read to your child and he/she answers.    As soon as you hit the grades 1 to 7, the images disappears and the child can also practice his/her reading skills.    As I mentioned before for lower graders there are fewer questions on a card and the challenges will get harder as you advance.   I sat down with my 4 years old daughter to do some Brain Quest Kindergarten and she enjoyed it quite a bit.  She just wanted to continue doing them.   Now she proudly inform everyone that the Lion cards are hers.  *grin*    The pictures are bright on the card and the questions not too hard.    I also decided to test my oldest son, who will be entering grade 6, next year with some questions from the grade 7 pack because I knew he would be able to answer them.    As suspected he was able to answers some but he stumbled on other ones.    Now both my grade 1 and grade 2 child wants to be challenged with their own levels!   My kids are eager to use their own level of the Brain Quests products!

I think that the Brain Quest products are fabulous whether you homeschool or not.   They can be used by everyone to challenge their kids (or themselves) on subjects that are use daily like English, Math, Science or not so often like Geography and History.   You can used them for a short period of time like 5 to 10 minutes a day or for 20 to 30 minutes challenges.

The Brain Quest products are available at your favourite bookstore, even


Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Eyewitness Expert Bird

9780756631338HEyewitness Expert Bird
Published by DK Canada

About the Book

Written by today's experts for the experts of tomorrow, Eyewitness Experts are great big gift packs that blitz the top-selling topics children really love. Open them up and you'll find everything you need to nurture their interest, whether novice or nerd. These are gifts to treasure and return to and grow with.

The title that launched the Eyewitness series some twenty years ago and keeps on selling and selling and selling...Bird

My Thoughts

I’ve always been curious to see the difference between the Eyewitness books and the Eyewitness Expert ones.   Well I am quite impressed by what the Eyewitness Expert contains.    Packed in a fabulous box that looked like the feather of a peacock, I discovered the Eyewitness book on birds, an Eyewitness Bird Expert Files, and eyewitness Bird Clip Art CD, and Eyewitness Bird Map, and Eyewitness Bird Profiles Cards, an Eyewitness Wallcharts and a model to a barn owl in flight.  When I opened up this box and discovered what was inside with the rest of the family, everyone was in awe of what it contained.   Even my husband was impressed with the posters and the books.  

Each and every single one of these items is fabulous for homeschooling and teaching your kids about birds.   The CD contains 100 incredible bird images that your child could use for homework.  These images comes from the book Eyewitness Book Bird.    Now all the photos found in the book are on the CD but you have a handful to choose from.

The profiles card will help you to know the top 48 birds every expert should know.  These cards will represent birds from any part of the world – not just Canada.  However, I was able to find some birds we have in our country.    Still each card will give you information on the bird like the distinctive characteristic of it, some field notes, and a fact file section giving the length, group, wingspan, population, numbers of eggs, life span, habitats, migration and where it lives.  The Eyewitness Bird Map will give you a bird’s eye view of the migration of the following birds: Artic Stern, Bewick’s Swan, Blackpoll Warbler, Bobolink, Eastern Red-footed Falcon, Franklin’s Gull, Red Knot, Manx Shearwater, Pied Flycatcher, Red-footed Falcon, Scarlet Tanager, Swainson’s Hawk, White Stork, and the  Yellow Wagtail.   The Eyewitness Wallcharts will give you a condensed version of the bird facts found in the Eyewitness Bird book with amazing pictures.    It can be a wonderful poster to put up on your wall for future reference.  

The Expert Files book will provide information on the greatest bird experts, learn how to become one, teach you how to start your very own log book, as well on how to use the other tools found in the box.  It also gives you the step-by-step process to build the owl model with detailed images on how to do it.   Finally, this little book is also interesting for a homeschooler because it contained a section titled Activities.  In that section you will be able to test your knowledge on bird-watching skills as well as on birds including a name the body parts and name the bones.   Each activities can be measure on how much time you take to do them.   Depending of the time spent on one activity you will be considered a beginner, a knowledgeable or an expert.   These activities will be handy to have when we will study birds in more dept.

