Tuesday, September 4, 2018

National Geographic Kids ABSOLUTE EXPERT SERIES: Soccer, Dolphins, Volcanoes, & Dinosaurs [Review and Giveaway]

My thoughts: This hardcover series from National Geographic Kids Books for kids ages 8-12 is absolutely pack with interesting and authentic information gleaned from the sources that only the folks at National Geographic have available. Great pictures, superb writing that captures the mind of the middle grader, and expertise from in-the-field experts. At the start I'll simply say that I highly recommend this series to homes of inquisitive kids (and adults who want great books to peruse), school classrooms, and libraries of every sort.

Now about each of the books.... National Geographic Kids Book's new Absolute Experts series (ages 8-12, hardcover, 112 pages, $14.99

Want to know when corner kicks were added to the sport of soccer, or what the heck is a peduncle and what does it have to do with dolphins? Have you ever wondered about the mating rituals of dinosaurs or where you can go to explore mud volcanoes, subglacial volcanoes or the very rare lava lake? National Geographic Kids Book's new Absolute Experts series (ages 8-12, hardcover, 112 pages, $14.99) has all the answers to those questions and MUCH more.  Each title in this new series provides extended, in-depth information on high-interest topics that middle graders love.

What really sets this series apart is that each book features exclusive content from an expert in the field, sharing their personal stories, experiences, knowledge and a big dose of inspiration.  Throughout each book, the first-person expert perspective and extensive content are peppered with fun, little known facts and wow-worthy photography to keep even the most reluctant of readers engaged and learning. 

Here’s a brief description of each title and my thoughts on that specific title:

Absolute Expert: Soccer by Eric Zweig and featuring in-the-field expert Mark Geiger, a Major League Soccer and Olympic referee

My thoughts: Soccer kids will thoroughly enjoy this book. And "soccer moms" will find it a wealth of information to help them communicate with their child in this new language and life of soccer. I had a son that played soccer in high school and on to young adult teams in the community. Let's just say I failed him at being a "soccer mom" and having this book at my fingertips might have helped me understand this phase of his life.

The four chapters include: Playing the Game, The Origins of Soccer, Soccer Around the World, and Soccer in North America. These take you from understanding the rules and techniques of the game to the long history of the game. Pictures range from historic to up to the moment glimpses of the game.

This is a must-have book for families with a budding soccer enthusiast and for school libraries.

About the book: Mark Geiger is one of only two U.S. referees officiating at this year's World Cup. This book covers sports history, the latest gear, facts about little-known regulations, high profile athletes and so much more.  Professional ref Mark Geiger shares his personal stories of what it’s like working the Olympic games and the World Cup, how to train to be a professional referee and the importance of good sportsmanship.  Throughout this year’s World Cup, Mark has had to pull the yellow and red card quite a bit — and his explanation of how and when he uses them is fantastic.  Fresh off the World Cup and heading into soccer season, this title is extremely timely. Mark Geiger, just back from refereeing the World Cup, is available for interview.

Absolute Expert: Dolphins by Jennifer Swanson and featuring in-the-field expert Justine Jackson-Ricketts, a National Geographic Explorer and marine biologist

My thoughts:  We think of dolphins as those "smiling"  and friendly sea creatures that are in aquariums and sea world shows and that we might even get to pet. We think of them as friendly swimmers who swim alongside humans when they venture into dolphin seas. But we don't readily think of them as creatures whose family tree includes whales such as the Killer Whales and who populate waters around the globe.

This is a fascinating book that covers so much about dolphins and opens the mind to further explore from other sources.

Interesting fact (to me) "All dolphins are whales but not all whales are dolphins." (pg 15

About the book: This book has comprehensive coverage of all things dolphin, including all the different species, a nose-to-tail look at these amazing mammals, their habitat and behavior, how to study them, career opportunities in the field, and the importance of conservation efforts.  Justine, who studies rare Irrawaddy dolphins in the Gulf of Thailand, acts as your guide as she shares with the reader the work she is doing to save this species of dolphins whose numbers are dwindling.

