Cover Image: The Great Big Book of Life

The Great Big Book of Life

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Member Reviews

"Aren't humans amazing?". With a starting point like that, you know that readers are in for a positive journey through the lifespan. This book really is a celebration of human life and provides a child-friendly guide through from 'how it all began' through to death and how we live on in the future. Big ideas, but explained appropriately.
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This is the first in the Great Big Book of... series that I have read. 
It had some great parts, and some that I thought were a bit inappropriate for a children's book. Also, I'm not sure what age the target audience is. The illustrations seem a bit juvenile for the content.
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This book was incredibly fun! It is indeed a great big book of life that is short and easy to read, plus a lot of fun for both the little ones and the adults.

I loved the realism in this book, how inclusive it is and the best part about it: it is fun, talks about serious subjects in a fun way but with respect.

Absolutely loved it!
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A total delight and joy of a book for both young and old! Illustrations are adorable. A fun way to learn.
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This book kind of felt like a waste of time. In theory, the idea is sound. In practice, it falls short.

Despite the attempts at inclusivity in the illustrations, the book comes across as very Western. The section on partners completely ignores cultures that practice polygamy. And there's one bit in the section about language that pretty much implies that English is the only language that exists:

    There are just 26 letters in the English alphabet but we can mix them up to make thousands of words. It's strange to think that all poems and songs and books and plays and films are made up of so few letters.

Some of the pictures I found a little bit confusing, like I was missing the joke or something. And sometimes, even the text was confusing:

    Death is very mysterious and no-one really understands it. But it means that life has come to an end. The person stops breathing and their heart stops beating and the blood stops moving round their body. So they can't talk or feel or move any more.

I don't know. That sounds like a pretty reasonable explanation of death to me. So why do they say nobody understands it?

What really irked me about this book was the spread about "staying well", which is basically just pro-vaccine propaganda. If you're going to unabashedly push your agenda on small children, at least get your facts right. As it is, there are two easily disproven statements on those pages (including the implication that smallpox is still circulating).

I'm confused as to who the audience is supposed to be. Parts of this book seem like they're written for kids, while others seem to be aimed at adults. It's way too biased toward Western culture, though, and makes a lot of statements that seem a little judgmental or guilt-trippy in nature (like how the page on school basically ignores homeschooling and even tries to make kids feel guilty for not going to an actual school because others don't have that opportunity at all). Oh, and one last thing: if you find a fart as hard to control as a sneeze (as the book suggests), then you might need to see a doctor.

Long story short, I don't recommend this one. The premise is decent. The execution is not.
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Very simplistic and stereotypical explanations of most things, good for very young children. However the artwork is pleasant enough.
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The Great Big Book of Life will be a welcome addition to home and library shelves.  It is appealing in its layout, factual (and when appropriate humorous) in tone and has very appealing illustrations that remind me a bit of Helen Oxenbury.  For extra fun while reading, look for all of the pictures and comments by the cat.

The book starts with an entry about before babies are born and moves through the life cycle until death by the end of the book.  Early sections will appeal to young children who want to know what they were like as babies or perhaps have recently become older siblings and want to understand things like why babies cry, why they are supposed to be quiet when the baby is sleeping, etc.  This short book moves forward from infancy through all of the stages of development including toddlerhood, the school and teen years, adulthood, older age, etc. 

I found this book to be a helpful guide to questions children may have...or not even know that they had.  I recommend it highly.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this early read.  All opinions are my own.
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I received an electronic copy from Quarto Publishing Group through NetGalley.
This book takes the reader from pregnancy to death in human lives. Hoffman incorporates all types of people and life choices.
Colorful, realistic illustrations offer so much to see and connect to the text.
A definite read aloud as a family.
Certain pages could be read separately based on family events or read as a whole book in one sitting.
Don't miss the endcap illustrations inside the front and back covers.
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This is an odd bit of a book, with a biting sense of humor. I'm not quite sure if it is a parady, or is seriously meant for children. Perhaps it is like Bugs Bunny cartoons that are meant for both. Either way, it was quite enjoyable, and I liked what was said about growing old. Very true.



The book goest from birth to death, and all bits inbetween.

A very fun funny book.

Thanks to Netgallely for making this book available for an honest review.
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This book feels a bit like Richard Scary and Judy Bloom decided to collaborate on a book, and it was illustrated by the guy who did the Roal Dahl illustrations. It is comprehensive, honest, and charmingly vintage. I didn't know what to expect, i.e. biology or philosophy. I got both. It can see this being a great book for school libraries and also for families to have around as a reference. The wonderful text is just right in terms of honesty and age-appropriateness. Really wonderful book.
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Another great book.  These ‘Great big book of’ do really well for us and are full of fun and useful facts.  Colourful pictures showing people from all walks of life is great too
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A straightforward book that teaches the life cycle. I like that this book was honest, and didn't resort to symbolism or storytelling to teach this important lesson (the illustration of the mom breastfeeding, the pages about the teenage years being difficult, etc.).  I liked that the book didn't go into specific details about certain things (childbirth, for example) but opened the door so that parents can have these conversations in the way they choose with their kids - essentially the book sets kids up to ask questions!  I would use this book in my homeschool curriculum.
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Such an amazing, no nonsense book about the life cycle. It doesn’t shy away from some outlooks on relationships or individual life choices; it simply tells people how it is.
The charm of this book can be seen in how the book handles its explaination of death. It’s sincere and tactful without skirting around the subject.
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