BOOK REVIEWS

Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Neuron: Science Books for Babies, Toddlers, and Kids Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-07-17 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 9 user ratings
ISBN:1534968660
LANGUAGE:English

"SUMMARY: This books takes children through the neuron one part at a time. It names each major part and tells what each part does. The book explains how neurons take messages from the brain to the body and makes it look fun!

ILLUSTRATIONS: The pictures are a little basic for a children's picture book. But I love how the author draws and explains each part one at a time. The author does a great job of using different colors for each part of the neuron and using the same color for the name of the part. Also A+ for having both boys and girls in the book as well as a variety of skin colors.

THE GOOD: This book uses a great analogy of sending a message from the brain to the body in an easy to understand manner. I never before understood the parts of the neuron as completely as I do now! I think the author needs to write a whole set of these books, written in the same manner, for high school!
THE NOT AS GOOD: I understand the author's passion for bringing difficult science concepts to young children. The younger you teach a child a concept, the more like she is to hold on to that concept. But I think neurons is a very abstract concept for toddlers. I don't see a toddler sitting down while you read this book to him.

AGE RECOMMENDATION: Grades 1 and up.

NOTE: I received a free electronic copy of this book in order to write an honest review.
" said.

"I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Not having any children of my own, I’m definitely outside of the intended audience for Think-A-Lot-Tots so I can definitely provide an outsider’s perspective as to how good this book is.

For me, neurons were barely mentioned in my K-12 curriculum and it wasn’t until I ventured into college that I was able to learn more about them, and how important they are. What Dr. Thomai Dion has created here should be on every child’s Ipad or bookshelf, as it teaches them to understand what neurons are through the effective use of parallels and illustrations. She is able to steadily convey to the young reader what a neuron is by getting them to think of neurons as a “messenger,” and further increases their understanding by breaking down the anatomy of neurons, which overall look like “necklaces.” It could be a little longer as the read is quick but a child will be left with an understanding of what a neuron is, and their parent will be refreshed if they are tasked with reading it to them.

I think it covers the topic thoroughly for an elementary grade level, and will get children to understand what goes on inside their heads better, and for that, my neurons are telling me to type out 5 stars.

When I have kids of my own I’ll definitely be making a purchase of this book, and I’ll encourage relatives to get it for their own kids. It’s a subject that is too important to be skimmed over in this age group.
" said.

"Tots are 1-3 years old. Preschoolers. They are usually taught in play group settings where they are given three-dimensional materials they can assemble/ dissemble for e.g. clay, instrument, paint, pots, pans and toys and learn basic concepts in vocabulary, language, counting, weight, height, temperature, taste, smell, shapes and abstract concepts of social skills, conflict resolution, self-control, hard work and good memory. They are taught through conversations, rhymes, songs, puzzles, outdoor games. They are read stories and shown large pictorial book for image-word association. They learn the use of eyes, ears, nose, hands but rarely do children hear the word ‘brain’ and what it does. In fact according to a study published in Early Education and Development journal (April, 2012 issue) psychologists discovered that 4-13 year olds usually understood brain to be a storekeeper of ‘memories and facts’ - and not as an engine that controls and drives our every thought and action.

Hence, there is a definite market for teaching children about brain and what it contains and what it does; that it’s a flexible structure that allows you to grow, unlearn bad habits and rectify mistakes.

In this regard, this book is a step in the right direction. But it’s not for tots and even older children may find it dry. It’s produced as a dull course book with diagrams and the dim-colored, small-sized repetitive images may leave a young student unenthusiastic about learning the subject matter.

Brain is not visible to kids from the outside. So how does one make an invisible thing cool and fun to learn? Usually teachers use different tools, figures and coloring or pop-up books to familiarize a brain. Neuron is an even further abstract concept since it’s a special cell and there is more than one neuron in the body (literally millions) and more than one type of neuron in the body (motor, sensory, association; inhibitory/ excitatory) and more neurons reside in certain sections than others (e.g. more in hand than upper arm) and they work together to give sensation of joy, pain, disgust, fear, sound, movement, learning, etc. If I were a kid reading this book, I’d be left wondering what a cell is and may even be frightened of the worm-like thing (dendrites, axon, myelin sheath, terminals) roaming in my brain, a part I cannot see, making me do things I have no control over.

Examples:
- ‘Inside our head is the brain. The brain is very important. It tells our body to move! The brain moves our body by sending messages.’ - the images corresponding to the words are a smiling girl and then an explosive arrow shooting down from the head with mail sign.

- ‘A message may tell our arm to wave. Or our feet to stomp. Or our face to smile.’

