Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Night Sky Month By Month

9780756671488HThe Night Sky Month by Month
Published at DK Canada

About the book

An invaluable, user-friendly guide to discovering and navigating the night sky, The Night Sky Month by Month shows the sky as it is seen around the world in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Suitable for newcomers to stargazing and expert astronomers alike, The Night Sky Month by Month explains our place within the universe, examines sky watching equipment, introduces each month’s main attractions—bright stars, prominent constellations, and meteor showers—and charts the positions of the planets up to 2019.

My Thoughts

Looking at the stars is something I always wanted to do.  Even with my small telescope, I find hardly the time to do it but being an amateur I like to have books that could help me in my search of constellations.  Many different publications could be helpful but one that I really appreciate having is The Night Sky Month By Month from DK Canada.

This book will provide basic information on how you can observe the night sky and how to get started in a section titled Looking Up.  Because like it or not, to observe the constellations you will have to lift your eyes and look above your head.  The next section contains the monthly sky guides with information for the northern latitudes and the southern latitudes.   Each month will also provide an overview and highlights to help you find the best objects in the night sky.   The whole-sky chart can be oriented differently whether you are in the northern or southern latitude.   This book contains magnificent sky charts for you to help you find what you would like to observe.

At the end of the book, you can also find an almanac for the years 2011 to 2019 where you can discover the phases of the moon, eclipses of the sun and the moon as well as the motions of the planets.  For example, while exploring this section, I have discovered that there will be a total eclipse of the moon visible from North America, South America, and New Zealand on April 15, 2013.  

My only small disappointment would be the fact that if you bring this book with you in the field to observe the night sky, you will have to bring a flashlight as well as the pages for the monthly charts are not “glow-in-the-dark”.  Also the book is slightly oversize though not heavy as it contains only 130 pages or so.   The book itself is 10” x 12” so it could be tricky to insert in a small backpack.   However, the book is fabulous and I would recommend it for anyone starting to explore the night sky and discover the various constellations above our heads.

The Bible clearly say that

The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  Psalm 19:1-2

Personally, I like to ponder about God and his majestic work while observing the sky at night.   It reminds me that He is way bigger than myself and can do more than I can expect it.  Watching the night sky and the stars in the constellations, I think of Romans 1:20 which says

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

I thank God for giving us this beautiful night sky and hope that it will stir the hearts of many other people who take the time to observe it to recognize that He is present around us.

The Night Sky Month By Month 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.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Marvel Avengers Ultimate Guide to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

9780756690250HMarvel Avengers Ultimate Guide to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
Published at DK Canada

About the book

Comic fans, young and old, can now learn everything there is to know about Marvel's very first Super Hero team, The Avengers. Making their very first appearance in The Avengers #1 in September of 1963, The Avengers have been known as the "Earth's Mightiest Heroes" ever since!

Full of stunning comic book art, DK's Avengers: The Ultimate Guide to Earth's Mightiest Heroes allows readers to discover the backstories, powers, allegiances, and archenemies of each member of this spectacular Super Hero team including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, and many more.

Did you know Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) was born on Long Island? Or that Captain America's uniform is made of a fire-retardant material? With engaging information full of interesting character facts and a dynamic and innovative page design, Avengers: The Ultimate Guide to Earth's Mightiest Heroes is guaranteed to WOW even the most die-hard Avengers fans.

My Thoughts

We were waiting to see the Avengers movie.   We were looking forward to it and when we saw it we were not disappointed.   It is one of the best movies made on super-heroes so far.   Mind you there are a lot of movies based on Marvel and DC that find their way on the big screen in recent years and this one surpassed them all so far.

But Avengers started as a comic book back in 1963 and still goes on to this day.    If you are a die-hard fan of the series or if you simply just want to learn more about the Avengers, I’ve got the perfect book for you!   Marvel Avengers Ultimate Guide to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will provide all the information you need to learn more about the members of this team, their enemies, the various allies they have as well as the mansion, the Stark Tower, the Quinjet and much more.    You will also have the ability to discover more about the Avengers based on their adventures in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s.  

Packed with facts, images and information about the Avengers, you will have hours of fun reading to do whether you are a fan, a child or an adult.      The Avengers is a team worth discovering through this book.   My husband and I are looking forward for the sequel of the Avengers movie in 2015 in the meantime, we have plenty of reading to do to learn more about the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes!

Marvel Avengers Ultimate Guide to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes 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.

10-minute BANANAGRAMS!

