BOOK REVIEWS

My Weird School Fast Facts: Geography Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-04-25 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 12 user ratings
ISBN:0062306200
LANGUAGE:English

" Quite informative! It made me want to find out more about some of these locations. If it can do that for an adult, it's probably perfect for school-age kids! " said.

"I love learning random facts, though I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always remember what I’ve learned. If you’re into geography, sports, or random trivia, you’ll find Dan Gutman’s My Weird School Fast Facts: Geography a very awesome read.

Squinklethoughts

1. Are you already a fan of Gutman’s My Weird School (and My Weirder School and My Weird School Daze) series, which began in 2004? My students love these stories, which are full of memorable characters and funny dialogue. We particularly enjoy their rockin’ rhymin’ titles like Mrs. Yonkers is Bonkers! and Mr. Harrison is Embarrassin’!.

2. In both Geography and Sports, you get to hang out with A.J. and Andrea outside of school. Their very different personalities make for great banter between them. I’d like to think that they are still friends-ish even though they bother the heck out of each other a lot.

3. There were so many places I had already known (like Pangæa and Lake Vostok), but many others that were completely new to me (like Chimborazo and West Quoddy Head). You’ll learn a TON of new geography facts.

4. I particularly enjoyed how Gutman divides each book: Geography has chapters based on various elements like water, the continents, and natural disasters. I really liked the section where he names a few interesting facts about each US state. Makes me want to go on a road trip!

5. Jim Paillot’s artwork is phenomenal. You’ll enjoy the the drawings on each page that help bring Arlo’s and Andrea’s narrations come to life. Definitely check out his website!

This review originally appeared on my blog, Squinklebooks.
" said.

" My 10 year old enjoyed the book. Andrea and Arlo bring up some crazy facts for kids to read about. " said.

" I received this book from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review...This book was fantastic! I first read it on my own, then read it to my young daughter and she enjoyed it too. It was humorous, funny, amusing, and a great way for children to learn on a topic of what can be boring. I highly recommend this book! " said.

"AJ and Andrea from the hugely popular My Weird School series are here to stuff your heads full of fun facts! The Fast Facts series is just that: loads of factoids, split into subject areas, narrated by My Weird School characters AJ, the attention-loving goof-off, and Andrea, who’s going to run the country one day.

Fast Facts: Geography covers the definition of geography, and starts out big: like, Planet Earth big, with facts about the earth’s rotation and its “imaginary lines”: its axis, the equator, and the international date line. Next, AJ and Andrea tackle the continents; bodies of water; mountains, deserts, and forests; the fifty United States; and finally, AJ’s favorite topic, natural disasters. Each fact is bulleted by a picture of AJ or Andrea, so you can tell who’s talking to you, and the dialogue is loaded with back and forth bantering between the two characters. There are black and white photos and line drawings throughout the book to add to the reader’s interest.
" said.

"E ARC from Edelweiss Above the Treeline

A.J. and Andrea from the My Weird School series narrate these collections of random facts. Their pictures appear before the facts they present, and the two carry on a joking back-and-forth about how boring and irrelevant the other is as they offer up tidbits of information.

27064334In Sports, the chapters are broken down into the major sports like football, baseball and basketball, with additional chapters devoted to golf and other sports. There are random things mentioned, such as how referees have to wear black underwear in case they split their pants. There were a lot of things mentioned that I had never heard before, so it was an interesting read.

In Geography, there are chapters devoted to The Earth, Continents, Water; Mountains, Deserts and Forests; The Fifty United States; and Natural Disasters. Again, A.J. and Andrea both chime in with snippits of knowledge.

These would make great gifts for reluctant readers, because the information is funny and intriguing, but also short and well illustrated. These aren't quite what I would pick up for fun; I'd rather read a 300 page book on the history of Cadbury chocolate, instead of short unconnected facts, but my students don't. Gutman is always fun to read, but I wish he would come out with some more stand alone fiction. The My Weird School series is definitely on the elementary side of the Pilkey Line.
" said.

"My junior high students are going to love this book. I'm not a sports fan, but I've had a lot of fun sharing the trivia with my husband. The sign of a good book is that you want to share what you are reading with others. My edition of the book which I received in a Goodreads giveaway has both the sports and geography versions in one book. The kids will enjoy the fact that you read the sports half of the book and then turn the book over and upside down to read the geography book. I understand the books will be part of a series by Dan Gutman. His books are always popular in our school library. I will be ordering hardbound copies of all of them as they are released.

I'm a geography fan so this is what originally drew my attention to the book. What weird facts do I hope to remember from this section of the book?

Great Britain is a group of three countries. The United Kingdom is four countries including England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. (p. 43)

The bristlecone pine which is found in California is the world's oldest tree. Its location is kept secret to prevent tourists from damaging the tree. (p. 101)

"Every Chinese Citizen over eleven years old has to plant at least three trees every year." (p. 104)

I loved all of chapter six that lists geography trivia from every state and Washington, D.C. I live in Nevada and didn't know that it was the most mountainous state. (p. 120) I didn't know that Sand Mountain is called the "singing sand dune" because of weird noises caused by the grains of sand rubbing against each other. (p. 120) It's a popular spot for dune buggy racing. I wonder how many of those off-road enthusiasts have heard the sound of the dunes "singing"?

I didn't know that the capital of the United States was moved from New York City to Philadelphia and then to its present location Washington, D.C.

The book contains great illustrations by Jim Paillot and photographs that greatly add to the pleasure of reading both the geography and sports versions of the series. I highly recommend the My Weird School Fast Facts series.
" said.

"So, How Much Do You Like the "My Weird School" Series?

This book reads just like a report prepared by A.J. and Andrea for their Weird School class. A.J. makes silly jokes, insults Andrea, and generally acts out in A.J. fashion. Andrea soldiers on, tossing the occasional zinger at A.J. but basically trying to deliver a straight report.

If your young reader knows and loves the "My Weird School" series and the A.J. and Andrea characters then this book will probably appeal. It's fact based rather than a school daze adventure, but it has all of the energy and silliness of one of the "My Weird School" books. Because of the heavy emphasis on the A.J. and Andrea interaction, if your reader doesn't know that series then the book might feel a little light as a useful work of non-fiction and the whole vibe might be a bit confusing.

Indeed, my first impression was that the book was awfully light on facts, and mostly just a Weird School variant. And at least for me the unrelentingly smartmouth A.J., (and his "dumbhead" comments), gets old pretty fast. But, as I thought about it and considered the reading audience, (second to third or fourth grade?), I came to see that this book is more clever and informative than I at first gave it credit. We cover the basic science of "Earth", how it was formed, plate techtonics, revolution and rotation, and so on. We discuss different types of rocks, earthquakes and disasters, and of course volcanoes; you always have to have volcanoes. Then we move on to continents and ecological systems. Finally we get to countries, and to facts about all of the states in the U.S. What seems at first blush to be mostly a random and silly mashup of odds and ends actually ends up being a pretty coherent intro to earth science and geography.

Sometimes the need to be silly, and the A.J. and Andrea byplay, overwhelms the info that's being shared, but for the most part the combination of big picture explanation and interesting factoids is informative and engaging. The illustrations are simple line drawings, (supplemented by occasional photos), but they actually work well to complement the info or to amuse the reader.

The upshot is that this book feels silly but actually does a decent job of providing a basic introduction to earth science for young readers. I'm sure there are better, (or at least more serious and thorough), texts about this subject, but for a kid who wants to read some entertaining science-based non-fiction this seems a nice choice.

(Please note that I received a free advance will-self-destruct-in-x-days Adobe Digital copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
" said.

July 2018 New Book:

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