Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This Book Made Me Do It: Cool Things to Make, Do & Explore (ages 9 - 14)

"Mom, I'm borrrrred." It's like nails on a chalk board, isn't it? Here's a perfect antidote: This Book Made Me Do It is full of great ideas, perfect for planning projects or dreaming up cool things to do one day. It's perfect fuel for imagination, plans and fun.
This Book Made Me Do ItThis Book Made Me Do It:
Cool things to make, do and explore

by John Woodward
NY: DK Publishing, 2010
ages 9 - 14
available on Amazon and at your local library
As one student said, "If you want to do something that wouldn't usually be in a 'how-to' book, try looking in this book. It has lots of things you wouldn't expect - not just crafts and tricks, but how to build an igloo and how to escape a shark attack." Divided into six sections, This Book Made Me Do It covers magic tricks, cooking, creative art projects, backyard projects, survival tips, and sports feats. Some projects are perfect for an ordinary afternoon, like exploding cola with mints, while others like hiking safely in bear country will prepare kids for bigger expeditions.

Each page includes colorful graphics, clear how-to steps, and detailed extra information. The instructions are clearly written for 4th graders to follow independently, especially since they are broken down into steps and supported by clear pictures illustrating each step. Take a look at some of the pages on Google Books:

Kids love the variety of information in this book. Some projects they'll want to do right away - like making homemade popsicles or an ice bowl decorated with edible flowers. Other projects will have them squealing: how to dissect an owl pellet, or identifying deadly snakes. It's full of facts and information, too. Did you know if you're seized by a shark, you should try to keep your back to it? You can also punch a shark on its nose and eyes. I'm not sure I really want to do that, but what great information for those "Did you know" questions kids love.

For great ideas about using this in the classroom as part of a "how-to" writing unit, check out A Year of Reading.

If you have kids who love project books like this, be sure to check out Show Off by Sarah Hines Stephens.

Many thanks to Isa and the other students who helped me review this. The review copy of This Book Made Me Do It was kindly sent by DK Publishing. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you). Thank you for your support.

Review ©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.


  1. Sounds awesome! I just ordered a copy for my branch!

  2. More parents should get their kids involved in reading. I'll be getting one too.