Brainwork: The Totally Brilliant Puzzle Activity Book
Author: Lisa Regan
Rating: 4.5/5 light bulbs
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My child and I were at the bookstore when I spotted this book. Given that my child is only 5 ½ years old, I was quite aware when I saw this book that it would be well beyond her current mental capacity to handle. A quick flip through of this 208 page monstrosity of a book made it quite clear that this book would be well suited for a child at least 7 years and up. However, I picked it up for a few reasons. First of all, the details on each page appealed to me and the sale price did too. The other big draw for me is that I’m a big believer in exposing my child to books that are beyond her means, not to make her understand them but so that she builds a familiarity to them. That way, when she is older and ready for the content, she will already have a sense of comfort with the many different puzzles and may be more likely to persevere with the task. So, I picked up The Totally Brilliant Puzzle Activity Book and in the process was surprised by a few discoveries!
Product Review: What Happened?
Before buying The Totally Brilliant Puzzle Activity Book, I had my child look it over to see if the content appealed to her and she gave it the thumbs up based on its design and the pages she looked at.
The Totally Brilliant Puzzle Activity Book has a wide variety of puzzles, from spotting the differences between two pictures (great for testing visual skills and the brain’s ability to notice subtle differences between 2 images) to the ‘which one is it?’ type puzzles. More basic word searches and mazes are also available. This wide variety makes The Totally Brilliant Puzzle Activity Book a book that can grow with your child’s existing skills. Different puzzles enhance different mental processes for your child which I think is fabulous. Answers have also been provided at the back, just in case the adults need them ;).
What surprised me was that my daughter was actually able to figure out answers to some of the puzzles. She was flipping through the book, found one that she was particularly interested in and then I saw the brain wheels go to work. She carefully read each statement and was able to figure out exactly which water bottle belonged to the child. That was impressive because she had to mentally eliminate different water bottles based on the information provided by each sentence. That is a lot of information for a child to retain in their working memory and I was amazed that she could do it.
Perhaps there is only one part that I’m less impressed with are some of the illustrations. I would be lying if I didn’t think some of the illustrations were a bit too busy or a bit too overwhelming but at the same time, I recognize that older children prefer illustrations with all the added details. My child didn’t seem particularly phased by the illustrations and actually seemed to like them if I measure it by how long she stared at each page before moving on. I do like the use of black and white only because children can then colour in the pictures afterwards if they want to.
Kudos goes to Lisa Regan for making this book suitable for boys and girls. Nothing drives me more nuts than books that seem to target one gender or the other. From an objective standpoint, there is really nothing that should divide learning for boys and girls. Children are children and all books should be suitable for all children.
Would I recommend The Totally Brilliant Puzzle Activity Book to others? Absolutely because of all reasons I mentioned above. The main reason why I only gave it 4.5/5 light bulbs is because of the illustrations because I do wonder if the density of some of the illustrations may actually impede a child from figuring out the solutions to the puzzles. Aside from that, the book is fun not just for my kid but for me too!
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