Se7en Discover The Literature Book and Mathmagicians…

Every now and then a couple of books gather on our coffee table and they linger there for weeks and weeks, because everybody loves them… from the smallest person to the oldest there is something in these books for everyone. Today I am sharing two fabulous DK books that we have been reading lately… of course they are packed with facts and beautiful images, and pages and pages of “WOW moments.”

The Literature Book

Have you discovered the series of DK books we are just exploring, Big Ideas Simply Explained… they are fabulous. A while back we reviewed The Shakespeare Book, we loved it and they are so many more in this series. Right now our high schoolers are discovering the joy of exploring The Literature Book.

Se7en + 1 things to love about The Literature Book From DK Books:

  1. Iconic Literature: The books represented in The Literature Book have been carefully selected from authors all over the world, and are spread over time from The Epic of Gilgamesh (2100 BCE) to Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2005). Packed with books you may have read, and books you wish you had read. Books you possibly read in high school and just can’t remember the details… never fear, the details are all here, tucked between the covers of this great book.
  2. Divided into Eras: Over a dozen books in each category, each selected to highlight the era and each analysed in detail to prepare the reader for their journey into classic literature. At the end of each era there is a “Further Reading List” of at least thirty more books, with a short summary for each of them.
  3. The Se7en Eras:
    1. Heroes and Legends: The Iliad, Beowulf, One Thousand and One Nights;
    2. Renaissance to Enlightenment: Dante’s Divine Comedy, The Canterbury Tales, Robinson Crusoe;
    3. Romanticism and the Rise of the Novel: Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Moby Dick;
    4. Depicting Real Life: War and Peace, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Tess of the d’Urbervilles;
    5. Breaking with Tradition: The Hound of the Baskervilles, The Great Gatsby, The Little Prince;
    6. Post-War Writing: Nineteen Eighty Four, The Catcher in the Rye, To Kill a Mockingbird;
    7. Contemporary Literature: A Suitable Boy, The Blind Assassin, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.
  4. About the Author: Knowing about the author provides so much insight into the story itself. There is a biography column for each author including their main life events, their background and other key works that they wrote.
  5. Timelines, Infographics, Maps: Each work includes very easy to interpret illustrations to highlight and explain the main features of the texts… there is nothing like reading a simplified version of a complicated plot to put a story into perspective and to encourage you to keep on reading.
  6. At A Glance, Overview: Each of the books has a synopsis, written in plain language, providing the background to the story, which is a great introduction to read before diving into the real thing.
  7. Digging Deeper: Not only does each story have an outline to read, but the outline provides background to the political and social events of the day and insight into the life and times of the author. All this background provides context for the story and is often essential to understanding the meaning that the author intended.
  8. Quotable Quotes: I love that each book is introduced with a quote… something to remember the book by and to carry with you long after you have read the book.

This book is a dipper, packed with many “aha moments” and “did you know…?” questions for the folk sitting around you. It has been on our coffee table for a while now and is already being used again and again, not only as a reference book for school but also just for fun. If you ever wanted a great list of classic books to read and were totally overwhelmed by all that there is to read, then this book not only provides a great book list, but the inspiration to explore more and read on…

You can take a look inside the book right here. This book was given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa.


Another fabulous DK Book, that I wish had been around when I was a kid, because I would have loved it. In fact I do rather love it. This is one of those books that appears to be geared at children but has been picked up and browsed by almost every adult that has visited us in the last few weeks. While I have had this book out on the coffee table, it is definitely going to be added to our Family School as we read through it together page by page… there is too much good stuff on every page to miss anything.

Se7en + 1 Things to Love about Mathmagicians by Johnny Ball

  1. Nothing Like a Math Book: This book is totally accessible to all sorts of kids, even those that have developed a phobia to anything to do with math. The over-riding theme is fun, fun, fun.
  2. The Book is Divided into Three Sections: The Ancient World, The Age of Discovery and Modern Measuring, for the history loving students these divisions make it feel a lot less like a math book and a whole lot more like the sort of the book they are used to reading.
  3. It’s Very Readable: As a mom of many I know my kids will sit me down and ask to read through this book with me, I am going to be reading certain pages again and again… turns out this is one of those books that the reader can enjoy just as much as the listener, which is always crucial when you are the parent of non-fiction book lovers.
  4. Amazing Facts: I have yet to meet a kid that doesn’t love gleaning bits of trivia and then sharing their new found knowledge and the next chance they get. This book is packed with pages and pages and pages of trivia. The facts are clearly presented in an easy to understand manner. Lots and lots of bite-sized chunks to read, little snippets that are packed with a punch… enabling readers of all ages to read and remember the snippets.
  5. Packed with Brilliant Illustrations: Well it is a DK book, there are tons of photographs and brilliant diagrams and infographics to explain things… Illustrations to teach you how to build the colosseum, introducing you to scientists of the renaissance, and how to measure very big and very small.
  6. Lots to Do: There are puzzles to crack and problems to figure out, not to mention a couple of experiments to try out… really the kind of book that brings math to life, without making you feel like you are doing actual work.
  7. Understand Things That You Have Always Wondered About: Questions that you may have wondered about – how did ancient people figure out that the world was round? How to travel further away from the coastline… latitude, longitude…
  8. This Book is Just as Cool as it Looks: Forget dry old math books, this book its packed with intrigue and turning paging appeal… This is the sort of book that makes math accessible to all ages and stages. This book goes straight onto the “gotta keep it pile.”

You can take a look inside the book right here… This book was given to us for review purposes by Penguin Random House South Africa. This is not a sponsored post and opinions expressed are as usual our own.

2 Replies to “Se7en Discover The Literature Book and Mathmagicians…”

  1. Hay Catjuggles, We suffer from the same dilemma!!! I have to say this new series is fantastic, a high school resource of note. My juds have loved finding the back story behind books they have read already and they each have a list of books they would like to read, because of it as well. Definite winner!!! Hope you are all having a great week!!!

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