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Monday, November 05, 2007

My First "LibraryThing Early Reviewer" Book Review

About a year and a half ago, I joined LibraryThing, an online community for booklovers, on which to catalogue one's personal library. This is a fabulous website for me, because I now have all my books online; can meet other uncontrollable bibliophiles; meet published authors who also LibraryThing; and, perhaps best of all, get free books.

(My LibraryThing profile is here, if you want to see it:

Several months ago LT rolled out a new program called Early Reviewers. Using one of their many clever techie mathematical formulas, it was determined that based on my personal book collection, I might in fact be a good person to review newly released books. So, they emailed me (among about 199 others) to see if I would be interested in lotterying each month for a chance to “win” a book, which I would then be expected to read and review.

Well. You don’t have to ask me a thing like that twice. So, what follows is a review of my first book:

As both the mother of four young children, and an intermittent Sunday School teacher, I have often found myself at wit’s end while cooped up with antsy youngsters. Many are the times I have simply run out of curriculum or activities, while time slowly ticks until dismissal. Though I’m sure I must have played many games in my own youth, at these times, “Duck, Duck, Goose” is the only children’s game I can ever remember on the fly. For all these reasons, “101 Pep-Up Games for Children” by Allison Bartl is going to be an invaluable resource for me.

From the publisher: “The games are designed to handle a variety of sitatuions: whether you’re working indoors or outdoors, with small groups or entire classrooms, if you have 5 minutes or half an hour.” It’s really true, too.

Designed for children ages 4-11, this book is the ideal tool for various-sized groups of mixed age kids. In many cases, the games require absolutely no preparation or props, which for someone like me, is perfect. The book is well-organized, with easier games towards the beginning and more advanced games towards the end. Pre-defined symbols indicate what size group a game is best suited for, or other special requirements such as space to move or necessary props. Whimsical drawings are found on every page.

All of the games are specifically designed to release pent up energy, or to re-energize a listless group by moving the body. The description of each game is so straightforward and brief that I’m often left wondering, “Why couldn’t I think of that?” But the truth is, thinking of children’s games is not my strength, and that is why “101 Pep-Up Games for Children” is going to be such a fabulous tool.

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