New Kids' Book Reviews


A History of Just About Everything: 180 Events, People and Inventions That Changed the World

By Elizabeth MacLeod and Frieda Wishinsky (Kids Can, $21.95, grades 3-6)

This survey of history spans from the first humans to emerge on Earth — at about 6 million years BC — to the 2011 Japanese earthquake/tsunami that caused a nuclear power plant meltdown. Qin Long’s cartoonish illustrations add to the human scale of this dash through recorded (and prerecorded) time.


By George McGavin (Candlewick, $19.99, ages 7+)

Through popups and information under flaps, this interactive book by renowned entomologist McGavin gives an overview of the million varieties of arthropods in the world. Jim Kay’s colorfully detailed illustrations help make the critters recognizable, while the popups of a cockroach, beehive and scorpion will test any budding scientist’s squeamishness.

Knowledge Encyclopedia

(DK, $29.99, ages 8-15)

For a subject as massive as, well, everything, publisher Dorling Kindersley teamed up with the Smithsonian Institution to produce a hefty tome that begins at the beginning — the Big Bang when “about 14 billion years ago, the Universe materialized out of nothing for unknown reasons. Infinitely smaller than an atom to begin with, the Universe expanded to billions of miles across in under a second.” While the concept may be hard to understand, the writing is perfectly clear, and every page is filled with brightly colored eye candy covering subjects like space, Earth, nature, the human body, science and history. In 360 coffee table-sized pages, the sumptuous book inspires awe about the world and is itself awesomely interesting.

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids.


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