Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: The How-To Handbook Shortcuts and Solutions for the Problems of Everyday Life by Martin Oliver, Alexandra Johnson


Whether you plan on spending your life playing sports, serving clients, running businesses, or flying to the moon, there are certain things that everyone just has to know how to do: unjamming a jar, for instance, fixing a flat tire, and removing a particularly embarrassing stain. They may seem simple in retrospect, but you don’t have to turn all your laundry pink more than once before you learn that it’s best just to get things right the first time. The How-To Handbook packs over 50 essential life skills into one handy reference book, and uses dozens of illustrations to show readers the very best ways to:
Thread a needle
Pitch a tent
Tie a tie
Treat a bee sting
Chop an onion…and much, much more!

I remember reading several how-to guide books for kids when I was younger so I thought I would give this one a try as well.

In The How-to Handbook, kids get to learn skills such as tying a tie and how to take great photos. For some of the topics, there are only tips, while for others, there are detailed how-tos with illustrations for kids to follow.

Compared to the old books I used to read, I felt like this book covers more practical topics, although the older books had more variety and were more detailed.

Some of the tips here feel a little bit like common sense, such as how to prepare for a test (don't cram the night before, get a good night's sleep, etc.), but other stuff are truly useful such as how to tie a tie and how to remove a stubborn lid from a jar.

This book is definitely meant for kids, and while I already knew majority of the things discussed (thanks to my parents who made sure I had plenty of life skills), I was still able to learn or relearn a number of things. For example, I always forget how to tie a tie since I don't really use them, but it always seems like a good skill to have anyway. The book gives a detailed guide on how to get it done.

Thanks to NetGalley and Zest Books for the e-ARC.


  1. The topics are practical.
  2. There are detailed steps to some of the more crucial skills.
  3. The language is easy enough for young kids to understand.


  1. Some of the topics feel like common-sense stuff.

Here's how to wash them and eliminate lingering germs so your hands will be squeaky clean - even if you aren't performing open heart surgery.

  1. You want to teach your child some life skills but don't know where to start.
  2. You don't have the time to teach your kid all the things he might need to know to be independent.
  3. Your child likes how-to guides.




Note: This post contains Amazon and Book Depository affiliate links.

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