Who doesn’t love a living book? As big believer’s in Charlotte Mason we desire that the things that we read with our children really help bring the story they are telling to life. Because of this we were very curious to have the opportunity to enjoy some of the stories from Weigl Publishers. We received three books: Glaciers, A Lion’s World, and There Once Was a Cowpoke Who Swallowed an Ant. Now you see, the really exciting thing about this is that these books are optimized so that they really do come to life! I don’t understand and simply can’t keep up with all of this new technology, but I know my kids always appreciate this sort of thing. And since one of them is a very reluctant reader, I am always looking for something that might cause him to spend a bit of time in a book. 🙂
I admit I was rather skeptical. I mean, I am a big fan of books. Real books that we can touch and smell. I do have an e-reader but its just not the same. My younger son has often said the same thing. Of course he has developed a bit of a bookmark collection so, he is invested in having something to use with those bookmarks! haha While there are over 1800 books available, thanks to Weigl Publishers and Smartbook Media, Inc. we received three books for this review. Each book came with a special code that gives you access to the interactive book online. What does that mean? It means you hear amazing sound effects; your early readers can have the book read to them. There are also maps, quizzes, games, and lots more to enjoy. The books are delivered as a pdf download too. So you can read them either way (although my kids loved being able to really get “into” the stories we received. There is noyou are subscription or fee involved; simply purchase the books you would like and get realy to really explore. They even have books in Spanish and Arabic.
Remember that old story about the old lady who swallowed a fly? This is like that. It is TONS of fun! While my girls thought the story was just so gross, my boys got such a kick out of all the things this cowpoke ate just trying to get rid of one little fiery ant. This one is recommended for grades K-2 but really it is so much fun even my middle schooler was enjoying the story! Full of fun sound effects, my kids loved listening to this story over and over again!
For my kids who just are not fans of poetry, it was fun to see how much they enjoyed this story not even realizing that it IS poetry. Of course my younger son found it a bit “ridiculous” that he would eat an armadillo, after all “they have a rock hard shell. You can’t chew that up.”
And some of those critters he ate, we had quite a bit of fun learning about them. Roadrunners are so fast, they can prey on rattlesnakes. That’s fast. And turns out all that comes from eating fire ants is that you got a bit more protein in your diet for the day. Because my boys had to find out what would really happen. I hope they aren’t planning dinner tonight! What a fun book this was!
A Lion’s Word was my littlest one’s favorite story! She wants one that we can keep in our yard. She loved seeing the lion (although she was a bit unsure the first time it moved and roared). Both of my girls loved this one.
Recommended for grades K-2 it is an amazingly fun way to learn a bit about these beautiful and majestic cats. Seeing them as together in their pride; watching as they shake their mane about. My older daughter enjoyed this too because the words were pretty simple so she could follow along with the story; she could even read some of this on her own! That is exciting. This story really did come to life! I admit I had hoped for a bit more; this definitely is for younger children. Since my kids are huge fans of the Wild Kratts they love learning all they can about the many animals that are out there. This is a fun way to do that.
Ever since my younger son first learned the story of the Titanic he has been fascinated with glaciers and icebergs. Since this one is recommended for grades 3-6 he was really excited; even more so when he saw that there was a bit about the Titanic in this book too!
He is fascinated with how the ship was built and how the iceberg was able to take it down. He is known as our “little engineer” because he just has to know and see for himself how it all works. So as you can imagine a book like this, that comes to life so vividly, is a real treat!
This one had tons of facts and links that you could follow for additional learning. There was a quiz which my son had so much fun taking, and an activity pack that we downloaded to enjoy working on. My son loved the “robot” voice that narrated the story – he plans to one day build a robot of his own – personally I would have hoped for another voice. There are lots of things to do – this one really is so interactive – words in bold provide a definition when you click on them. And look at these supplemental resources; there were even hands on activities in this~ And I always appreciate a curriculum, don’t you? 🙂
And there are lots of images throughout the book, as well as videos, easily making this a wonderful resource for science study. Especially for an older student this could be a great opportunity to go really in depth and learn all about glaciers. Between the resources provided here and the additional ones they link in the book, this could be a phenomenal independent study for an older, motivated student. This is a secular book but the videos and the materials included are excellent nonetheless.
All in all, this rather skeptical momma, was pretty impressed with how interactive these books were. While I do think that in some cases the books could have had a bit more content, I cannot complain about something like this that draws my children in the way this did. I love the variety of titles they offer: sports, science, the 50 states and even some early readers for our younger ones. I already referred a friend to this site because they are homeschooling their daughter who has special needs and they are also spanish speaking so I saw this as a wonderful opportunity for them all! Certainly my older son hopes for a couple books to come along in Chinese or Japanese perhaps. Since we do a lot with international exchange and have hosted students from all over the world too, I can see how this could be a great benefit for those who are learning the English language too. This whole program is full of good stuff! It is easy to navigate and just really does make learning fun!