A book that answers kids' questions
November 1, 2014 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Please give me recommendations for books that explain how the world works to pre-schoolers.

I am particularly interested in sciency stuff like "why does it rain" and "how does your body work".
Engaging illustrations would be good.

I would prefer one big book on a mixture of things rather than a series of books, but the latter is interesting, too.

Thank you!
posted by Omnomnom to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
David Macaulay, (although the digital bits are going to be very outdated by this point.) The My Readers sound exactly like what you want, though for kids a little older-- with adult help, though, they might be perfect.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:59 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Seconding Macaulay + your own layer of explanation.
posted by safetyfork at 1:21 PM on November 1, 2014

I had a book like this when I was a kid and I loved it. I thought it was called something like "Big Book of Answers" or similar*, so I started searching around Goodreads using that title as a jumping-off point. The National Geographic Little Kids First Book of Why has good reviews, and many commenters said specifically that it was good for a preschooler/ages 3-6. This is apparently the preschool version of the NG Kids' Almanac series for older children--here is the 2015 edition.

*Oh my goodness, I can't believe it. I did some more searching and found my childhood book! It's called Tell Me Why: Answers to Hundreds of Questions Children Ask, by Arkady Leokum. Nearly 500 pages?? Wow. It's out of print and outdated (original version: 1968), but I remember poring over it for hours. It was aimed at older kids, I think 8 and up. I have such fond memories of this book!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 2:21 PM on November 1, 2014

The "Let's Read and Find Out About Science" series is geared to preschool-early elementary. They are excellent books that stand up to repeat readings. I often use them in my storytimes for preschoolers. Your public library should have many of them.
Rookie Read About Science are nice, simple books, too, with the added benefit of being good primers for when your child is learning to read.
posted by Biblio at 2:52 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is what Usborne Books do best. I think their First Encyclopedia of Science is a good fit for what you're looking for. It's aimed at 5+, but that gives you room to grow. The link has a Look Inside - I looked at a weather page and it had a simple experiment/activity as well. If you're wanting something a bit younger, maybe Look Inside Science, aimed at 3+.

Seconding 'Let's read and find out about science' - my daughter went through all of these and they were great.

I also had Tell Me Why. Great bathroom book.
posted by you must supply a verb at 3:39 PM on November 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

My 4-year-old loves the lift-a-flap See Inside Your Body book.
posted by belladonna at 5:13 PM on November 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

The Usborne books, particularly the See Inside series mentioned above have been some of my son's favorites for the past 2 years (he's 5 1/2).
posted by goggie at 6:21 PM on November 1, 2014

This is one case where you definitely need to go to a bookstore or library, not order online. Usbourne and DK are the best for kids' non-fiction, but you have to actually get a book and see how they answer a question to tell if the vocabulary and complexity is age-appropriate. My kid wanted a book on the human body and everything was too simple-cartoony or too complex and text-heavy in the children's section, so I got the DK Human Anatomy book which is not meant for children but has huge clear pictures that she is very happy to browse and have us read the text labels to her.

If they can read already, the DK graded readers are lovely and you can buy them online with confidence. Otherwise, I would look for an encyclopedia with great illustrations that they can browse and you read and explain to them.
posted by viggorlijah at 7:48 PM on November 1, 2014

Childcraft from world book is great for this.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:41 AM on November 2, 2014

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