978076116086110-minute Bananagrams!
Published at Workman

About the book

Everyone loves Bananagrams! And everybody loves instant gratification. Putting the two together, master puzzle maker Joe Edley offers 10-Minute Bananagrams!— over 500 all-new puzzles that are designed to be solved in ten minutes or less. This is lickety-split Bananagrams, perfect for the train, the bus, waiting rooms, bank lines, for carrying wherever and whenever a Bananagrammer has just a few minutes to indulge the obsession.

With two difficulty levels—the easier one-half banana and trickier one banana—these bite-size puzzles are quick to solve and highly addictive. Ten lively, mind-bending puzzle types are featured, including Banana Peels (add letters to words, then anagram); Banana Pudding (extend two-letter groups into six-letter words); Bunch of Bananas (anagram one word into two smaller words); plus the brand-new Banana Bites, in which the solver anagrams a group of letters to complete a word.

Supplementing the Bananagrams are fun banana facts, helpful word lists, and, of course, an answer key.

My Thoughts

After having the opportunity of reviewing Bananagrams!, More Bananagrams!, and Bananagrams! for Kids now I will present you another book based on the award-winning word game 10-Minute Bananagrams!   This book contains over 560 fanst and fun words challenges that will drive you bananas for more.  Like the other books, this book is easy to carry around if you have an appointment or simply want to kill some time on the bus.  Did you know that in India, the banana was called “Fruit of the Wise Men” because men would meditate under the shady leaves of banana plants?   Fascinating fact isn’t it?

Anyhow, here’s the various word games that are included in this book.

  • Banana Bites will request that you rearrange the letters over the puzzle in order to form a new word.
  • Banana Filling will challenge you to find a new word by adding one letter to a word mentioned already.   Also in the page, you will have another puzzle that will ask to use the a certain number of letters offered to complete a grid.
  • Banana Shakes will offer a series of words that have to start by suggested combination of letters.    Your brain cells won’t be able to stop trying to find the words.
  • Banana Peels will challenge you to find the letter that could be used to form new words.   This game will be quite challenging for everyone.
  • Bananarama will require you to find the two words that are using the same letters.  In a way they are pairs and you need to list your finding on the side.
  • Banana Chips will once again ask you to find words with letters offered on the top of it.  However, the twist is that one letter is missing and you need to find it out.   The offered letters are in alphabetical order so the search for the letter missing isn’t has hard as it sounds but sometimes the challenge is raised when the options are numerous.
  • Top Banana offers some letters and you need to find two intersecting words to fill the grid offered.
  • Banana Crunch offers a set of ten tiles which contains two words.  Your challenge is to find the first word by finding the adjacent letters – which are not in order by the way – and then you can find the second word.
  • Banana Pudding will offers letters on top of a word.  Drawing from the offered letters you have to form the words by filling the blanks.   You won’t have to use all the letters to figure out the word.
  • Totally Bananas offers a word as well as a letter.   You need to replace one of the letters of the word with the one suggested to create a new word.
  • Banana Trees presents a series of tiles which can be used to solve the grids.   One hint is provide for each grid.  You need to use the tiles offered at the top of the page for each grid to solve the puzzles.
  • Bunch of Bananas will give you two words and request that you rearrange the letters to spell two other words.    You will receive some guidance while working this puzzle as they will tell you what you are looking for in the instructions.

My strong suggestion when using this book and the other ones as well, would be to make certain that your have a pencil to solve the problems.  I find it easier if you have an eraser handy in case you make some errors!  

Mind you this book is not just handy for appointments or for the bus.   It could be the perfect book to pack while going on vacation whether you are driving (well for the passenger anyway!) or flying.  It is also a great item for older kids who are going to camp or if they want to challenge themselves during lunch time at school.  

Here’s another thing I learned about banana leaves.   Apparently they are edible – however you need to cook them before they became tasty.    Also they are quite versatile – they can do anything from polishing leather shoes to killing warts.  

So if you are the kind of person who enjoys word games, you will definitively like this jewel of a book.    You will be challenge and you will also develop your vocabulary.  This book is perfect for young adults and adults.

10-minute Bananagrams! 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.