- ‘The brain has helpers that carry messages to our arms, feet, face, and other places. These helpers are called neurons. What is a neuron?’ - again a smiley blob inside the head is handing out mail.

‘A neuron is a type of cell in our body that sends messages. This part of the neuron is very big. This is where the nucleus is.’ - corresponding image is shape of a nucleus. This is followed by several pages of a single image of a neuron with its parts in different colors for word-image association.

- ‘The terminals find another neuron to help carry the message! The other neuron’s dendrites will take the message from the axon’s terminals.’ - the image is of 2 neurons. More difficult concepts like neurotransmitters and synapse that make the connection (message-sharing) possible, are left out.

At best, Think-A-Lot-Tots: The Neuron shows various parts of an item ‘neuron’ and may be useful as a resource material with other books on neuroscience for kids.

I received a free copy of the book in exchange for a fair, unbiased and non-reciprocal review.
" said.

"This book is a fun read, which explains what a neuron is, and how one works, in a way that any bright and inquisitive young child will be able to understand.

Do you know a bright little child with a thirst for knowledge? Then grab a copy of this book, and read it with them! Alternatively, just grab a copy for yourself, and enjoy a simple, and fun, science lesson.

*Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. However, this has in no way influenced either my opinion of the book, nor the contents of this review.
" said.

"Thomai Dion’s little book on the Neuron has taught me more about the body’s messenger cells than I ever knew before. It was easy learning, and fun, and it brought a smile to my face.

Kids will love this book. It answers one of those tricky questions they always ask their parents at the most impossible moments: “How does our body know how to move?”

Thomai Dion is a scientist and a mother. She’s committed to the notion that it’s never too young to learn, and her books are tailored to the questions that tumble forth from the minds of children; answer those questions, and you empower your children to ask more.

So how DOES our body know how to move?

In just a few short pages, the author unravels this perplexing mystery, introducing the brain as the controller and decision-maker, and the neuron as the messenger, carrying the brain’s instructions throughout the body. She reveals the neuron’s individual parts, naming them with proper scientific language, and shows the path of a message all the way from dendrite to terminals.

But what happens then? What comes after the terminals? For this, you will have to read the book :)

Children who’ve read The Animal Cell, by the same author, will recognise the basic cell at the heart of a neuron, and the nucleus it contains, and it’s absolutely certain they’ll want to know where the nucleolus is hiding. Just be ready for that, and enjoy this book with your kids. You’ll be fuelling that curiosity that lies at the heart of all scientific inquiry.
" said.

" A fun and simple way to introduce a relatively high level concept to a very small child! Not sure that a toddler/preschooler would grasp any of this, but it is a nice introduction. The story could easily be expanded to appeal to a first through third grader who could more easily grasp the ideas introduced in the story. " said.

"Do not be put off by the idea of your young child trying to get a grasp on neurology! Think-a-lot-tots: The Neuron teaches young children a little about the goings on inside their bodies and brains in a fun, bitesize way, and proves that any concept can be broken down for children of any age.

I don’t have children myself, so I can’t say how easily young ones will be able to internalise some of the terms used, but the book relies as much on visuals as it does on words, so even if the terms don’t stick, what a neuron looks like and how it works definitely will.

The illustration are nice, but I didn’t feel like they were of a high enough standard. They could have been bolder and sharper. I don’t mind the sketch-like style, I just wish it had been executed better. That said, I think the illustrations of neurons carrying little ‘letters’ are concise and engaging, and clear for children’s understanding.

Overall, I think it’s lovely to see a book like this for little ones. It doesn’t patronise, and teaches in a way children can enjoy.
" said.

"SUMMARY: This books takes children through the neuron one part at a time. It names each major part and tells what each part does. The book explains how neurons take messages from the brain to the body and makes it look fun!

ILLUSTRATIONS: The pictures are a little basic for a children's picture book. But I love how the author draws and explains each part one at a time. The author does a great job of using different colors for each part of the neuron and using the same color for the name of the part. Also A+ for having both boys and girls in the book as well as a variety of skin colors.

THE GOOD: This book uses a great analogy of sending a message from the brain to the body in an easy to understand manner. I never before understood the parts of the neuron as completely as I do now! I think the author needs to write a whole set of these books, written in the same manner, for high school!
THE NOT AS GOOD: I understand the author's passion for bringing difficult science concepts to young children. The younger you teach a child a concept, the more like she is to hold on to that concept. But I think neurons is a very abstract concept for toddlers. I don't see a toddler sitting down while you read this book to him.

AGE RECOMMENDATION: Grades 1 and up.

NOTE: I received a free electronic copy of this book in order to write an honest review.
" said.

July 2017 New Book:

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