Monday, November 29, 2010

TOS Homeschool Review--Nanuk: A Baby Polar Bear's Story

As a bibliophile, I adore books.  I sometimes keep myself away from bookstores so that I don't spend food money on my preferred form of nourishment.  I always think of the Erasmus quote: "When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes."  That sentence quite aptly describes me.  It is a special treat to me, then, when I receive a book in the mail that is free. 

(When I was teaching writing and literature at K State, I took such unfair advantage of the free textbooks I could request from publishers.  Do you have any idea how many free copies of short story and introduction to literature anthologies are on my bookshelves upstairs?  I can't part with any of them.  It's a problem.) 

The book we received in the mail to review was called Nanuk: A Baby Polar Bear's Story, which is part of a series called My Animal Family from Smart Kids Publishing, Inc.  We loved this book!  My kids both loved the story of a young polar bear who loves to romp and play with his brother but who is also learning how to survive in his cold, icy habitat.  The artwork is just as compelling as the story, and each page is covered with realistic and beautiful watercolors of this polar bear family and the landscape that surrounds them.  I know that this will be a book that we will look at together many times. 

Although the hardback book is, in itself, worth its $10.39 pricetag, the book also comes with a companion DVD with BBC footage that shows a mother polar bear and her two cubs in their natural habitat.  My kids both loved the video.  Not only is the footage incredible, but the commentary is wonderful, too.  The narration is done by a child from the point of view of one of the young polar bears, and this pov made the DVD quite interesting for my kids, who sat in front of the TV quite enthralled.  I was trying to fix lunch in the kitchen, and I must confess I kept sneaking back into the living room to watch the footage and learn about polar bears.  The DVD also includes a song to learn, which I was a little disappointed in.  The song was well-done, but I don't think that it is catchy enough for my kids to want to repeatedly listen to and actually learn. 

One fun perk to this book is that when you buy the book you are given 30 days of access to the My Animal Family website where kids can play educational games.  My daughter liked the games, but it took quite awhile to earn enough points to "buy" necessary items to get further in the game, and that was a little frustrating for her.  It seems if at least some of the items were worth fewer points the game might hold kids' interest for a longer period of time.  

Overall, the print and media combination of this book series is quite well done.  There are several other books in this series as well, and I think it would be well worth the money to invest in at least one of these wonderful books. 

If you would like to see what my other TOS Crewmates had to say about these books check out their reviews here.

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew I was provided a free copy of this product for my honest evaluation. I was given no other compensation for this review.

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