The Elements

9781579128951The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe.
By Theodore Gray and Nick Mann
Published at Black Dog & Leventhal

About the book

The Elements has become an international sensation, selling over half-a-million copies worldwide.
The highly-anticipated paperback edition of The Elements is finally available.
An eye-opening, original collection of gorgeous, never-before-seen photographic representations of the 118 elements in the periodic table.
The elements are what we, and everything around us, are made of. But how many elements has anyone actually seen in pure, uncombined form? The Elements provides this rare opportunity. Based on seven years of research and photography, the pictures in this book make up the most complete, and visually arresting, representation available to the naked eye of every atom in the universe. Organized in order of appearance on the periodic table, each element is represented by a spread that includes a stunning, full-page, full-color photograph that most closely represents it in its purest form. For example, at -183˚C, oxygen turns from a colorless gas to a beautiful pale blue liquid.
Also included are fascinating facts, figures, and stories of the elements as well as data on the properties of each, including atomic weight, density, melting and boiling point, valence, electronegativity, and the year and location in which it was discovered. Several additional photographs show each element in slightly altered forms or as used in various practical ways. The element's position on the periodic table is pinpointed on a mini rendering of the table and an illustrated scale of the element's boiling and/or melting points appears on each page along with a density scale that runs along the bottom.
Packed with interesting information, this combination of solid science and stunning artistic photographs is the perfect gift book for every sentient creature in the universe.
Includes a tear-out poster of Theodore Gray's iconic Photographic Periodic Table!

Who are Theodore Gray and Nick Mann?

Theodore Gray is the author of the bestselling The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe and Theo Gray's Mad Science: Experiments You Can Do at Home, But Probably Shouldn't, and of Popular Science magazine's "Gray Matter" column. He is the proprietor of He is also cofounder of Wolfram Research, creators of the world's leading technical software system, Mathematica and Wolfram Alpha. With his company Touch Press, Gray is the developer of the bestselling iPad and iPhone ebook app, The Elements: A Visual Exploration and Solar System, also published in print by Black Dog & Leventhal. He lives in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois.
Nick Mann is a freelance photographer working in Central Illinois. Aside from having photographed more elements than probably anyone in the world, he is an accomplished landscape, sports, and event photographer.

My Thoughts

Have you ever wondered where you can find the various elements in the periodic table throughout the world?   Do we encounter them on a day-to-day basis?   Well look no further because this fabulous book will open up a whole new world linked to the periodic table to you.  Each element is explained in details and is accompanied with pictures of items that contains the said element when possible on a two page presentation.   On the left page you will get a stunning picture of the element itself in its pure form.   On the right side, you will get a text about the element, it’s position in the periodic table, the atomic weight, the density, the atomic radius and the crystal structure. You also get the electron filling order, the atomic emission spectrum and the state of matter on the bottom right corner of that page.   Finally, as a treat for your eyes you can observe a visual representation of where you can find the element in products or items that we can encounter.   For example, did you know that in the past there was a deficiency of iodine that caused goiter.  Back then, a special gum called iodigum was available for purchased and contained iodine in it.    Not goiter is uncommon because of iodized salt in our diet.  Iodine is also often used with alcohol as a disinfectant.   And who have not experience the use of iodine when you hurt yourself when you were younger.   I still remember the red splat of iodine on my skin…

This would be a great reference book when studying the periodic table.    Not only will it provide information about the elements but you can see up close and personal (without the danger of manipulating the element itself) where you can find the element in known products.   This book is a must for any chemistry students and for homeschoolers embarking on a journey to learn more about the periodic table.  And to complete the book, you will also find a tear-out poster of Theodore Gray’s periodic table that will give you the image of how the element looks like in nature.

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe 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, August 10, 2012

Eyewitness DVD Butterfly and Moth

9780756628260LEyewitness DVD Butterfly & Moth
From DK Canada

About the product

How did the death’s head moth earn its name?

Which bizarre caterpillar spurred the building of empires?

Butterfly & Moth takes a flight of fancy with nature’s most beguiling creatures.  See their miraculous transformation from lowly caterpillar to airborne adult, and learn why these delicate insects have long inspired and entranced us.

Beautiful in their simplicity, the lives of butterflies and moths have long fascinated scholars and children alike. Here is a rich and innovative look at their natural history. Stunning real-life photographs provide a unique eyewitness view of the behavior of these complex and vividly beautiful insects, their structure and life cycle, where they live and feed, and how they protect themselves. See a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis, how silk moths make silk, a caterpillar eating its own eggshell, and butterflies that have become extinct. Learn how a caterpillar can frighten off predators, why some adult moths never eat, which butterfly migrates the length of a subcontinent, and how to breed butterflies and moths, and much more!

My Thoughts

On a rainy day, while being inside our temporary home (our RV) in the new area where we will be living, I decided to sit down with the kids and watch the Eyewitness DVD Butterfly & Moth.   This DVD is definitively the perfect tool to watch after you have visited a butterfly conservatory, learned more about butterflies or completed a unit study on butterflies.   In the York region, there is a place which you could visit in September to watch to tagging and releasing of Monarch butterflies – a field trip that I am seriously thinking of doing in the fall.