Finally, the Eyewitness Bird book itself is simply fabulous!    I am quite pleased to possess it in my hands and discover the various things about birds.    I’m not an expert but I enjoy taking the time to identify the birds I encounter while camping.   The book will cover everything that needs to be known about birds; how they fly, the feathers, the courtship, the camouflage, the nest, the eggs and much more.   The only section that bug me is the one where it is presented as though birds come from dinosaurs – which I don’t agree with.  But the rest of the book is so marvelous that I can disregard these two pages.  

Needless to say, this Eyewitness Expert Bird could become a great gift for a child who is interested in learning more about them as well as develop skills in ornithology.   I would strongly recommend this item for a personal library, for homeschoolers and even for school teachers.   

Other Eyewitness Expert packages are also available at DK Canada.  You can find one on Rock and Mineral, Ancient Rome, Shark, Knight and the Human Body.    I suspect that each of them will contain fabulous items in it alongside with popular Eyewitness book.

The Eyewitness Expert Bird is available at your favourite bookstore, even at

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Soccer The Ultimate Guide

9780756663186HSoccer Ultimate Guide
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Building on the success of Soccer: the Ultimate Guide, DK's bringing the world's game to young readers in a revised and updated edition. More pages, more pictures, more facts, stats, and info make Soccer: The Ultimate Guide truly ultimate. Updated and revised in time for the 2010 FIFA World Cup!

My Thoughts

Some know it as football.  I always known it as soccer because I used to play when I was younger.   When my oldest son expressed a desire to learn more about soccer, I thought that this book would be great for him to read.  

I must admit that I am quite surprised by the quantity and quality of the information found in this book.   Even I could learn a thing or two in it!  *grin*

The book starts with a little history lessons explaining the origins of the game.   Did you know that there as been a version of soccer played in the Middles Ages, ancient China, Ancient Greece and even ancient Rome?   The rules varied widely but essentially you had players, a ball and a goal.    I found this fascinating.

Soccer can be played outdoor, indoor/futsal, on the beach, in the street, even as a paralympic event.   There are men and women teams and competitions can be found everywhere around the world.   Every spring/summer time, parks in your neighborhood get filled with young players and parents coming to cheer them up.   You might even be a soccer parent yourself.   But do you know the rules?   In this book you will discover the main rules and how an official have to be always at the top of the game.   

Soccer is the type of game that could bring injuries on a player.   The book give a great description of such injuries and even includes some images of the type of strains that could happen.  

Soccer is also widely known because of the famous World Cup.  Throughout the book, you will also travel in different countries to see how soccer affect the lives of its inhabitants.   The book also highlights the majors competitions, the different soccer clubs as well as the hall of fame in soccer.  A wide variety of stats concerning soccer is also included at the end of the book for the die hard fan.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a book that will cover all the aspects of soccer for your young reader, I would recommend this book.  The book also has numerous pictures and pictograms to illustrate the text and to show that soccer is a sport that could be played anywhere you will be around the world.

Soccer The Ultimate Guide is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Pocket Genius Dinosaurs

9780756693152LPocket Genius Dinosaurs
Published at DK Canada

About the Book

Destined to be toted in school backpacks everywhere, this new encyclopedia series for young readers contains on-the-spot information in children's favorite subject areas. Kids love facts: they want to know about the biggest, fastest, tallest, and oldest everything. Full of instant information, these books feature a fresh design that is sure to appeal to the middle grade audience. These single-subject guides offer a unique catalog-style presentation, which clearly lays out individual subcategories with concise and punchy text covering all of the essential information on whatever topic is at-hand.

Pocket Genius: Dinosaurs profiles more than 140 prehistoric animals and features fossils, skeletons, anatomy and history as well as species including dinosaurs on land, winged pterosaurs in the sky and a range of sea monsters in the ocean.

My Thoughts

Of all the titles of the Pocket Genius I have received I must admit that this one is my least favourite one.    Why?  Simply because I somewhat disagree with the theories floating around about the dinosaurs – the secular theories that is.  But I know that kids – especially boys – love dinosaurs and would want to learn more about them so I will be fair with this review.

What are dinosaurs?  What did they eat?  How did they live?    These creatures that lived in the past are not living anymore so that we can discover their way of living.    With the discoveries made so far, we are able to have a pretty good idea of what dinosaurs looked like.

