Book Reviews: Children’s Miscellany and More

Children’s Miscellany, compiled by Matthew Morgan and Samantha Barnes, illustrated by Niki Catlow, Chronicle Books, $12.95; for ages 6 and up.

If your child relishes announcing fun facts from the car’s backseat, Children’s Miscellany is a must-have. “How to Fly an Airplane” is next to “What Your Doodles Say About You,” which is next to “Japanese Ice-Cream Flavors” and “Lessons to Learn from Cartoons.” Plus there’s “Animals Used in War,” not to mention many jokes, riddles and lots of first-aid tips. Subtitled Useless Information That’s Essential to Know, this quirky compilation features amusing illustrations throughout.

Quilt of States, by Adrienne Yorinks, National Geographic, $19.95; for ages 8 and up.

This is unique presentation of American history presents one librarian from every state telling the significant facts about how each area joined the union. This is subtitled Piecing Together America, and the author’s intricate quilts add the dimensions of color, fabric and fascinating state symbols to look for. How cleverly Yorinks quilts New Orleans Mardi Gras masks, the Statue of Liberty, California computers, Maryland crabs, Arizona pottery, Georgia peaches and no-two-alike images of cows. This is a treasure for quilt-lovers, as well as young history buffs.

Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs!, by Kathleen V. Kudlinski, illustrated by S.D. Schindler, Dutton, $15.99; for ages 4 to 8.

Dinosaur-obsessives will devour this book. In telling stories about how new discoveries are made, thereby correcting mistakes in our thinking thus far, this is actually a painless science book. The ancient Chinese believed dinosaurs were still alive, for example – and they turned out to be right in a way, as scientists now believe the beasts have evolved into our modern-day birds.