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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Book Reviews- two books I like for my teens.


Fairy Cooking
If you have a child who is very into fairy things, into pink and loves pretty, this is the perfect cookbook for them, or for adults who still like to wear fancy hats and have tea parties with friends.
First: Format, because I didn't read carefully because I was distracted by the cover when I ordered it. It's about the size of a large coloring book, roughly 12 inches tall by 9 inches wide. It's printed in full color on decent quality paper and has a stapled binding. The paper and printing quality is a bit more than I expected for the price.
There are no basic cooking instructions in it, so it is a book to use hands on with your children who are just learning, but there are lots of children's cookbooks that explain all the tools.
The recipes themselves are simple and gorgeous. The sort of thing that any little fairy princess would be thrilled to serve at a tea party. My daughter is 14 and has basic cooking skills down pat, but this is a great one even for her for the ideas in it. The miniature cooking and whimsical look of the recipes also makes them perfect for bentos.
My favorites:
Iced Raspberry Mousse- a sweet airy confection made with yogurt, cream, raspberries and for a nice touch of texture, meringues
Cut Out Sandwiches- A simple idea that makes a great presentation and one I will use in bentos and for tea parties myself.
Mini fairy pastries- Miniature really food is just wonderful and these are flavorful enough that even my son and husband would eat them without complaining too much about the cute factor.
Another great book for children from Usborne.

Backyard Ballistics: Build Potato Cannons, Paper Match Rockets, Cincinnati Fire Kites, Tennis Ball Mortars, and More Dynamite Devices by William Gurstelle
The most impressive book I've seen of it's type. The projects in it are mostly inexpensive to put together and require few special skills for great results. Caution is recommended when building projectile weapons of course, but if you've got a teen or a husband who loves these sort of things, they will find something they want to try in here. My favorite projects are the tennis ball mortars and the paper match rockets. The mortars because the section explains the difference between mortars and cannons and the project itself is a wonderful hands-on experiment for trajectory and how gravity effects it. The paper match rocket is minimal supplies and easy to put together and shows how a struck match creates energy in the form of heat which launches the miniature rocket.
The science behind each project is well explained, and there is a lot of history about the scientists who came up with some of the most pivotal theories about physics and how they tested them.
Recommended with adult supervision for middle school and high school children. It's not deeply technical and it's very accessible even for teens who aren't really interested in science.
Also recommended for husbands who like to build things that go boom and are interested in science.

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