National Geographic Kids Absolute Expert Series: Dolphins, Dinosaurs, Socccer & Volcanoes, 110pp, RL 4

Absolute Expert: Dolphins 
with National Geographic Explorer Justine Jackson-Ricketts, 
written by Jennifer Swanson
Absolute Expert: Dinosaurs 
with National Geographic Explorer Steve Brusatte, 
written by Lela Nargi
Absolute Expert: Soccer 
with professional referee Mark Geiger, 
written by Eric Zweig
Absolute Expert: Volcanoes 
with National Geographic Explorer Arianna Soldati, 
written by Lela Nargi

With their expected degree of attention to detail and stacks of facts, National Geographic Kids delivers a new series of books that feature field guides in the form of experts in the topic at hand.  Each expert, from a marine biologist and paleontologist to a referee officiating games in American Major League soccer and a researcher of volcanology and petrology (the study of the composition of rocks), introduces herself and himself in the foreword, sharing the spark that inspired their passion and the focus of their work today. Over the course of four chapters, about twenty-five pages each, the experts introduce themselves and then the topic for each chapter, giving readers context and perspective. Fact chunks in every chapter break up the pages and prevent information overload for readers who, these days, are used to fast moving, graphic laden content, thanks to mass consumption of online content.

Being a sport rather than a science, Absolute Expert: Soccer provides a pertinent angle on the most popular sport in the world, but not in the United States. Starting with the basic rules of the game, Zweig explores the origins of the game, moving on to soccer around the world and, of course, FIFA and the World Cup. The final chapter focuses on soccer in North America, including a few brief pages on women's soccer and an encouragement to readers to, "Get in the game!"

National Geographic Kids' Absolute Expert series is the perfect book for all ages, but especially for newly independent readers looking to explore non-fiction topics. The trim size is small (smaller than a picture book) and not intimidating. And, of course, the visuals, from the fonts, graphics and photographs, are fantastic. 

Source: Review Copies

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