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Thursday, March 17, 2011

everything you need to know about the world by Simon Eliot, written by Lloyd Jones. Raincoast Book, 2006. $14.95 ages 8 and up

"Bats live in caves because
they are nocturnal - meaning
they sleep during the day and
are active at night. They need
somewhere dark to hang out
during daylight hours. So a
cave is just the thing.

When you blush the blood
rushes to your face, telling
you and the world, 'Hey, I'm

Do you have men in your life who can retain an enormous amount of learned information? It seems to intrigue them. Ask pertinent questions about family trivia, upcoming events, or past personal happenings and they seem confused and unaware. I often teased my husband that he didn't remember my birth date but he could remember the third shot on the 13th hole at Clear Lake in June 1987.  How do they do that, and why can't I? I often can't remember the name of the main character in the book I just read; but, I can remember their character, how they relate to others, what they felt about this or that. It is a physiological thing, right?

Boys and men often like their reading to be fact-filled. I think that the very best of that kind of reading comes from informative books that are fun to read.  And, that is why I wanted to tell  you about this book. Simon Eliot is in love with the gathering and sharing of information. He begins with a spider web...'the first complete world I ever saw.' As they are wont to do, the young who share information often flit from one bit to the next with no apparent connection.

Of his book, he says:

"It's a kind of cobweb of stuff. A lot of it I found out on the Web - that other world wide Web they say is big enough to hold all the world's information. The rest of the info in this book is a result of my own genius."

You gotta love a kid with an interest that encompasses the world and who shows such self-confidence. It is this strong, humorous voice that pulls the reader through the plethora of factual information (with personal asides) written here. It works like a charm! It will appeal to a wide audience and provides a great model for young writers. The range of topics discussed is as wide as the readers it will attract and includes the human body, inventions and inventors, junk food, clothing and more.
The childlike sketches and captions that accompany many of the entries add authenticity to the voice, and further humor for readers.

In conclusion Simon Eliot shares some advice:

"This is a different kind of web to the one that I started the book with. Ducks have webbed feet. Some books create a web of intrigue. You can create your own web. Be curious and follow your nose. You will be surprised where it leads and all the stuff you find out. After you've collected your information: join the dots. And hey presto! You've created your own web."

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