Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Myths Busted! By Emily Krieger

"So was Napoleon really that short? I bet he struggled to fit in and that's why he was so power hungry". Well actually, Napoleon Bonaparte was, for his era, an above average height. While the rest of his countrymen were about 5 foot 4 inches to 5 foot 5 inches, records indicate that Napoleon was about 5 foot 6 inches to 5 foot 7 inches.

Although this quote represents a common bit of information that people hold, it's false. This is where Myths Busted! comes in. This short book, it's 206 pages long, sets out to explore common bits of information that are false. The book presents the "myth" and then provides the information that proves the myth false. The information is provided in small sentences, usually a page has no more than four sentences at a time. However, the book is illustrated with photographs and collages that decorate each set of busted myths. An example of this layout can be seen here. The book explores a wide range of myths ranging from different disciplines. For example, Myths Busted! explores myths, superstitions, and misconceptions dealing with animals, physics, history, and even gastronomy

This small book contains a good number of strengths.Because the book is very nicely illustrated, a student who learns visually would be sure to enjoy the format of the book. Every "myth" is accompanied by a collage describing the myth in a somewhat silly depiction, and an actual photograph adding to the explanation of why that myth is false. These rich illustrations are a great way to complement the short and straightforward sentence structure used throughout the book. This sentence structure can also be a strength in the book. While some of the information deals with some very interesting concepts, it is done so in an accessible diction. One of the weaknesses that, I think, comes from the book is its very short length and its simplicity. The book just focuses on small bits of information and, as such, it does not provide enough material to be taught at length in a classroom.  However, the previously mentioned strengths lend this book to be assigned to very reluctant readers. The format, subject, and illustrations of the book mean that a student unwilling to read conventionally formatted books would give this one a try.

This book, because of its simplicity, would be hard to incorporate as a class lesson. The book analyzes the idea of misinformation and some possible sources of said erroneous information. However, in my opinion, this book belongs in a younger class (12 year olds ) and should be presented in the form of independent reading.


Sarah Millen said...

Hi, Giovani,

I tend to agree with you on your review (though I've not read this text). This sounds like a cool book, but maybe for younger teens and for independent reading.

What might be fun, though, is to maybe every other day or a Friday or something, start class with a mythbuster, just to lighten the load a bit. I have a book of random facts that I used to relay to the students every once in awhile. They enjoyed them, and sometimes I made a writing prompt out of them in some way or another. (I've not done this in a couple of years--your review has prompted me to start this up again) :)

Thanks for the review!

Karra Badakhshanian said...

Hey Giovani, the book you reviewed sounds really interesting. I liked how you opened with the myth about Napoleon and his "short man complex". However, I agree with you that this book, while educational, could be hard to incorporate into a classroom lesson. I think this book could be useful to have on a bookcase in the class for maybe silent reading time or D.E.A.R Day (Drop Everything And Read Day). Additionally, I could see this book being good for reluctant readers as well because they are random facts that are proven wrong. Who doesn't like that? I feel like my boyfriend would love this book because he knows like 10000 facts about everything. But anyways, I think it's important for us to read these types of books and decipher whether they are a good match for our classrooms and for our students. While it can be educational, it is not very academic in a classroom sense. Thanks for the review!

Fernando Arce said...

I saw the title of this book and was automatically drawn in. It seemed fun and it reminded me of "Mythbusters." Your review made me want to buy this book and attempt to incorporate in the class since it looks fun. It's hard, at first glance, to see how to incorporate this book in a unit or at all in the classroom. I think that it would be, I don't know if its a long-shot, but have it as a supplement for a research paper? Having younger students do a research paper can be overwhelming for them but if you show them this book (since it has illustrations and is aesthetically pleasing), it will be easier. Also, because they are using a book as a reference, it will lower their inhibitions from using other books for future research.

I kinda wanna read this now....Imma go read this now.