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I think I've posted about these before, but it was before I changed usernames, and it went poof 🙂 . 

Anyway, we've been getting a real kick out of this series: 

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/series/5TG/the-thrifty-guides

The conceit here is that you're a time traveler from the 22nd century, and you've purchased this book as a guide to help you navigate some society of the past. It therefore gives you a lot of information about the world and lots of suggestions about how to manage in it. 

So, for example, some of the sections have titles like "Looking Fabulous in Imperial Rome" and "Public Bathrooms" 😂. On the one hand, it's the kind of thing that appeals to little kids... and on the other hand, it really is pointing out interesting differences between our society and an ancient society, and those kinds of differences are likely to stick in kids' heads. 

We're pretty unschooly about our content, so I'll admit that we've been reading these for our reading aloud history time. They are really snarky and funny, but they are also much less disorganized and piecemeal than the Horrible Histories series (which we also have), and I do feel like the kids are getting a good broad overview of the time periods we're reading about. For example, DD8 can definitely summarize Julius Caesar's life quite accurately now that we've finished the Rome book. 

A characteristic paragraph from the Rome book that my kids wanted me to keep coming back to: 

"Helpful Hints: How to pilot a horse. 

A horse is a grass-powered locomotion device.

1. Fly onto the horse using your antigravity boots. 

2. Look down and you will see four spindly appendages with hooves at the bottom. Those are the horse's propellers. 

3. The horse's start button is located in its "flanks." Press it with your heels. The harder you press, the faster the horse will go. 

4. The horse's controls are a metal bit located inside its mouth. You control this joystick with reins. 

5. The horse's brakes are engaged by yanking on the reins. If all else fails, you can stop the horse by transporting it into a swamp." 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Oh that's a riot. The snark level definitely fits my ds.

It is SO snarky. Occasionally, it has references that go over my kids' heads (closer to teenage humor), but then it also has things like reviews for the Roman Colosseum from the lion, who complains that he only got to eat one family 😛 . So, plenty for the littler crowd. 

And my kids are definitely learning things, too! I hope the guy who writes these comes out with more 😄 . Right now, there are only 4. 

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, drjuliadc said:

Those sound awesome. Thank you for retrieving them from poofland.

Lol at poofland! 

I think this is a better thread than the last one I started about it, too, because that was before we got really into the series 🙂 . Last time, I posted asking whether people have used it, and got a "no, but looks cool." I didn't realize how new these were when I started that thread!

Edited by Not_a_Number
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  • 3 weeks later...

Bumping to say I bought the Greece Thrifty Guide because of this thread, and it looks great.  Odd as it sounds, I read the preface, "legal disclaimer" etc to my kids over dinner - those are all time travel themed too - and they were in stitches, even my history hater.  This will be popular bedtime reading in my house 🙂

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Oooo, Oldest would probably enjoy this and I've been racking my brain and scouting the internet for some fun reading books to go between our more serious lit books next year that will be read alongside the first half of world history. Thanks for posting. 

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2 hours ago, Servant4Christ said:

Oooo, Oldest would probably enjoy this and I've been racking my brain and scouting the internet for some fun reading books to go between our more serious lit books next year that will be read alongside the first half of world history. Thanks for posting. 

Let me know how it goes!! 🙂 

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I don't know if it would suit, but Ken Jennings writes Junior Genius Guides and has one for Ancient Egypt.  My kid hated the Thrifty Guides but loves Ken Jenning's work.

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24 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I don't know if it would suit, but Ken Jennings writes Junior Genius Guides and has one for Ancient Egypt.  My kid hated the Thrifty Guides but loves Ken Jenning's work.

Aw, sorry he hated them!! What didn’t he like?

I’ll look up the Junior Genius Guides — thanks for the recommendation!

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35 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

I don't know if it would suit, but Ken Jennings writes Junior Genius Guides and has one for Ancient Egypt.  My kid hated the Thrifty Guides but loves Ken Jenning's work.

Thank you. I just looked up the Medieval Thrifty Guide and these don't appear to be quite what I was hoping for. Very funny but not enough info to satisfy my bookworm. I wasn't aware of the Jr Genius Guides by Ken Jennings but I'll look them up.

31 minutes ago, caffeineandbooks said:

There's an American Revolution one too...

I saw that, but I think we've beat the American Revolution to death around here. 😂

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Just now, Servant4Christ said:

Thank you. I just looked up the Medieval Thrifty Guide and these don't appear to be quite what I was hoping for. Very funny but not enough info to satisfy my bookworm. I wasn't aware of the Jr Genius Guides by Ken Jennings but I'll look them up.

Yeah, they aren't factoid-heavy -- more like narrative-heavy. My kids and I are both much more into fiction than non-fiction, so the way they are written work well for us, because they tell stories. So it coheres better in our heads. 

