Friday 20 April 2018

How To Speak Emoji, Cat & Dog Children's Books Review for National Geographic Kids

National Geographic and their younger publications from Nat Geo Kids are renowned for being reliable, sensible and educational, and their series of How To Speak books really does back that up. How To Speak Emoji, How To Speak Dog and How To Speak Cat are fabulous books which have really taken me by surprise and captured the attention of everyone here.

We've been sent all 3 of the books to review and I didn't realise just what gems they were going to be. These aren't simply lists with definitions, they're full of facts and really fascinating.

I'll start with How To Speak Emoji by Claire Strickett. I use them all the time, but I didn't even know the origins of the word emoji, or that the earliest surviving emoji's are in caves! It didn't occur to me that Egyptian Hieroglyphs are as much an emoji, or 'picture letter', as :-)

As well as explanations of origins and history, there are of course hundreds of emojis in this book for you to learn. From the everyday and simple, to the emojis you'd probably be lucky to use once, there is a picture for everything. Lots of emojis have ever-evolving uses, so a green heart may traditionally indicate jealousy, but just as likely now it means 'Awww' or 'sending love' and the author likes green!

The book is split into sections, and each section has it's own quiz. There are just a few questions, it's very light-hearted and surprisingly hard - it reminded me of my driving theory test....

How To Speak Dog by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman D.V.M. is a book that I'd have said would be the one I could learn least from, having kept dogs most of my life. I was probably wrong. Again it starts with the history - in this case evolution, domestication, physiology and breeding, and then a quick quiz before you start, so you can laugh at your poor results later.

Each different doggy signal or message is accompanied by clear photos, so you can easily recognise the behaviour in your own animal. The language isn't patronising and it explains that each dog is different - yours may not behave exactly as described. It should really improve and enhance your child's relationship with their pet.

How To Speak Cat by Aline Alexander Newman and Gary Weitzman D.V.M. is the one I was most interested in. We've had Gary the cat now for 2 years and I think I had a baptism of fire taking on a very poorly pet who wanted to tell me everything and couldn't. I tried my best to understand him and he's still here, so I guess I must have done okay, but I could have done with this book!

Again there is a quiz towards the beginning, and I'm proud to say I did okay (phew!). There is also a list of differences between cats and dogs, and their communication methods are really very different. I wonder if poor Gary even speaks cat, I may have trained him in dog... I called him over to take a look with me. He instantly signed the book so we know it's his.

I tried to encourage him to recreate some of the body language in the book, but he wasn't entirely keen. He wanted to tell me something else, so I fed him.

I'm always attempting to encourage old Edgar our rabbit to be more friendly with Gary, so I read him the basics and showed him the pictures. It may have worked...

The How To Speak books are by National Geographic and published by Collins. Each has around 176 pages and they cost £7.99 each rrp. They are recommended for readers aged around 8-12, although I honestly don't think you need an upper age limit, these are great books for pet-owners and enthusiasts of any age. 

Here are Amazon links to each of the books (*affiliate links):

Affiliate links don't cost you any more, but I earn a few pence if you buy through my link, so that I can hopefully buy Gary a 3 storey luxury cat hotel sometime (probably around 2024).
I was paid for the time taken to write this post and review the books properly. 

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