I don't care if you are a kid, teen or adult - it feels great to be able to do some impressive tricks for your family and friends at the next backyard barbecue, like blowing a bubble within a bubble or slicing an unpeeled banana. If you want to move beyond mere parlor tricks, you can learn how to identify clouds, ride a boogie board or fold fortune cookies thanks to the super-easy directions in Show Off: How to Do Absolutely Everything One Step at a Time, by Sarah Hines Stephens and Bethany Mann.
What makes "Show Off" a fantastic book are the step-by-step picture directions. Since I am a graphic learner, this makes it so much easier for me than trying to decipher a page of text describing how to fold a ninja star. The ingredient lists tend to be very slight, which is a bonus for parents. If you want to learn more about an activity, several of them have longer descriptions in the back under "tell me more." The 224 activities are grouped under the categories of "amaze," "investigate," "create," "explore," "cook," and "move." Most of these are easy to do by yourself if you're at least 10 years old, while others will require adult help.
Gone are the libraries with librarians shushing children for the slightest noise. Now we have libraries that encourage play and having fun, all while getting children ready to read.
When a little bear cub stumbles upon a plate of cookies and a teddy bear sitting in the middle of the woods, he thinks the stuffed animal is the owner of the sweet treats. "I'll eat the cookies for you," he promises. Little does he know that someone else is calling the shots. In order to get at those cookies, Cub will have to follow some Tea Party Rules.
A girl shows up and quickly notices a difference about her bear companion. "You're grubby. Tea Party Rule: you must be clean." Hopefully Cub likes baths as much as he likes cookies, but I doubt it.