The beginning of this book will present what I would tell the theory of evolution of dinosaurs – including a section where it is suggested that birds come from dinosaur.    This is the section that bothers me the most as I believe that though dinosaurs existed in the past, other kind of animals do not descend from them and the way they died of not like often suggested in text books in schools.  

The other sections of the book will present the kind of dinosaurs as well as their neighbors, the sea reptiles and flying reptiles.    What bothers me a bit is that some suggested dinosaurs might be found in this book that are made up by some of the scientists that discovered the bones.   There are proof of other suggested kind of dinosaur that have been made up but have unfortunately made their way in text books as well.   

As much as I love the other Pocket Genius, I am a bit disappointed with this one.  But I also understand that not every one believes in the creation as mentioned in the Bible and many young boys are infatuated with dinosaurs.  So this book could be a great one for your little boy if he wants to learn more about dinosaurs.   

Each Pocket Genius books has a perfect size making it easy to pack for a long trip or in a bag to bring at an appointment.   There are have four titles at this point in time –  including sharks, animals, and rocks and minerals.  More titles will join the collection later this year –Planet Earth, Space, Bugs and Ancient Egypt.

Pocket Genius Dinosaurs is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

The Life of John Newton

life-of-john-newtonThe Life of John Newton
Published at Attic Books (New Leaf Publishing Group)

About the Book

What about the life of an 18th century human trafficker could inspire you?

John Newton found himself the captain of a ship transporting slaves from Africa to England. On each journey, he mercilessly subjected hundreds to inhumane conditions only to be sold if they survived. But in a life-threatening storm, he cried out to God for help. Saved from imminent death, Newton soon realized he had also been saved from himself. Twenty years into his journey of knowing the grace and mercy of God, Newton penned Amazing Grace, unforgettable hymn of redemption.

The Life of John Newton is a biography that will inspire every man, woman and child. His spiritual transformation highlights the unstoppable force of God's love and unlimited grace regardless of one’s own wretched history.

This Christian Classic was originally published in 1831 ASSU (American Sunday School Union). Attic Books , an imprint of New Leaf Publishing Group, meticulously reproduced each page. With tattered edged pages and a vintage cover, Life of John Newton is now an affordable, timeless classic is for a new generation interested in the foundations of our Christian heritage. It is one of Attic Books “Life of” series featuring biographies of heroes from the 18th century and beyond.

My Thoughts

This small little book is a gem in itself as it recall the life of one of the greatest inspiring Christian.   John Newton wasn’t always a Christian.   He had to learn the hard way and when he finally cried out to God to be saved, he realized the importance of living for Him.    His story is amazing and will help you understand the powerful words behind the hymn that everyone knows – Amazing Grace – which is sang in every churches throughout the world.

See this little video about the book.

The book is easy to bring with you to read on the bus or while waiting for an appointment.  It has the feel of an old book and contains some black and white drawings illustrating the life of John Newton.

Reading his story, opened up my eyes on the world of slavery back in the days.  Now I know that still today there are slavery and I pray that one day this will not exist anymore.  

This book could be a great reading assignment for high school student along with a paper to write on the life of John Newton.    I love learning more about people from the past especially about someone who has become an important example of the Christian faith like John Newton.  

If you want to learn more about John Newton and the slavery market from back then, this book will provide insights for you about the history of slavery as well as on the life of a great man.   

Life of John Newton is available at your favorite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to New Leaf Publishing Group for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Trees–Smithsonian Nature Guide

9780756690397LTrees – Smithsonian Nature Guide
Published at DK Canada

About the book

A new generation of illustrated natural history handbooks, produced in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution.

The new DK Nature Guides form a comprehensive, accessible, and informative series of illustrated reference books that tackle key natural history subjects in DK's inimitable style.

From beech to buttonwood, pear to polar, walnut to weeping willow, Nature Guide: Trees is packed full of stunning images that reveal intricate details and unique characteristics of each tree, whether a spore, seed, or flowering tree.


