Monday, May 24, 2010

Show Off - the ultimate boredom buster for this summer (ages 8 - 12)

“I’m bored!” Do you ever get tired of hearing this? “What can I do? There’s nothing here for me to do!” It’s enough to make me pull my hair out. Show Off is the perfect boredom-buster to have on hand this summer. Your kids will love it. You'll love the way it lights their imaginations on fire with a sense of possibility.
Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step At a Time
by Sarah Hines-Stephens
illustrated by Bethany Mann
MA: Candlewick, 2009
ages 8 - 13
available on Amazon and at your local library

You’ll spend hours looking through this nearly wordless book thinking of all the cool things you could do. Through bright pictures and very short sentences, sisters Stephens and Mann give simple step-by-step instructions to doing just about anything.

You can climb a wall like Spiderman or learn how to make shadow puppets. You can stick a pin in a balloon without popping it and amaze your friends. Do you like science and experiments? Learn how to pull an egg into a glass bottle, lift a friend’s fingerprint like you’re a private investigator, or write with invisible ink. Maybe you want to create some new art. You can marbleize paper like a pro, or you can make your own fake tattoo.

This was an instant hit with my kids. They looked at it for hours together, planning and plotting the coolest things to do. They finally decided to make taffy from scratch and loved the whole process – stirring and measuring the temperature with a candy thermometer, and then stretching and pulling it.

I loved how visual this is - how it makes kids think about the visual directions, break it down step by step. As we all process so much more on the Web, more of our information will come across visually and not just in traditional reading. Best of all, your kids will love it and you'll have a great reply when they come to you whining, "I'm bored!" or "There's nothing to do!"

Are you curious? Head over to the great website to find out more about Show Off. You can download nine different activities to try at home. You can also preview Show Off at Google Books to get a feel for the book.

Big thanks to Educating Alice for turning me onto this great book, during the Share a Story / Shape a Reader week. It was a hit with her 6th graders. The review copy came was purchased at our local bookstore: Mrs. Dalloway's Books in Berkeley.

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