DK Books’ award-winning children’s reference books are always popular in our house. Whenever I’m looking for a book to give as a gift to my kids, their cousins, or their friends, DK’s beautifully designed and illustrated books are at the top of my list for their universal appeal to kids of all ages and and ability to tap into their curiosity, imagination, and thirst for knowledge.
Here are some of the books my kids will be reading with me this Christmas, courtesy of our friends at DK Books Canada. Scroll all the way down to enter to win one of these for your own curious kids! Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
Opening with a beautiful die cut image of an iguana on the cover, kids will love learning about the natural world through the pages of this gorgeous visual reference book. From fish to forests, mammals to mountains, seeds to salamanders, this volume covers all the major classes of animals, along with plants, fungi, and natural habitats.
Kids want to know how things work. How do seeds grow? How do chameleons change colour? How do frogs communicate? How do mammals care for their young? How do tropical rainforests work? Stunning full-colour images cover each page along with labelled diagrams, close-ups, cross-sections, and exploded images that will keep readers engrossed and engaged in finding out how and why, page after page.
Created in association with the Smithsonian Institution, Explanatorium of Nature explores and explains the natural world around us with large, appealing photographs and easy-to-digest bits of information that will engage even reluctant readers. (Suggested ages 8-12.)
This newest volume in DK Books’ Illusions series is a winner! Kids will marvel at all the neat visual puzzles, hands on tricks, and optical illusions within this sturdy interactive hardcover book. Each page is doubled up card stock, durable enough to withstand repeated viewing and handling of all the lift-up flaps.
Not only will kids get to try out each illusion and learn about the science behind them, they can even make their own! An envelope on the inside cover contains supplies to make 10 different illusions at home. Be prepared for the kids to keep bugging you to, “Look at this, Mommy! Look! Look!” (Suggested ages 7-12.)
It’s not enough to have facts. A well-rounded education also includes the arts, and that’s why we talk about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) education now instead of just STEM. DK Books’ The Arts: A Visual Encyclopedia attempts to trace the development of the various arts through history with lots of photos, timelines, facts, and figures. A bit more than half of the pages are devoted to painting, but the back half includes material on sculpture, photography, music, and dance.
This visual encyclopedia provides a broad overview of art history from prehistoric cave art and ancient Egyptian tomb paintings, through medieval illuminated manuscripts, the Renaissance, and 19th century Impressionism, to modern pop and contemporary art. Other sections provide a similar abbreviated history. For example, the section on dance skims through the ages touching on forms of ancient religious dances through to the Moonwalk and street dance. Some pages discuss major style and art movements, and others spotlight important figures in the arts like Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Picasso, Georgia O’Keefe, Barbara Hepworth, Mozart, Elvis, and Martha Graham.
The Arts: A Visual Encyclopedia bills itself as an essential introduction to the cultural world for children. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the material is focused on Western and European art, with infrequent mentions of the artistic traditions and styles in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. There is a particular dearth of any information about First Nations, Native American, and other Aboriginal peoples’ art. (Suggested ages 9-12.)
For kids like mine who love knowing something about everything, 13 1/2 Incredible Things is a perfect gift to give! Covering a wide range of kid-friendly topics from fruit to fungi, crocodiles to cats, sky lights to night skies, and dozens more, each two-page spread features a gorgeous full-colour image and 13 interesting facts. The final “half fact” busts a common misconception or half-truth about the topic.
Can mammals lays eggs? How much of our brains do we actually use? Can lightning strike the same place twice? Kids will love finding out the real answers to these and other pressing questions. This beautiful hardcover volume is 175 pages packed full of information to stimulate their imaginations and encourage their love of learning. (Suggested ages 8-12.)
I’m going to add one more book just for fun. All kids like slime, amirite? DK’s The Slime Book rounds up 31 homemade slime recipes and ideas for weeks of slimy, gooey fun. All the recipes are borax-free and include a quick reference box with time required to create, difficulty level, and edible/inedible alert. Make basic slime, textured slime, scented slime, glittery slime, glow-in-the-dark slime, and even edible slime!
All recipes come with step-by-step, full-colour instructions and tips for extra fun. Simple, inexpensive ingredients include Elmer’s glue, clear craft glue, baking soda, contact lens solution, cornstarch, shaving cream, glitter, marshmallows, paint, and food colouring. Kids will have fun getting slimy and learning about the chemistry behind slime at the same time. The editors have kindly provided some troubleshooting tips in the back of the book too. (Suggested ages 5-11.)
Win Explanatorium of Nature
One of my readers will win a copy of Explanatorium of Nature to put under the tree for your curious child.
Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+. All the winner’s entries will be verified. Prize delivery is not guaranteed by Christmas, so please plan accordingly.
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Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you. This income helps pay for the operating costs of my website – thank you for your support!