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~~~ Ragged Bear's This Is Me, And This Is My Family Tree Activity Book ~~~
Just to let you know, I've been interested in researching my family history for a few years now. It came about at a time when I realised that not only did I not have any Grandparents remaining, but my daughters only had two sets, instead of the usual four. I wanted to find about our history for my daughters' sake, before the eldest living relative passed away, along with their memories about past generations. This might seem a gloomy and boring pastime, but to me it was fun, interesting and really quite engaging.
~~~ This Book ~~~
My eight year old daughter has a very active interest in history and this book was purchased to help her feel involved with my research. At 50 pages long, this is quite a good size for an activity book, there is plenty of things to keep a child occupied, be it for a short while, filling in a page at a time, or a couple of hours on a rainy afternoon. This book is recommended for children between five and ten, and in my opinion ten is too old. It is too basic for child any older than seven, as it doesn't contain enough detail, they would also find the cartoon drawings contained within, much too babyish.
~~~ All About Me ~~~
The first section is all about the child who owns the book and the life they are leading. There are sections to fill in, such as name and date. There are two frames on the first page where you can draw yourself using a mirror as a guide, and in the second one, you are asked to stick a photo of you now. You follow through the pages filling in such details as where you live, adding photos of your house, who else lives with you, and designing your dream house.
It then goes on to ask them to add details about when they were born, and details about today, so they can compare them; weight and height etc, so they can see how they've grown. This section is rather large and has lots of fun things to do. There is a game to test your memory, and lots of things to fill in, details of any pets they own, holidays they've been on, their feelings, and friends. Over half the book is taken up with details on the child, which although is nice as it builds up a lovely picture about them, and their personality at that moment in time, it really doesn't leave much of the book left for the family tree aspect, which was the reason I bought the book in the first place.
~~~ All About My Family ~~~
The next twelve pages of the book deals with the family and extended family, and as before there are plenty of spaces to add photographs or draw pictures. It doesn't go into too much detail here like it did before. What is Mum's name, date of birth, where she was born, and those sorts of things. The section for Dad is exactly the same. From here it goes rapidly downhill. The brother and sister section simply asks their names, and dates of birth. While I think the section about extended families and step siblings is a great addition in this modern age, it doesn't go far enough. It seems like an add-on, for the sake of having to be there, rather than integrating them in fully into the family.
The next part of the book is for grandparents, two on the maternal side, and two on the paternal, as one would expect. As before it more or less just asks the basics, and not about their lives, and situations they were brought up in, or about their siblings or parents.
~~~ Family Tree ~~~
Next there is a family tree to fill in. With only four spaces for the child and their brothers and sisters, this could get annoying if you are part of a larger family, Mum and Dad are added next, and the grandparents afterwards. This is an extremely basic tree, and although fine for someone not really interested in family history, it's rather annoying to someone who is.
~~~ Looking To The Future ~~~
The next double paged spread is to be filled in one year later, about hopes and dreams, and what you want to be when you grow up. Finally there is a timeline, where you can fill in important dates and events until the child is aged 20.
~~~ My Thoughts ~~~
As a genealogist (ooh that sounds posh) this book is extremely irritating. There is not enough detail for it to be a good reference for my child. It's not what I expected at all, and I know that might be my fault. I purchased this off Amazon, sight unseen, purely because it had excellent reviews and was the only family history book aimed at children on the market, that I could find.
I would have wanted it to go into more detail. What was it like in the 'olden days', not just for my Mum and Dad (grandparents) but further back several generations. I wanted this book to be interactive, and supply my daughter not only with the entertainment of filling this book in, but also supply questions for her enquiring mind to ponder upon? Why did they live there, what was it like, did four children really have to share a bed (my mum did) and why? What was the cost of things, and what did they receive for Christmas in years gone by? I had wanted this book to be my daughter's link to the past and it simply isn't.
It's a lovely activity for any child between the ages of five and seven, be it just for fun, or keeping them quiet on a rainy day indoors. It has lots to draw and colour, and lots of things to fill in, and in fairness it's quite a reasonable price. It just doesn't go into as much depth historically and from a family tree perspective, as I personally would have liked, and as such I can only award this book two stars.
~~~ Other Information ~~~
Author: Nicky May.
Published by Ragged Bear's Publishing
Recommended Retail Price: £4.99
This may be purchased from WHS online for £3.89 (cheapest price available today - 16/01/12)
Thank you for reading my review, which is also be posted on Ciao with photographs.