3 out of 4 stars
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Sometimes it’s nice to have your kids put the technological gadgets aside, and spend time on traditional, creative activities. My Bright Journal by Irina Negovan is an interactive children’s book designed to stimulate a child’s imagination. There are numerous pages scattered throughout the book that are formatted like a field journal. Each “field” journal page contains a scientific fact, a topic for discussion, field and picture notes about things that happened that day, and a section to list specific thoughts of gratitude. There is even a section to record opinions about the foods the child ate that day.
The book is made of high-quality paper and has the look and feel of a keepsake journal. In addition to the daily journal pages, the book is full of interesting activities such as puzzles, recipes, drawing pages with prompts, and crafts. The projects are meant to be shared with a parent as a way to spend quality family time.
Many of the activities are certainly inventive. My favorite prompt in the book is to draw a family for the monster kid. The monster kid is an exceptionally fun picture and I think children would love drawing the monster kid’s parents and siblings. However, kids often have writing and drawing prompts during class and for homework, so I don’t know if they would enjoy doing these types of activities in their spare time. I gave a few of the project pages to my nephew to complete. He loved the puzzles and the origami craft, but he wasn’t too interested in completing the field journal pages. He did, however, like the science facts listed on the field journal pages - butterflies have taste buds in their feet and snails have 25,000 teeth!
My children are a little older than the target age group (5-10) for this book. Still, I showed the pages to one of my boys; his main comment was that the writing and drawing prompts reminded him of schoolwork he had when he was younger. From kindergarten through second grade, my children were given a blank journal each school year where they were told to draw a picture and/or write a few sentences based on a prompt given by the teacher. I can’t imagine they would have wanted to do more of the same at home after completing their schoolwork.
The animal egg carton and origami crafts brought back wonderful memories. Both kids and parents will love making these cute items which are easy and fun to do. I think parents could suggest a visit to the library to look for children’s books with these animals as the main characters. Although the recipes looked tasty, some of them seemed a bit cumbersome to prepare. Simpler recipes would have been a better choice, especially for busy moms.
Some of the instructions are not easy for a child to understand – for example, draw a sluggish dog, determine if an object is angular, etc. Even though a parent would be there to explain the instructions, I think children gain confidence if they are able to comprehend the instructions without assistance. There is also a page titled “Places I Want to Go” with a map of the world. The problem is that the map doesn’t include the names of the countries or continents. This would just confuse children, and parents would need to find a map that actually displays the names of the places.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. While the activities are interesting, some of the projects are similar to school assignments and not something a child might want to do in their spare time. Still, I would recommend this book to children ages 5-10 as it contains a variety of fun, thought-provoking activities that can stimulate a child’s mind and provide quality family time. By the way, the weirdest food I ever ate as a child was calamari, so that would have been my choice to draw on the “Weirdest Food” page. Of course, it eventually became one of my favorite foods.
My Bright Journal
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