Show Off

cover image for Show OffStephens, S. H. & Mann, B.  (2009) Show Off.  Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.


Can you stand on your head?  Predict a rainstorm?  Bake a cake over a campfire?  Build a catapult?  Would you like to?  This book will show you how to do all this and more, step-by-step, and with each feat fully illustrated.

This book is just tons of fun and the stylish pictures make the already appealing activities even more so.  It also has a huge range of not only types of activities but also level of skills needed.  Several of the more intriguing and complicated tasks would likely require further investigation before accomplishing correctly, but I personally like the fact that it will probably encourage kids to find even more information elsewhere.  It’s also the perfect range of activities for tweens.  Not only is the easier stuff the kinds of things they can do without supervision while the harder tasks are perfect for stretching their planning skills, but the whole book is this perfect blend of the type of imaginative play that children revel in and the the kind of do-it-yourself mentality that teens love.  Aside from being a great book for kids to browse through, it also gave me lots of great ideas for library programming; it’s a must for any library.

Note:  I found it really amusing that several of the activities involved dangerous stunts, cooking, or using construction tools – and yet it was only the few involving matches that instructed readers to get their parents.

Best for ages 10-15

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