Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Book of Impossible Objects

The Book of Impossible Objects

Spring 2013 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Klutz
Price: $19.99

If you've ever looked at an optical illusion and thought, "How did they DO that?" you will enjoy opening this book and playing with the many different experiments inside.

The Book of Impossible Objects includes 25 fun projects, part-craft and part-experiment, that readers do to make the seemingly impossible possible. That is the basic description, but it would be almost impossible to list everything The Book of Impossible Objects from Klutz offers. The book includes dozens of projects and the supplies to do most of them (anything else is readily available in the home). Some of the projects begin with old favorites, like the Möbius strip, but add on potentially unfamiliar developments. The book spends pages exploring the fun of a hinged mirror, for example. This was the kind of thing curious children might explore on their own, given the opportunity (what kid doesn't like three-part mirrors in clothing stores?), but the book takes it further with an explanation of the physics of mirror optics. There was an optical illusion of a spiral that wasn't a spiral, which kept even adults squinting and thinking. The children were especially intrigued by the "Labyrinth", a folded paper project known as a flexagon.

The Klutz manual is written with a sense of humor. It has enough science to keep children learning but enough silliness to keep them interested, and the authors knew when to stop before the readers' eyes glaze over. It is the best kind of science -- learning because it is fun and interesting, not because someone declares it to be educational. Each 'experiment' includes a nice description of what is happening, even if some of the concepts (such as center of gravity) may not resonate easily with the younger users.

The kit is best enjoyed as a group activity, with everyone sharing in the wonderful sense of discovery and "Oh, WOW" moments inherent in different illusions and tricks. One reviewer's family crowded into the bathroom to watch the spinning wheel in the mirror, where it seemed like rats climbed out of holes non-stop. Activities like this are a great way for kids to play with parents, cousins, grandparents or other kids, which is particularly needed for younger kids, ages 8 to 9. We found the adults enjoyed it as much than the kids, if not more!

Parents' Choice   ©2013 Parents' Choice

Share This