  • Stunning images revealing intricate details and unique features of specimens
  • Expert writing and research by specialists
  • Clear, concise, and informative text bring the subjects to life
  • Specially commissioned close-up photography and illustrations
  • Carefully structured profiles ensuring it is easy to locate key information
  • Entries organized in intuitive categories or groupings for ease of reference

My Thoughts

When I was a girl guide – many years ago – I had learned to identify plants and trees in the forest as part of my learning and camping experience.    But not having practiced for so many years, I am quite a bit rusty in that subject of identification of trees.   So imagine my surprise and my delight when DK Canada send me a copy of the book Smithsonian Nature Guide Trees along with other books on nature.   

The book begins with an explanation of what are trees, how they work, the different kind of habitats where a tree can grow as well as tips on how you can identify a tree.   Then you get numerous pages dedicated on specific kind of trees whether they are spore trees, seed trees, ginkgos, conifers, and flowering trees.   Each specie had its own page with information to help you learn more about it.    For example, the profile box will give you data on how tall and wide the tree can become, the type of tree and its needles and where you can find it.   You also have an image of the branch and leaves as well as the bark.    You will get the latin name and a small description of the tree.  

While visiting the Royal Botanical Garden in May, we stumble on a magnificent tree that was full of yellowing flowers.   It was a Golden Chain Tree (Laburnum watereri ‘Vossii’).  So I was curious to see what the book said about this tree.   Unfortunately, I didn’t find this specific kind of Laburnum but I learned that the one I have seen was an hybrid between the Laburnum alpinum and the Laburnum anagyroides which produces larger flowers in greater profusion.   These trees can be up to 9 meters high and 5 meters wide.   The flowers were out of the ordinary and we really liked seeing them when we were at the Royal Botanical Garden – to the point that I wouldn’t mind having one in my backyard one day.


As an homeschooler, I love to take my kids out in the wood and discover the nature around us.   Having this book will definitively help us to identify the kind of trees we encounter.   I would have preferred a book which would be dedicated on the type of vegetation found in the woods in Canada but this one is a a good alternative.

If you wish to explore new grounds this summer, I would strongly suggest that you consider discovering the woodlands close to your home.   Having great books will help you to identify and learn more about the animals, birds, vegetation you will encounter.   The Smithsonian Nature Guide Trees is the perfect book to help you learn more about the trees you will see.

The Smithsonian Nature Guide Trees is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Spot the Bird

9780756694814LSpot the Bird
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Perfect for getting children away from computer games and out into the open air to discover nature, this colorful, easy, and fun bird guide is ideal for beginning birders. Spot the Bird covers more than one hundred of the most common North American birds. Each page features one bird, along with a full-color photograph and clear, concise text to pick out the main identifying features. Colorful symbols let young naturalists know what the bird eats, where it lives, how many eggs it lays, and whether it will be seen alone or in flocks. To add fun to the challenge of spotting them, all the birds have stickers — when children spot the bird, they can add their sticker!

Key Features:

  • Full color, photographic images
  • Includes more than one hundred common North American bird species
  • A compact, portable format — easy for children to handle
  • Four pages of one hundred stickers provide an additional challenge that will hold and reward a child's interest

My Thoughts

This book is absolutely fabulous for homeschoolers.   As your explore your surroundings this summer, you need to grab a copy of this book and bring it with you.   As you spot birds, your child will have the opportunity of finding the stickers and applying it inside the book to identify the ones he or she has seen during your outdoor adventures.

It is particularly fun to have if you camp a lot or travel with your kids.  

So far in the book,I have identified about 22 birds that we have seen.    But there are still numerous ones that we need to spot and discover in the wild.  

Last month, while we were away, we had the privilege to observe a ruby-throated hummingbird coming to feed in our of the bush our neighbor had.   These small birds don’t stay long but the kids enjoyed spotting it and calling it’s name while sitting in the trailer.   We also observed a blue jay, robins, black-capped chickadees and other birds.  The book also contains tidbits of information on the birds though I would suggest that you bring along another bird book to learn more about them.

If your child is interested in learning more about birds and love to go discover the kinds living close to your house, I would strongly suggest that you consider getting him/her this fun book where he/she can keep track of the birds that were spot.   