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9 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Aw, sorry he hated them!! What didn’t he like?

I’ll look up the Junior Genius Guides — thanks for the recommendation!

He likes straightforward humor and high level of facts.  He's pretty deep into the American Revolution, and when his book club assigned The Thrifty Guide he was horrified. Not what he was expecting and it ruined the rest for him. However, he likes the Catastrophic Science series, Time Traveler Guide, Horrible Histories, Newspaper series, You Wouldn't Want To Be..
Sometimes he's just a weird kid. 😄 We don't often have the same ideas of "fun", so I'm always on the hunt for something we'll both like, or at the very least something decently interesting for me that he'll love.

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

Yeah, they aren't factoid-heavy -- more like narrative-heavy. My kids and I are both much more into fiction than non-fiction, so the way they are written work well for us, because they tell stories. So it coheres better in our heads. 

Ah, Oldest wants a good overview without much violence or gore; not an easy feat in ancients.

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Posted (edited)
3 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

He likes straightforward humor and high level of facts. 

Ah yeah, whereas my kids are big fiction readers, aren't into facts at all and are both terribly snarky... just like their parents 😂

 

Quote

He's pretty deep into the American Revolution, and when his book club assigned The Thrifty Guide he was horrified. Not what he was expecting and it ruined the rest for him. However, he likes the Catastrophic Science series, Time Traveler Guide, Horrible Histories, Newspaper series, You Wouldn't Want To Be..

My kids like the Horrible Histories as well, but I really can't stand reading them myself! So I'm glad that they get that out of the way. Although whenever I ask DD8 if she learned anything from it, she says she only reads for the funny bits... 

I should get the "You Wouldn't Want To Be..." books. I keep seeing them recommended, and then I keep not getting them because we run out of bookshelf space before I get around to it. 

 

Quote

Sometimes he's just a weird kid. 😄 We don't often have the same ideas of "fun", so I'm always on the hunt for something we'll both like, or at the very least something decently interesting for me that he'll love.

Makes sense! 

Edited by Not_a_Number
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2 hours ago, Not_a_Number said:

then I keep not getting them because we run out of bookshelf space before I get around to it. 

This is a continuous problem here too. How many walls can you put bookshelves on, anyway?  
 

These look like fun books, I will see if I can find them at the library. This helps a bit, but there are some our library does not carry (e.g., Harry Potter in Welsh).

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Just now, Eilonwy said:

This is a continuous problem here too. How many walls can you put bookshelves on, anyway?  

All the ones that don't contain IKEA cubes, I think 😉 . 

Also, hello! I rarely see you outside my math threads, lol. 

 

Just now, Eilonwy said:

These look like fun books, I will see if I can find them at the library. This helps a bit, but there are some our library does not carry (e.g., Harry Potter in Welsh).

Oooh, why Harry Potter in Welsh? 

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6 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

All the ones that don't contain IKEA cubes, I think 😉 . 

Also, hello! I rarely see you outside my math threads, lol. 

Exceptions for windows?

Hey there, I mainly like to talk about math...and occasionally books & foreign languages...

9 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

Oooh, why Harry Potter in Welsh? 

I’m trying to learn Welsh, and there is a Welsh translation of the first book, but it is too odd for the local library, alas. Stories are great for learning vocabulary, though that’s off topic, really. 

Fortunately, the library does have some of the Thrifty guides, so that is not too odd, and already on hold.

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13 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

Exceptions for windows?

Well, yes, and places for couches and tables and really lots of other stuff. But we do have a whole lot of cube storage and bookshelves! 

 

13 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

I’m trying to learn Welsh, and there is a Welsh translation of the first book, but it is too odd for the local library, alas. Stories are great for learning vocabulary, though that’s off topic, really. 

Ah, neat! 

 

13 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

Fortunately, the library does have some of the Thrifty guides, so that is not too odd, and already on hold.

Cool! You can check whether they look appealing through the Amazon "Look inside" function, if you like. 

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On 4/19/2021 at 9:33 PM, Not_a_Number said:

Well, yes, and places for couches and tables and really lots of other stuff. But we do have a whole lot of cube storage and bookshelves! 

My in-laws blocked up a door to put bookshelves in place on both sides. Another door that opened had a bookshelf above the doorframe. Lots of possibilities!

Also, Thrifty guide medieval arrived and it’s a hit, thanks for the suggestion. 

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19 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

My in-laws blocked up a door to put bookshelves in place on both sides. Another door that opened had a bookshelf above the doorframe. Lots of possibilities!

I have to admit that I've considered doing things like that. 

 

19 minutes ago, Eilonwy said:

Also, Thrifty guide medieval arrived and it’s a hit, thanks for the suggestion. 

I'm glad!! Let me know if you get any of the others 😄 . We're currently in the medieval one ourselves. 

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