Master-Mind: Over 100 Games, Tests and Puzzles to Unleash Your Inner Genius



Some of the most delightful books out there are the ones that dazzle your mind and sharpen your fuzzy brain at the same time. Master-Mind: Over 100 Games, Tests and Puzzles to Unleash Your Inner Genius, by Stephanie Warren Drimmer, is one of those books.

Master-Mind is National Geographic Kids at its finest. It is MC’d by the bun-and-spectacle-wearing, somewhat-diabolical Ms. Ima Genius, who leads ‘tweens ages 8 to 12 on a grande test-taking, puzzle-solving adventure to unleash the genius within.

The book is divided into nine chapters that explore vision, the senses, hearing, movement, language, spatial reasoning, homework and problem-solving. This may all sound a bit stale and clinical, but this book is anything but. There are fun facts about everything from the amount of electricity in your brain (enough to power a lightbulb!) to figuring out what type of genius you are (i.e., logical like Marie Curie, a word wizard like Shakespeare, or a creative champion like Leonardo Da Vinci).

There are realistic pictures of the pink and wrinkled human brain, explanations of what each side of the brain does, examples of how the brain interprets what the eye (visual cortex) sees, and demonstrations of color-blindness and even dog vision. And all the while this information is whizzing by with each turn of the page, snarky Ms. Ima Genius is saying hilarious things, like, “Oh, you’re still here..Before I start whipping your piddling brain into shape, I’d better see what I’m working with.” (P. 10).

Any ‘tween who has ever wondered how memory works (P. 128), how critters communicate (P. 114), how to read body language (P. 121) or what in the world the phrase “Taxi Brain” means (P. 96), should be in heaven as he or she reads this book. There are time trial puzzles, “Test Your S.M.A.R.T.S.” challenges, and inserts about why a kid and his or her mom might possibly remember the same memory differently.

This book is packed from front to back with amazingly “brainy” information. And for the reader who gives the challenges his or her all, there is even a Certificate of Mental Achievement that can be completed with name and date. The prose is definitely designed for the upper elementary student, but the pictures–which are a hilarious blend of realistic photographs and cartoonish drawings–are fun for the entire family.

This keepsake should do well in science, English, creative thinking, and language courses alike. Enjoy!


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