Spot the Bird is available at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to DK Canada for sending me the above mentioned products for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

The Goodnight Train

9780547718989The Goodnight Train
by June Sobel
Published at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

About the book

All aboard! The Goodnight Train is full of coal and leaving town. Rhythmic prose and playful illustrations create a gentle, whizzing journey where animals and little ones fluff their pillows and settle in for a clickety-clackity, rock-and-roll ride to Dreamland.
A remarkable rhyming bedtime treat!

My Thoughts

The day I received this book to review, my daughter asked me to read it.   I proceeded to do it and we read through the book.  However, I received the board book version of it and I told her we would keep it as a gift for a friend who is expecting.    She was good with it but still wanted to look at the book and hear the story.

The illustrations throughout the book are marvelously done and bright in color.    Throughout the reading you see the train going on a journey toward the valley of dreams.  The words are simple to read and fun little sounds accompany the text so that you can make the train speak as well.  

I find it a perfect book to calm down a little one before bedtime and slowly bring him or her to slumber.

The book I received is the board book version of the original version and is solid to be held by little hands.    It is made of strong cardboard though I suspect that the corners would soften if put in a mouth.    This book would be a great gift for a baby shower, birth gift, first Christmas or for a first birthday party. 

The Goodnight Train is available for purchase at your favourite bookstore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own. 


9780761158431More Bananagrams!
Published at Workman

About the book

Joe Edley, the wordplay genius who created the puzzles in Bananagrams, now steps it up in More Bananagrams! by creating eight new joyously mind-bending puzzle types, and adding another level of difficulty—puzzles with a five banana (super hard!) rating. In all, there are over 500 original new anagram puzzles, including Banana Splits (solve letter substitution scrambles in rapid-fire fashion), Banana Peels (add new letters to words and rearrange to spell something new), Banana Boats (evolve a chain of words, one new letter at a time), intersecting words, vowel replacements, adjacent letter scrambles, and much more. The puzzles are rated one banana (simplest) to the fiendish new five banana, and enriching supplementary material is featured, including fun banana facts, helpful word lists, and, yes, an answer key.

My thoughts

If you are looking for a book containing word games to help you develop more vocabulary or simply to have fun with words, you definitively need to check out the More Bananagrams! book.    Based on the award-winning word game Bananagrams! this book contains 560 all-new appealing word challenges to stir-up your brain cells.

The book begins with a story of Bananagrams! and a quick how to play page.    The beginning of the book also presents some weords which are strange and useful words that will help you play Bananagrams! as well as variations of the original game to help you develop more skills with the real game.

Having said that, let me present you the different word games included in this book:

  • Top Banana – present you a grid with a pile of letters.  All you have to do is rearrange the letters to find two intersecting words.  The other game included in Top Banana requires you to find six words using letters offered as well as one letter from the top word and find a bonus word hidden in the six words previously found.
  • Banana Splits – You have to change one letter from the words offered to composed new words.     Also in the other page you have to replace the question mark with one of the letters suggested at the top of the page to create new words.
  • Banana Trees – In these pages, you will have 15 tiles to create words that fit in the grids offered.   Hints are written to help you sold each grid.
  • Banana Peels – Two word games are offered here.  The first one consist to add one letter to all the four-letter words and form a five-letter words.  However, it would be the same letter for each one.    The second game consist to replace one letter of a word with the letter suggested after the plus sign.   Then you have to rearrange the letters to spell something specific like for example a type of fruit.
  • Banana Filling – Three word games are included in these two pages.  The first one consist to add the suggested letter to each word and create a new word.  The second game will request you to fill in the blanks in the words using the letters of the alphabet except the ones mentioned.  Finally in the third game you need to use three of the tiles offered to complete the blanks in a word.
  • Bunch of Bananas – For each word of phrase below, you will have to rearrange the letters to spell two new words.  Another game is also included where you have to find three common five-letter words using the 15 tiles suggested.  
  • Go Bananas! – Will stretch your thinking process even more with a bunch of 21 tiles where you can connect and intersect common words in a grid.   Each word must respect the instruction given for example you might have to do words of more than two letters which is a name of a planet.
  • Banana Boats – Here you will have two different word games.  In the first one you have to rearrange the tiles while changing only one letter to form a new common word.  You have a start word and a finish word and you need to go from the first one to the last one in three changes.   The other word game consist to form a word which already have two letters by using some of the letters suggested above it.

