Friday, July 15th, 2005
Book Review: Understanding Children
Attention procreating bathroom readers! Your lavatory is not complete without Understanding Children: the Guidebook for Children 0 to 3 by Richard Saul Wurman. Each page in this book has a visually striking design. Prepare to be overloaded with newspaper-style infographics, coupled with a rich layout on semi-glossy pages that gives the book the feel of a magazine.
When I cracked the pages — a gift from my uncle — my first thought was that it was a free gift that had accompanied a magazine subscription. Wow, this book is different.
Turning each page brings a new question to be answered. Some questions are pertinent, such as "How can I recognize my child’s illnesses?" and "How can I pass on family history?" Others are factoids, such as "Do fathers differ across cultures?" and "Why do children continue to live in poverty?"
At first, this book languished in a dark corner of a storage cabinet. It’s too scatterbrained to be readable straight through like other parenting advice books. It also lacks the depth I’d be seeking when using it as a reference for a specific issue.
The book is effective for gleaning a wide range of basic information,
for piquing your interest to look into certain issues with further
research. It’s probably also good for a parent for whom you’d normally
have to wrestle to the floor to get a book into their hands.
Understanding Children is perfect for flipping through at a coffee table, or while ruling the porcelain thrown. Or take it on a road trip and read it during breastfeeding stops. It really really really beats watching the cars pass by as Dad asks, "Done yet? Done yet honey?"
Understanding Children [amazon.com]
Publisher’s description of Understanding Children [civitas.org]
PDF sample of three topics in Understanding Children [civitas.org]
Additional page views of Understanding Children [understandingchildren.com]