Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Review and Activities, Guinness World Records 2018 and Guinness World Records: Amazing Animals



Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com



Guinness World Records 2018 is a large book and it’s chock-full of information about the accomplishments, stunts, natural facts and achievements that have warranted record-setting. It was published by Guinness, 2017. (PanMacmillan Australia.) RRP: $Au 44.99 HB

From the publisher:

The record-breaking record book is back with a whole new year's worth of incredible accomplishments, spectacular stunts, cutting-edge science and unparalleled sporting achievements. As ever, it's packed with hundreds of never-before-seen photographs, thousands of superlative stats, facts and figures, and a multitude of new features.

Guinness World Records 2018 has a special emphasis on something close to kids’ hearts. Superheroes. Aside from real life record-breakers, like longest nails in the world or shortest time to cover 100m on stilts, there’s also a chapter devoted to superheroes in media. Kids could be inspired by what they learn in the book to write about their own favourite superhero, or about the world record they would like to break someday, and how they plan to go about it.

Lots of kids adore non-fiction, and a non-fiction book that can be guaranteed to grab their interest is a Guinness Book of Records. Often you will find a knot of kids (yes, often boys!) clustered around a precious copy, poring over it, exclaiming and dreaming. I admire any reference book that has the potential to capture children’s interest and imagination in this way, and recommend Guinness World Records 2018 to homes, schools and libraries everywhere.


Guinness World Records: Amazing Animals is also published by Guinness, 2017. (PanMacmillan Australia.) RRP: $Au 24.99 PB.

From the publisher:

If you're a fan of Grumpy Cat or Biddy the Hedgehog and just can't resist every fascinating nature story you see on the web, then it's time to get your paws on Guinness World Records: Amazing Animals. This brand-new book of fantastic beasts is a celebration of incredible creatures great and small. But this is far from your typical wildlife encyclopaedia... Marvel at superpets that have mastered extreme sports. Giggle at some of the most unlikely furry friendships. Meet the planet's animal celebrities.
Here's a companion volume to the above that will reach out to animal-lovers and kids who want lots of attractive photos and short informational text. They'll also find quizzes, features on celebrity pets and peculiar pets, ways to test dogs and cats to find how clever they really are, info on working animals, animal record-holders and even a double-page on one of my own heroes, Noel Fitzpatrick from Super Vet, who gifted Oscar the Cat with two bionic paws.

There'll be oohs and aahs of delight from library patrons young and old over this book. You can see videos, record-holders, samples and activities at the Amazing Animals website.

Activities

How could we build a buzz around these books, or use them as a focus for more fun with learning?

*Exploring world records is a wonderful way to involve kids in reading, researching and presenting information. Think about the scientific possibilities in coming up with a list of tallest, heavies, fastest, most deadly animals. There are great double page “superlative” spreads - heaviest, youngest, smallest, most expensive etc - that kids could use as a model for making an infographic of their own. These are also available from Guinness World Records 18 website as digital (NB these were quite slow for me) downloads.

*World records might not even be authentically measurable. Can you imagine the discussion, negotiation and persuasion if kids had to agree on the meanest villain in a children’s book, the cuddliest and cutest animal hero, or the most exciting superhero?

*How about the critical and creative thinking in choosing and trying to break a world record? While some of these records aren’t probably ones we want kids to emulate, there’s some that are:

Most water balloons caught and kept in one minute.
Fastest time to identify ten fruits blindfolded.
Fastest time to topple five targets with a pump action foam dart gun.

*Schools could hold a special fun session built around world or school records. Toppling dominos is a perennial favourite, or kids could suggest records themselves. School records needn’t be the same as world records, but can be just as intense an achievement! I wonder who can build the tallest LEGO tower, or design a bridge that can support a LEGO minifig, using only paper? How about the most double dutch skips, the most paper airplanes that can hit a target, most parents and kids in any one class who can read silently for fifteen minutes, or do star jumps or sing Mary Had a Little Lamb backwards?

*Can anyone topple the record for wrapping a partner in newspaper? (Record to beat: 3 min, 5 sec) or most dominos stacked in 30 seconds? (Record to beat: 48) Can you imagine the applicants vying to eat the most M and Ms in one minute, with chopsticks and blindfolded? (Record to beat: 20)

*Kids could also participate in a Not the Guinness Records Session. This would involve dressing up, designing props and rehearsing skits based around the actual record holders in the book. Many of the illustrations are amazing, even eye-watering, but what a great learning experience for kids to decide how to safely reproduce the “look” of them.

*Which Australian celebrities, natural wonders or animals have made it into the Guinness Book of Records? Which celebrities, natural wonders or animals should have?

*Students could assemble a collection of their favourite records from the book. This could be in the form of a digital document or a journal, perhaps even some kind of displayable artefact.

*How about a pet parade, where kids bring their record-breaking pets to school to show off their tricks? If the very thought makes your blood freeze, try a tamer version. Kids could bring along toy animals instead!

*There are online activities and perhaps more inspiration for kids at the Guinness World Records Kids website.

*Need a jazzy introduction to a superhero theme? There’s a great song on the Learn English Kids website.

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