Many parents or child caregivers have been stopped in their tracks by: “Why does—?” or “What is–?” Now a handy ebook offers a way to quickly answer questions, secure in the knowledge that the information comes from a solid, reliable source.
Pioneer in science educational technology and former NASA Space Science Specialist, author Benito Casados is currently chairman of the California Virtual Education Partnership, operating five virtual California high schools. Having spent his professional life in education, he now shares a wide range of questions “traditionally asked by children between the ages of eight and sixteen” and their answers.
The author’s questions are wide ranging, from science and history to politics and geography. Many are fun requests about nature, such as “Can frogs hear?” or “How does a cat purr?” Others are amusing: “What does a mermaid look like?” Still others seem based on his own quirky interests, such as a query about Napoleon’s chief diplomat Talleyrand or the domestication of the hog—kid friendly only for school reports.
In terms of readability, the answers are similarly variable. Some are direct and written with a liveliness that young readers will appreciate (answering “Which states are the largest and smallest?” he writes: “Would it surprise you to learn that the largest state in area in the United States is the state with the smallest population? Well, it’s true. Alaska is in first place.) Others can be dry and unfocused. While the title includes a punctuation error (should be Parent’s), the material seems generally well edited.
Casados’ book is a mixed bag, but there’s a wealth of material here and much of it is fascinating. The Guide could be used as an educational game for those long hours in the car, or to pull kids away from their screen time. And the author’s eclectic questions and answers need not be limited to children. After all, who doesn’t want to know why rainbows have the same colors or why tornados are empty in the middle?