Your Fantastic Elastic Brain: Stretch It, Shape It
by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., illustrated by Sarah Ackerley

Little Pickle Press, 2010. ISBN 978-0-982-99380-4.
Reviewed by Laura Strathman Hulka
Posted on 04/29/2011

Younger Readers

Your Fantastic Elastic Brain is the first children's book published by the esteemed educator and psychologist, Dr. JoAnn Deak. It is a delight to read, and to read aloud to your children or grandchildren. In the company of a tiny owl and a tiny mouse, (think Goldbug in the Richard Scarry books!) the child in your life will not even realize they are learning so much about the human brain.

Within these pages, (printed by Little Pickle Press, on an environmentally sound product called TerraSkin, a new paper made from stone,) you will find clever analogies, pronunciation guides, definitions and illustrated details on the brain and its parts.

Not sure how to spell or pronounce amygdala? Or what it does? No problem, the words and pictures in this clever book will make it easy for adults and children alike to see, say and understand our amygdala... and our cerebrum, cerebellum, hippocampus and more.

The book explains to our children, in easily understood language, pictures and concepts, what the brain is all about, so that an 8-year-old boy could learn much about his skills, his abilities and his potential. And a 6-year-old girl could learn, and appreciate, that she is not the only one who makes mistakes when she tries to learn something new because "making mistakes is one of the best ways your brain learns and grows."

For the younger crowd, four to six year olds, this is the perfect reading time book for parents and grandparents to share. For the early readers, this book will be delightful in the new words and concepts the child can absorb AND understand while reading to themselves. This reviewer even found a somewhat sneaky way to get a ten-year-old to read the book—I encouraged him to read it to his five-year-old cousin!

Reading something good for their self-esteem, teaching appreciation and perception of what goes on between their ears is a terrific way to encourage children to learn and grow. After all, isn't that what our "job" as parents and grandparents encompasses? Helping children become the best "me" they can be! Kudos also goes to the publisher, Little Pickle Press, for taking a strong environmental stand in producing beautiful, lasting children's books. Publishing books with recycled paper, soy inks and green packaging, they are putting their dollars where it counts.

JoAnn Deak, Ph.D., is an author and international speaker, educator and preventive psychologist. She also works with parents, teachers and other adults who work with chidren as a consultant to schools worldwide on issues of brain development and gender equity.

Illustrator Sarah Ackerley earned her BFA from University of Texas at Austin in 2004. She currrently works as an illustrator in Los Altos California.

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