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I Wish I Knew That: Cool Stuff You Need to Know Hardcover – May 12, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Martin attended Birmingham City University, where he earned a degree in English. Since then, he has worked in education, including 15 years' teaching English in prisons. He currently lives in Rutland, a rural area in the English Midlands with his wife and two young sons. I Wish I Knew That is his third children's non-fiction books, the previous two being The Boys' Book 3 and The Boys' Book of Adventure. He is currently working on a series of modern fairy stories for younger children.

Marianne Taylor grew up on the south coast of England, and from an early age developed an interest in science and natural history. She has a BSc in biological psychology from Sheffield University and became a freelance writer and editor in 2007. Since then, she has written several books, mostly on natural history subjects, and lives in Kent, England.

Mike Goldsmith, Ph.D., studied astrophysics at Keele University, where he earned his PhD, and is a freelance research scientist. He has written several books for children and lives in Teddington in England.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 6
  • Series: I Wish I Knew That
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Readers Digest (May 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606523406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606523407
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #619,905 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I Wish I Knew That is subtitled "Cool Stuff You Need to Know" and that is really true. Part educational, part trivial, the focus of this book is a quick understanding of basic educational subjects such as history, math and science. I Wish I Knew That also includes chapters that explain art, nature and "classic stuff." This book does finish on with the science chapter with a section titled "where do you come from?" which is a 2-page detail explaining the theory of evolution. From Shakespeare to the Water Cycle to how to say "Hello" in Chinese, this book has a little bit of something for everyone of all ages and would really make a great gift book.

I received this book complimentary in exchange for an honest review but the opinion stated here is all mine.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book for ANYONE,(unless you are one of those few geniuses who never forgot anything.) It is easily understandable and great at explaining complex concepts simply. I am very glad I bought this book.
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Format: Hardcover
My mistake in purchasing, as particular volume is for Kids 9-12. At the time I bought 3-4 other volumes as well in this series because they looked interesting and were low priced. I should have been a bit more careful in looking over the info before buying this particular volume. My bad. Not that there weren't some informative bits to be found in here. It really was more the level of the writting, as opposed to the content. So it wasn't what I was looking for but your kid will most likely enjoy it.
As far as the other volumes I purchased, again I bought them for light reading and that is exactly what I got. Reader's Digest published. That should about cover it right there as far as what you are getting.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is packed with information that will fill your brain. It is divided into 8 chapters, each on a specific subject.

Below are examples of what's in each chapter:

Literature - famous writers and poets are discussed here. You will learn about them and their writings.

Music and Art - brief explanations of the different periods of art and music. For example, the Renaissance and the Arts and Crafts movements.

Language - all the parts of speech and figures of speech are explained well here.You'll also learn about things such as the Onomatopoeia.

Classic - interesting tidbits about the Greeks and Romans. Do you know the story of Persephone? It's covered here.

History - All the US presidents and British kings and queens are listed here. I didn't know that Queen Elizabeth has been ruling since 1952! Major wars are simply explained here.

Geography - every continent and their countries and capitals are listed here. When did Oceania become a continent? Geography is also discussed here.

Math - here you learn the history of numbers. Some geometry and algebra is thrown in.

Science- Physics, chemistry, biology are given a brief overview. There are also facts about space and time.

I just highlighted a few of the subjects in each chapter. This is a very interesting book. There is some information in it that I didn't know. I don't remember teachers telling about the more interesting details that are covered in this book. Adults would enjoy this book as a refresher course. Kids would enjoy this as an additional resource to their studies. Check it out and see what you know, or thought you knew, about many different subjects.

I received a free copy of this Reader's Digest book from FSB Media for my honest review.
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Format: Hardcover
For many of us, there is a brief period in our lives when we know everything...then our kids become teenagers and we find out that we don't know a thing. We may yearn for the glory days when we had an audience who knew we were the smartest, wisest, most creative people on earth--they even thought we could sing. As the kids got older, so did we, and one of the most miserable things that accompanies advanced age is the realization that we don't know everything about everything. And the stuff we do know becomes less important every day.

Whether the subject is climate, language, literature, art, science, history, geography, or music, nobody knows everything (I never thought about it, but up until a month ago I didn't know "so" was a conjunction!). Steve Martin (I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong--not the Steve Martin who's a famous attorney in North Carolina), Mike Goldsmith, and Marianne Taylor have produced a neat little volume, "I Wish I Knew That: Cool Stuff You Need to Know," that fills in the gaps in your education or memory with things you really should know. (If you think you are culturally literate enough, you might be interested in testing that perception.)

Oh, the details of the Arts and Crafts movement may not seem all that important...until you're conversing with a group that starts talking about it, and you haven't a clue. "I Wish I Knew That" tells you all you need to know to follow the conversation: "...artists...preferred objects to be simple, well-made, and handcrafted."

Before choosing paper or plastic, it might be worth knowing that a plastic bag can take up to a thousand years to decompose. And it wouldn't hurt if my readers knew what "hyperbole" is.

Reading "I Wish I Knew That" provides lots of "Aha!
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