Friday, November 2, 2018

STEM Science books for the precocious child: To the Moon and Back, Solve This!, and Dog Science Unleashed [Review & 3-book Giveaway 2 winners]

Whether looking for a unique perspective on the Apollo 11 moon landing, making a homemade stethoscope to listen to your dog’s heart, or using cool engineering techniques to whip up a baked apple dessert, these three new standout STEM titles from National Geographic Kids Books up the fun factor and encourage a hands-on approach.

Read on and be sure you enter-to-win the 3-book giveaway. These are choice items to seek out for Christmas or special time gifts!

To the Moon and Back: My Apollo 11 Adventure A Pop-Up Book by Buzz Aldrin with Marianne J. Dyson and paper engineering by Bruce Foster (ages 8-12, $32.00) - 

My thoughts:  Our children were very young when America landed men on the Moon, and I remember as they journeyed through their school years they would get excited about anything to do with the Moon Landing, space exploration, rockets, etc. That fascination has not left and the children of today's classrooms still have some excitement about the early space exploration.

It is great that Buzz Aldrin has collaborated with the folks at National Geographic Kids and produced this fascinatingly interactive book that touches on the magnificent event - Man's Landing and Stepping on the Moon - the Apollo 11 Adventure!

The book is beautifully made and the binding makes for easy opening and laying flat. Designed and written for kids age 8-12, it provides enough information to whet their interest and grabs their attention with the pop-ups. There is a separate sheet with punch-out shapes for the reader to create a Luna module providing hands on creativity.

The text is presented in bits and pieces or short paragraphs that interest rather than overwhelm the reader. The personal touch of Aldrin and his family lend connection and realism to the information being presented in the book

A special book to gift to that precocious child interested in space history or exploration.

About the book: In celebration of the Apollo 11 Mission's 50th Anniversary and punctuated by intricate pop ups and paper folds, in To The Moon and Back Buzz Aldrin shares his personal stories and reflects upon what historians call "humanity’s greatest adventure.” Never-before-published anecdotes from Aldrin and his family run the range of emotions — funny, sad, dangerous, hair raising, heartwarming and inspiring — and provide a truly unique, behind-the-scenes look at the  mission to the moon.  Additionally, vivid photos, clearly marked diagrams and elaborate pop ups illustrate and explain the fascinating science behind this incredible story of human achievement and a build-your-own Apollo 11 lunar module is also included.

Dog Science Unleashed: Fun Activities to do with you Canine Companion by Jodi Wheeler-Toppen ISBN: 9781426331534 (ages 8-12, $12.99)  

My thoughts:  This book is sure to be a winner for children who love their dogs. And it will definitely hit the high-spot for those youngsters who have a dream of becoming a Veterinarian.

This isn't just about playing with that favorite pet or companion. No, it is about understanding the many aspects that make your pup into that special canine he or she is. Understanding what they can see or what they can hear and even how to bathe Fido rank high on the scale of loving and caring for your pet. But this book helps you go beyond just caring for and loving your pet. It helps you see the scientific basis or method that leads to understanding.

I think this is a really interesting book to have in schools, libraries, and homes blessed with the companionship of a beloved canine companion.

About the book: Dog Science Unleashed shows kids how they can learn about science with the most faithful lab partner they'll ever have, their dog! Twenty-two safe and pup-friendly activities let young scientists discover how their canine companions think, move, drink, stay warm, get clean and cool off. From determining your dog’s favorite smell, to figuring out if your dog is a righty or a lefty, to making a stethoscope to listen to your hound’s heart, Dog Science Unleashed explores the science behind dogs’ senses, how they move, how they learn and much more.   Each activity is paired with step-by-step instructions, clear and interesting scientific explanations, and photographs that illustrate important elements of the experiments and observations. Hands-on activities and fun information for budding scientists prompt further learning and offer a look at current, groundbreaking canine research.

Solve This!: Wild and Wacky Challenges for the Genius Engineer in You by Joan Marie Galat (ages 8-12, $16.99)  

My thoughts:   The concept of Solve This! is interesting and the wacky challenges a bit off-the-wall. However, the down deep methodology is a pursuit of a way we (or our kids) can solve many problems or challenges faced.

Is the toy tossed across the stream able to be retrieved without wetting one's feet? If you can't leave your room or house and your friend next door wants your book, how to get it to them without involving anyone else to take it to them?

Each challenge is presented with simple drawings taking one through the steps involved. Each challenge also has several "professionals" who chime in with thoughts on the challenge that needs to be solved.

The book is good but I'm not completely enamored with it. Perhaps the engineering aspect is too much of a challenge for this "non-genius." Still good for some kids and their parents can help guide them through the opportunities to Solve This!

About the book: From the first wheel to the International Space Station, the miracles of engineering abound and the importance of growing the next generation of engineers cannot be stressed enough. Think cars, bridges, skyscrapers, and yes – even bubble wrap! Engineers dream up new ideas and bring them to life while figuring out creative solutions to problems they encounter along the way. But how do they do it?  In Solve This! engineers, scientists and National Geographic Explorers reveal how they apply the engineering process to solve 14 wild and wacky challenges. Readers are invited to think like an engineer and are given the tools to imagine, design, and build their own creative solutions.  A giant bird stole your little sister’s teddy bear? You need to sound-proof your bedroom before your super-rockin’ slumber party? These may not sound like “engineering” problems, but believe it or not, they are!  One of the biggest “take-aways” from this title is that there is often more than one solution.   Solve This! underscores the importance of creativity and that there are no wrong answers when it comes to brainstorming solutions.  Like MacGyver saving the day with a paperclip and rubber band, kids should let their imaginations run wild as they tackle fun scenarios and think through possible solutions.

2 Winners receive all 3 books
Begins November 2
Ends November 30 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA addresses only
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DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of National Geographic Kids to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine, alone, and are freely given. Prize is provided and shipped directly to the winner by MMPublicity or National Geographic.


  1. These look great! National Geographic does such a great job! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday on!

  2. National Geographic has books for kids with vibrant photos. We have a book about sea mammals with the best photos.


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