My Big World

Image of My Big World
Release Date: 
June 1, 2013
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

“. . . a big hit for exploring science with the help of fun fictional characters, colorful illustrations, and interactive learning activities.”

My Big World is a 64-page picture book that explores the idea of the smallest and largest in the world around us. It is a valuable book for families and elementary schools because its nonfiction content is creatively presented with the help of fictional characters, in a well-organized fashion, that can be enjoyed as both a story and a reference book.

The book begins with an introduction to the two main characters, Koko and Alex, and three additional characters who are part of the exploration team. Initially, the three additional characters seem unnecessary. OKIDO’s strategy in having these different characters may be to appeal to different age groups. Koko and Alex are the main characters that would appeal to the older audience of readers, while the three other characters, resembling Teletubbies, appeal to younger readers.

Because the intended age range of readers includes a broad range of reading, comprehension, and motor skills, My Big World can be enjoyed in many ways. For example, the “My lunch” section is a great way for children to see where the various foods they eat come from.

“It’s time to eat,” includes recipes, games, and crafts, and readers can make fruit or vegetable kebabs and mini veggie burgers with the help of an adult.

The exploring begins with the smallest world—the family unit and the individuals in it. Chapters following it address food and where it comes from, what our homes look like and what items belong in each room. The “My home” pages include a test in what is different between two houses when Koko asks: “Can you spot ten differences between the two pictures of the house?”

The OKIDO team also included a little repetition and review when it introduces where milk comes from on page 12 of “My lunch.” In the section titled “On the farm” one of the Teletubby characters asks “Where does milk come from?” This is a great teachable skill because the reader can be guided back to page 12 to find the answer in the text. This is especially valuable for readers in the higher age range because it tests skills in memory and reading comprehension as well as reviewing, skimming, and rereading text. More instances like this would increase its value for these skill sets.

Outdoor exploration starts in the backyard and gradually moves to other areas: the country, city, forest, ocean, and space. One of the most interesting activities in the book includes “Around town,” a colorful map providing routes of each person to follow based on where they want to go in the city. The map even includes a key or legend for readers to interpret and use.

This book’s organization also suggests that it is intended to be read as both a story and as a reference book. It contains a table of contents and a brief index, the latter including another Teletubby character who briefly explains how to use it. It is also versatile because eight-year-old readers can also play a teaching role with this book when paired with younger readers for reading buddy programs.

My Big World is a big hit for exploring science with the help of fun fictional characters, colorful illustrations, and interactive learning activities.