Now to get back to the DVD.   This DVD will highlights the interesting facts about every steps of the life cycle of a butterfly or moth.    For each step of the life cycle you will learn more about the techniques and defenses mechanism of the butterflies and moths.    It was very interesting and informative to discover how each butterfly/moth will lay its eggs on a plant, how the caterpillars differ possess various defenses to prevent their predators and how the cocoons are different depending of the butterfly/moth inside.  The video also follow the life of a monarch butterfly as it goes through the stages of life.   At the end of the DVD you will discover where the Monarch Butterfly go during the winter season and what is its migratory route to various places in the world.

Now, my only caution that I would like to give my readers would be that there is a bit of mention of evolution and millions of years old at the beginning of the presentation.   We personally believe in creation as a basis of life on Earth.  However, I also come to realize that it is important that my kids know that there are other beliefs in the education system and that eventually they might encounter Evolutionary teaching in college or university.   Also included in this DVD presentation are historical beliefs that people use to have about butterflies and moths.   This part was very interesting as it made us realized that there were weird beliefs in the past.  

Nevertheless, I think this DVD is worth watching with your kids and it is a good springboard to start a discussion on how to defend your own belief concerning in the never ending debate about evolution versus creation.

Eyewitness DVD Butterfly & Moth 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.

Island of Thieves

9780547763279Island of Thieves
Written by Josh Lacey
Published at Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

About the book

Only boring people get bored… Interesting people can always find something to be interested in.

That’s what Tom Trelawney’s father says, anyway.   Tom knew he shouldn’t have been so interested in playing with matches – it’s just that he was…. well…. bored.  Now, with the garden shed in ashes, the only person willing to look after him while his parents are away is his father’s brother, mysterious Uncle Harvey.

As soon as Tom’s parents leave, Harvey announces he’s travelling abroad on “urgent business” and young nephews are not invited.   When Tom discovers his uncle is going on a treasure hunt, however, he proves that Harvey isn’t the only troublesome Trelawney and blackmails his uncle into letting him tag along.    But as with all of Uncle Harvey’s schemes, the details prove more complicated than he originally discloses.   Tom realizes there are two types of Trelawneys: those who follow the rules and those who chuck them in the wastebasket.   He must decide which kind of Trelawney he will be, and which kind will help him stay alive.

Who is Josh Lacey?

Josh Lacey worked as a journalist, a screenwriter, and a teacher before writing his first book for children, A Dog Called Grk (under the name Joshua Doder).   Josh lives in London with his wife and daughter , and is seldom bored.

My Thoughts

Before putting a book in the hands of my kids, I like to read it first and see if I consider it worthy for their eyes.   I am very picky when it is non-christian novels or books because I know that there is a lot of secular books out there that contains things I do not want my kids exposed yet.  But when I read the description of the book, I thought this particularly novel would be interesting.  After all, how would you react if you read the following?

An ancient map and a buried treasure harbor a mystery worth millions in this Treasure Island – meets – James Bond thriller.

Knowing that my oldest son loves mystery, I was curious about this title.     I must say that this book is exactly what it advertise…  It really does feel as though you have a mix of Treasure Island and James Bond together.    Packed with twists and turns, the novel will keep you on the edge and want to learn more about the main characters adventure in Peru.   The story is well written and will bring your in South America in the hopes to find an long lost treasure.   Intertwined in the novel are history facts that are also found at the end of the book.

I didn’t particularly liked the fact that the beginning of the story starts with the boy playing with matches and burning down the shed.   But I guess that the author needed a good reason to send him to his uncle.   My other problem during the reading of this book was the lies that the uncle was saying as though it was a natural thing.  The younger character was observing him and learning how to lie at the same time.   However, I tip my hat to the author who at the end of the book brought both the uncle and the young lad to the realization that it was better to say the truth to the parents.    So even though there were lies in the story, at the end the adult main character comes to the conclusion that it is better to saw the truth after all.      An important lesson learned by both main characters throughout their adventures.

In the end, I am quite pleased with the story and the lesson that the reader learns at the end of the book.    Would I recommend this book to my fellow homeschoolers?   Definitively.   To the point that I have just pass the book to my oldest son so he can read it as well.    Last week, he kept asking if he could start even though I had not finished my reading.    His interest was picked just by reading and observing the cover of the book.    And he will complete the reading in 48 hours….!  

Island of Thieves 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.

Hands of a Child Back to School Sale!

In the Hands of a Child is having their annual Back to School Sale

on their HUGE selectionof Lapbooking and Notebooking Products.

Save 50% on over 400 different titles!

See complete details here: