Christmas Book Review: 250 Fascinating Facts About LDS Temples
Welcome to the Exponent Book Review Series and Cyber Monday Giveaway!
Over this week and ending on Cyber Monday, we will share our thoughts on books that we think you should consider as possible Christmas gifts for yourself and others! As in the past, everyone who comments on a post will be entered into the draw to win a copy of one of the books that we have reviewed! (Choice of electronic or hard copies in the domestic US, digital copies outside of this area). Your comment on each post gives you one entry (multiple comments on the same post will not give you additional entries.) This year, we are adding comments on the Book Review posts shared on the Exponent Facebook page in addition to comments on the blog.
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Guest Post by Lanabean
When my son says, “I have a question,” my typical response is, “just one?” Spoiler: it’s never just one. It’s a never-ending litany of questions on everything imaginable. We gave him a Google Home for his birthday last year just so that we could tell him to “go ask Google” when we’re about fifty questions deep. This is the kind of kid that wants to know the minutia of everything, so when I began reading “250 Fascinating Facts about LDS Temples,” he was the first person I thought of. This is definitely a book for the trivia aficionado in your family.
Written by Rebekah Pitts, this book is formatted and similar in nature to the many other iterations of “101 Facts About” books that are so popular right now. The colors are vibrant, the font varied, and the layout is scrapbooked in nature. Each page contains one to a few tidbits on temples that kids (or adults) would probably not even think to ask about, but definitely wanted to know retroactively.
To test the range of the book, I had all four of my kids read it as well. The children range in age from six to twelve years old. My six year old was the only one who was not particularly interested. She made it about 40 pages in before she walked away. For reference, had it been a Junie B. Jones book, she would have gone on for another fifty pages at least. I suspect in another year or two she will find it more interesting. The eight, ten, and twelve year olds all thoroughly enjoyed the book. My eight year old is the one who must know everything about everything, so it did not surprise me that he enjoyed the book. My ten year old expressed that, while she doesn’t typically care all that much about this style of book, she found this one very interesting. My twelve year old was surprisingly fascinated by it. I was concerned that he would find it too juvenile, but in the end I had to ask him to please stop reading out loud and yelling, “WHOA” as it was disturbing everyone else in the house. His favorite facts were the numbers based variety, such as how many guinea pigs a capstone weighs.
So let’s break it down.
Who this book is for: It is clearly geared towards children, but it could still be appreciated by the trivia junkie, the temple adorer, the adult who likes collecting books for the kids in his/her life, or the adult that still finds joy in the simplicity of children’s books. My kids all agreed that this would be a good book to find at a grandparent’s house or in the church bag. Though my three eldest read it in one sitting, it is the kind of book that can easily be flipped through and read in pieces from anywhere in the book. This would also make a great gift for a child who is getting baptized, or possibly even a youth about to turn 12 and go into the temple for the first time. One of my kids thought this would make a great Christmas present, and another said it *might* be a good present, but was concerned that it would replace all the toys otherwise received. These are very real concerns. We must tread carefully where toys are at stake.
Who this book may not be for: While the majority of the facts contained in the book are provable in nature and therefore meet the qualifications for the standard definition of a fact, there are some faith based claims in the book, as well. For example, one of the first facts in the book is “there is a temple in heaven.” While such statements won’t bother most members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they might prove an irritant for a more nuanced member, a person not of our faith, or even someone who is very committed to terminology and/or keeping science and religion within their own spheres. Additionally, while many of the facts are truly random in nature, such as the percentage of temples that are exactly 10,700 square feet in size, there are enough facts that are definitively pro-temple that this book may agitate a sore spot for those who have a troubled relationship with the temple.
Overall, this is a fun, unique, colorful book that is worth checking out. I personally think it lends itself to a physical copy, but if you prefer the digital version, I would definitely recommend reading it on a color device as much is lost on a strictly black and white e-reader.
Lanabean is a tired mom who likes cuddling with her cats but spends most of her time in the car driving children around. She thinks longingly of chocolate and naps.