After immersing themselves in mantras in I AM Manifesto, young siblings Hao Finley and Sabine Yi Lee are on their journey of seeking knowledge from around the world. In Humongous (& Cool) Words For Kids, these philomaths not only learn about words from their own and other cultures and countries, they absorb new facts about stuff they thought they knew. Name the subject, they’re sharing: science and math (big, uncomplicated check!), different languages (“oui, sí, shì” check!), environmental awareness (layered-atmosphere check!), etiquette (thank you, check!), music (treble clef check!), international cuisine (lots of yummy checks!), and many more. Shared with wit.
Amazon Link – https://amzn.to/2OvMJzZ
San Francisco Book Review:
Humongous (& Cool) Words for Kids is a dictionary-esque book that tells the story of two kids and their family as they wander through a tale of words and their definitions.
First things first, this is not your typical dictionary! Humongous (& Cool) Words for Kids by SB Hilarion might be packed with words and definitions (over eight hundred, although I didn’t count to make sure!), but it really has fun with those entries. Overall, this book reads more like an adventure story than a dictionary, and, in some cases, I’m not even sure I’ve seen some of these words in a dictionary before. The words themselves come from everywhere—a myriad of cultures and locales—drawing also on mythology, various languages, science, math, and food; and they include words we know and words we might never have encountered before, making this a great way to learn not only about words, but about other people, places, and cultures. In short, there is a lot to learn here besides just words.
(A special congrats on the X-words in particular, as those are especially challenging!)
While it might be designed like a dictionary, few dictionaries are this casual and fun-loving. What sets this book apart from most others like it for kids is the way it reads more like a novel, with the back and forth among the characters from entry to entry, and even the little asides from minor characters, such as the Fairy explaining the entry of ‘myth’ or the Cow giving her two cents about the entry for ‘udder.’ Characters aren’t something I’ve seen in a dictionary before, but it worked well in this one, though it took a bit of getting used to. It shows how words and language can be playful and engaging, not just minutely printed words in a dusty, heavy book. This aspect of it really makes the reader engage with the material. The pictures and artwork also engage the reader, and there are clues about the characters in some pictures if a reader is keen. The art might not be the most professional, but it suits the tone of the book really well and enhances the storytelling. The illustration makes it feel comfortable and homey, emphasizing this as a family book.
Overall, this is a fun-loving and enjoyable book, with surprising and awesome words drawn from many cultures. The entries are memorable, with humorous explanations/definitions to help remember them. It’s a book that’s fun to read aloud or peruse alone, with fascinating information to share with the whole family, and words that will challenge anyone in the room, maybe especially the adults!
SB Hilarion is the author and main illustrator of the narrative nonfiction children’s books in the Raising Young Scholars Series. The author of I AM Manifesto, Hilarion holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Columbia University, and a law degree from Harvard University. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and children, plus some deer who refuse to pay rent.