Absolute Expert: Volcanoes by Lela Nargi and featuring in-the-field expert Arianna Soldati, a National Geographic Explorer and Volcanologist

My thoughts:  I'll admit that the very thought of being around an erupting volcano is fiercely frightening to me. The intensity of a stupendous eruption from beneath the earth, the debris, the heat, the force, the destruction are fearfully amazing.

After perusing Absolute Expert Volcanoes a bit I can see that aside from the frank and absolute destruction, that actual good can benefit mankind.

I thought the recovery from volcanic destruction would be hundreds of years. However, information in this book shows that recovery begins shortly after the eruption in the form of fungi that begins to sprout and begin its work of breaking down materials left behind and then new growth begins. Amazing!

Also, man has begun to harness the power of geothermal (think volcano thermal) to generate power. And even gardens can benefit from the ash left behind.

The book looks at volcanic action on an extraterrestrial level as well with information about activity on various celestial bodies.

About the book: The ongoing eruption of Kilauea has brought volcanoes —  the science behind them, their combustible beauty and the massive damage they cause — back into the headlines.  This timely title contains the latest information on all types of volcanoes around the world, which ones are in danger of erupting, and what it takes to get up close to study the science behind the eruptions. Arianna has done field work all over the globe and acts as the reader’s guide to these combustible natural wonders.

Absolute Expert: Dinosaurs by Lela Nargi and featuring in-the-field expert Dr. Steve Brusatte, a National Geographic Explorer and Paleontologist

My thoughts:  This is an interesting and well presented children's book on dinosaurs from how they are perceived to have lived and roamed Earth, what they looked like, what they ate, what they preyed upon or upon what they preyed, if they had scales, feathers, etc.

Finding fossilized bones and other artifacts relating to these  long extinct creatures has really opened the door of investigative study and answered many questions.

The  book has four chapters: Superstars of the Mesozoic Era, Here Come the Dinosaurs, The Lives of Dinosaurs, and After the Dinosaurs. Each of these chapters presents information that simply boggle the mind and that is because the existence of these creatures was beyond our wildest imagination. As the author says, "...reasons I think people find dinosaurs so fascinating is they were, in many ways, even more fantastic than the creatures we humans have created in our myths an legends: the monsters, dragons, and unicorns in old fairy tales." (pg 10)

NOTE: I acknowledge I am no scientist and the author and folks at National Geographic are certainly well versed in their fields. I do, however, wonder at the cause for the extinction of dinosaurs as presented in Chapter 4 as being the result of a "Mt.Everest sized asteroid" impacting the Earth in the vicinity of what "is now Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula" resulting in World-wide extinction of Earth and Sea dinosaurs. "Birds were the only dinos to survive the extinction." (pg 91) I don't discount the findings recounted regarding a possible asteroid impacting the Earth and do find the information quite informative and interesting.

About the book: Dr. Brusatte has named more than 15 new species, traveled the world searching for dinos and is particularly interested in the origin and evolution of dinosaurs.  Throughout this book Steve shares his stories, adventures, discoveries, and insights about his life as a paleontologist and the amazing dinosaurs that he studies.  Every page contains rich details and drills down into all aspects of dinosaurs —  different species, how they evolved, their behaviors, fossil science and so much more.
2 Winners will be chosen. 
Each will choose the 2 titles they prefer. 
The 1st of the 2 that respond after notification by Chat With Vera will receive the 2 books they prefer. The 2nd to respond will receive the remaining 2 titles.
Begins September 4
Ends September 26 at 12:01 a.m EDT
Open to USA addresses only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of each title from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids Books Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are given without restrictions.


  1. I would like the Volcanos and Dinosaurs books.

  2. My nephew would love the Dinosaurs & Volcanoes books best.

  3. This looks like a fascinating new series! Nat Geo always produces such high quality resources! Thanks for linking up at Booknificent Thursday on Mommynificent.com!

  4. National Geographic has expert photographers choose settings and objects which convey a story. My 6 year old grandson likes learning about Volcanoes and Dolphins, so he would choose those 2 books. Plus he's already reading books to his newborn brother.

  5. I like the Volcanos and Dinosaurs books.


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