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Project X: Cool Buildings - Mick Gowar

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Mick Gowar / Paperback / 24 Pages / Book is published 2009-01-08 by OUP Oxford

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      06.08.2011 16:09
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      A series of books that always encourages my son to learn more.

      Along with their line of unique fiction for boys, Project X includes two non fiction titles in each book cluster as well. The idea is to get boys used to reading books covering a wide range of topics, both for pleasure and to gain information. In all honesty, I was not too sure about buying this book. I'm afraid buildings just did not sound terribly interesting to me, but I know building and design is taught in the schools, and Project X had never let us down before, so I went ahead an bought it.

      This book includes a mix of familiar buildings such as the Tower of London, the Empire State Building and of course the Pyramids; and a number of truly strange and unusual buildings. There is the Longaberger Factory, a company that produces baskets and made the entire building in the shape of one of their best selling products. The Bank of Asia has a building shaped like a robot. There is also a house made of bottles and a hotel made entirely of ice ( winter bookings only). For only $169 pp ( Canadian) you can spend the night on a solid lump of ice, in a room also made of ice. They do give you a sleeping bag though. All the same , I'll pass. I prefer a soft bed with a warm fire and thick duvet. Our favourite though was Crooked House in Sopot, Poland. It looks as if you are viewing a reflection in a fun house mirror.

      Once again, Project X came through with shining colours. Both of my sons enjoyed this book, but the 6 year old found it especially interesting. As an added plus, it fits perfectly into our reading programme. this book is book band purple, stage 8. I have mentioned this in other reviews, but it bears repeating: The non fiction books in this series are significantly more difficult than the fiction titles, and although my son had little difficulty with fiction books in this series, there were a number of more challenging, and unfamiliar words in this book, including Taipei, Millennium, typhoon and gherkin. Mojave was only familiar because it was used in another book in this series, but even I am not certain how to pronounce Saqqara. another unfamiliar word, Armoury, will feature in future stories. I would recommend that children read the fiction titles in each cluster first. I would also recommend starting a level below your child's current reading level if starting this series midstream. This is because each new book introduces a number of words which will be used in later titles, but are not always among commonly used words for children in other books of the same level.

      I was delighted by the book. It is both educational and fun. the only real downside would be that with only 24 pages, including a table of contents and a glossary, there is only a limited amount of space to describe each building. As usual we resorted to Google to fill in the details. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. The text has enough information to convey the basic idea, and if the child's curiosity is awakened to explore further, so much the better. Some of the information inluded in this review came from internet searches rather than the book, such as how much the ice hotel costs, and the excat product made by the basket shaped factory. We spent hours looking up different buildings and describing why some would only be suitable in certain areas. A grass hut certainly would not do in Britain, nor would a house of bottles be very wise where we live. We looked at houses today, stone age housing, and speculated about future housing. Then one of the links for weird buildings showed weird toilets - that led to a whole new set of Internet searches, with quite a few giggles, and an idea Project X might consider in their quest to find books that appeal to boys :)

      This book can be found on Amazon Marketplace for £2.81 new. Amazon sells it directly at £5.00.

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