Time for Kids: Amazing Fact and Puzzle Book

They aren’t kidding when they call it amazing!

During our latest visit to Five Below (which has some cool finds, even if the music is horrendously annoying; we hear “Call Me Maybe” every time we go), I ran across a book that I had to purchase for my daughter. It was two bucks, and it’s called Time for Kids: The Amazing Face and Puzzle Book with More Than 200 Amazing Facts. Considering that I got it new and it’s going for $10 retail, I think I got a fairly decent bargain.

The book is only 80 pages, but don’t let that fool you. It is chock full of not just awesome and amazing facts about animals and the world—from sports to politics to music and everything in between—but also fun activities to do. They are slightly past my daughter’s age, which is fine; she can grow into them.

This book is like a current events primer, discussing everything from melting polar ice caps to President Obama. Various climates and places of the world are also included, which I love; my daughter absolutely loves the idea of travel, and though we haven’t been able to really take her anywhere far away just yet, we like to travel by book as often as we can.

Flipping through the book together last night, we ran across some absolutely amazing facts (see, the title doesn’t lie!). For example, did you know that wombats can build a hole faster than a human using a shovel? That might not sound amazing, but have you ever seen the size of a wombat? It’s sort of incredible to think about. And there is a squid called the vampire squid because it has long fangs in front of its face. I thought the fish in Finding Nemo were weird! (Actually, the viperfish, the scariest fish in Pixar’s film, is included in this book as well.)

For those interested in the educational aspect, in addition to all of the reading, there are plenty of word games, music notations, maps, and other fun activities to mull over. Weeks of lessons could be designed from just this book alone.

We checked out the National Geographic Kids 2012 Almanac as well, and I must say that I like that book much better. However, this Time book is still a lot of fun and very enlightening when it comes to our world and our current events today. I would recommend it for any home or classroom.

Beautiful Warrior

The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu

If I were to combine a nun, an arranged marriage, some kung fu, and a children’s picture book together, the results would certainly be disastrous. I cannot even imagine what shape or form such a monstrosity would assume! But in the telling of a traditional legend by Emily Arnold McCully, Beautiful Warrior: The Legend of the Nun’s Kung Fu does all of that elegantly, gracefully, and memorably.

I am not from Asia and have not studied the area much in my lifetime, so it’s no surprise t--hat I am not familiar with the tale of the nun and her kung fu, nor her apt pupil. The story is about a young girl whose father believed in her and wanted something more for her than traditional foot binding and frivolous pursuits, so instead of having her raised as a “lady,” he sent her to school to learn academics and kung fu. One day when her town is attacked, she must leave and decided to join a group of monks to live and train with them for life. She later saves the life of a young girl who is attacked, and then helps the girl learn kung fu to best her unwanted arranged marriage.

It sounds like a simple plot, and it is—which is part of what makes it so beautiful in the first place. The nun doesn’t focus on beating everyone up—as many people might imagine when they hear about kung fu for the first time—but on being calm, stilling your thoughts, and using your own strengths to best someone else (as well as their own weaknesses against them). It is much more about being wise and careful—as well as tranquil—than about being a big tough fighter.

That said, the nun is tough as is her pupil, and the book itself—though a bit long for my six-year-old—was absolutely beautiful, with smooth, cool watercolor images and multi-layered characters with intricate expressions. The details in everything from the dirt and nature to the clothing, pagodas, and other manmade materials were extraordinary and kept my daughter’s focus while reading the book. We did not care for the early pages where cells were used to quicken the beginning of the story—it’s hard to concentrate on just the first one while others are so easily visible—but the rest of both the imagery and the story itself were wonderful and served as great discussion starters for both of us.