As you progress in the book, the level of difficulty (showed with bananas) will rise as well.   You can go from a one banana to a five bananas level of difficulty.

This book is quite small and can easily by inserted in your purse or luggage.   I can see it to be useful while waiting for an appointment, in an airplane or simply to pick your brain a bit on vacation.      It is perfect to stretch your thinking cells, to broaden your vocabulary whether English is your first language or not as well as practice resolving problems.   If you are the type of person enjoying word games, I think this book will be of interest for you.

More Bananagrams! is available at your favourite boosktore, even

Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Allen for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

Winner of the Hasbro giveaway

Good morning everyone.

I proceeded to select the winner of the Battleship toys I had posted a while back.

I used the site to pick the winner.

And the winner is….


Here’s the 9th entry on my comments.


Congratulations to Nicole who won a marvelous package from Hasbro!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Private Eye


About the product

The Private Eye is a nationally acclaimed, hands-on learning process that rivets the eye and rockets the mind.
In the arts and the sciences, you’ll build close observation skills linked to the mental muscle of thinking by analogy. Learners write, draw and theorize at higher levels.

Discover new worlds. Magnify minds.

See what others are saying about The Private Eye.

Our experience

I discovered The Private Eye after another homeschooler posted about it on one of our city’s Yahoo groups.  The title intrigued me and I decided to google it to see what it was about.    As soon as I landed on their page, I was hooked.   It looked like a marvelous tool to have to do some nature study and incorporate into other activities in language arts and so on.    That’s when I decided to request it as a review.   They rapidly answered me and within a week or so, I received a box containing the following items.

bookcovrThe Private Eye Teacher Guide

This lively introduction to The Private Eye program will propel you, your students and colleagues into the drama and wonder of looking closely at the world, thinking by analogy, changing scale and theorizing. Designed to develop higher order thinking skills, creativity, literacy and scientific literacy — The Private Eye's "simple" tools produce "gifted" results. You'll use everyday objects, a jeweler's loupe, and simple questions to accelerate and magnify thought, whether you're working in science, writing, art, math, social studies, invention or even humor.
You'll discover how The Private Eye builds habits of close observation and inquiry across subjects. You'll learn how the loupe (a magnification tool with a simple but amazing difference) along with three powerful questions can transform the curriculum. You'll see examples of student writing, drawing and theorizing as you tour the process — with over 200 lesson plans, ideas and ticklers to enrich the five core disciplines. The Private Eye process builds communication, problem solving, and concentration skills as it develops "the interdisciplinary mind."

7 The Private Eye Loupesloupe

The Private Eye Loupe, the best magnifier for classroom use, magnifies 5X with its marvelous lens! The superior optics and comfortable fit make focus easy and ultra-sharp for any age, and make entry into The Private Eye process a sure thing. Hold it up to your eye, place the wide, open end against your skin, sblock out the rest of the world, and see the wonder and concentration begin! Nest two loupes together for 10X magnification — you’ve got a little microscope that moves easily outdoors and back inside.

Used by preschoolers and PhD’s alike, The Private Eye loupe is the highest quality eye loupe of its kind. Durability? We’ve had teachers tell us they’ve been using the same set of Private Eye loupes for over ten years! We introduced the loupe to the world of education in 1989 and since then thousands of teachers and over two million students have entered The Private Eye state of mind: critical thinking skills and creativity. When using the loupe with The Private Eye process, you see more, you think more. This is the experience everyone’s excited about!

Five Fun StepsThe Private Eye: Five Fun Steps (Pocket Version)

The perfect Cliff Note version of The Private Eye process, and a great companion to the teacher's guide. Plus - a wonderful book for kids or to read with kids! Adventure through the core Private Eye steps for writing, drawing, theorizing, and design. In full color with fabulous illustrations. NEW, enlarged version!

As well as some activity sheets for grades K-2.

Not too long ago, we packed the whole family and embarked on a journey toward Toronto because my husband had a contract there.    In our RV, I made sure we had some homeschool work with us – French and nature studies.  And since I wanted to open up the mind of my kids, I brought the jeweler loupes with us.

From the first days the loupes entered our home, the kids were eager to use them.   They immediately brought them outside in our backyard and started to explore it.



But it didn’t stopped there.    Every time they had something new, they would yell to the others to come and check it out.


So when we were planning to leave for a month, I knew we had to bring these with us.   We went exploring the section where only tents could go at the campground and found plants and a spider to observe.   We go close and personal with sand, flowers, wood and more.


During a trip at the Royal Botanical Gardens, I had packed the loupes in the camera bag and a whole new world opened up to us.   We had numerous plants to observe and discover.   Even my husband took a loupe and was amazed at the quality of the close-up he got.   

Here Alexandre is observing one of the numerous plants at the Royal Botanical Gardens.


The fact that we are using The Private Eye helps us to be more observant now with the nature around us.   When immediately see what makes it so alive.   Opportunities of great photos are now possible because the kids call me when they found something interesting.


While at the Royal Botanical Gardens, we also discovered an interesting spider which would bring two of its legs up as if it goes in a ninja pose to keep predators away.      We spend some time looking at it and learn more about it.


And since The Private Eye is helping us to expand our observation, we also found a wasp building a nest under the ledge of the wall at the Royal Botanical Gardens.   Needless to say we didn’t use the loupe to observe this one but it was interesting to see it at work.   I wish there would have been no wasp so we could have observed the miniature nest though!


Finally, we encountered an interesting spider at the campground.   Well it was the second “ninja” spider we met during our time out of town but this one was white. 


The book itself is packed with ideas on how to use the loupes and incorporate them in various lessons throughout the year.   The first section of the book will introduce  you to the process and the tools.  It will give you detailed explanation on how to use the loupe and how to stir the thinking process in your kids by going through five simple questions: What else does it remind me off? Why did it remind me of that? and Why is it like that?. 

The biggest section of the book, will help you to build your own collection of things to observe from the cantaloupe to the simple rock using a variety of containers.   While we were camping, I had an old peanut butter jar where we put the insects we had found for further observations.   The loupes can be also used throughout the school year as well as in arts, science, writing and mathematics.   It is a tool that is multidisciplinary and will expand your possibilities.   For example, take your hand and observe it.  What do you see?  There are many activities you could do based on simply observing your hand.  In writing you could come up with a poem.   You could ask your kids to draw their hands by observing it with the loupe, explore maps in geography, learn more about fingertips in science and so on.  

The book also contains ideas and plans for you to use throughout the year in writing, art, science, math, and social science.  It will help your kids to expand their vocabulary and become more aware of their environment.    As Christians, having the loupes open up a whole new way of observing and pondering of God’s amazing work.    Seeing the delicate details in a flower is breathtaking in itself.    Using the loupes at the Royal Botanical Gardens, we were able to discover the reproductive system of a flower with amazing details. 


I will be honest and tell you that at this point in time, I only brushed the basics of possibilities for this curriculum.   I know there are so much more I could do with it to expand the thinking process and also their abilities to utilize the loupe elsewhere.  This book and the loupes will help me expand their creativity and develop their scientific side.   Already all my kids are excited about the loupes and ask for them whenever they can.  The loupes are included in the camera bag for easy access when we are on a field trip.  

I hope I have picked your curiosity about  The Private Eye and that you will consider it to become part of your homeschool (as well as school for teachers reading this).   You can purchase the book and the loupes at their online store.  Personally, I wish I had the money to purchase the World in a Box which looks absolutely fabulous.  But I will keep looking in the nature to find what we need to expand our learning possibilities with The Private Eye.  If we keep our eyes open we can find many things to discover and observe. 

The Private Eye is an amazing curriculum that will help you to develop various skills in your kids.   Not only will they observe nature up close and personal but they can write about their thoughts and draw what they see.   That’s only a sample of the activities that can be done with The Private Eye.   I highly recommend this curriculum to anyone interested in expanding their learning experience.   It will take your breath away!

Disclaimer: Thanks to The Private Eye for sending me the above mentioned products for review purpose. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.