The Cranium Big Book of Outrageous Fun
Subtitle: The Write-it, Draw-it, Sculpt-it, Act-it Game-in-a-Book-in-a-Game
Illustrated by Baseman
Game concept by Cranium, Inc.
LB Kids, an imprint of Little Brown and Company, 2005
ISBN: 0316011932
$19.99 US
Children’s Book and Game
Ages 7 and Up
Publisher's Website:
More about Cranium:
Contact Reviewer:
Rating: 5 of 5

Cranium May be This Season's Smartest Gift-Toy-Book-Game

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, award-winning author of This is the Place, Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered and The Frugal Book Promoter and a chapbook of poetry called Tracings

This may be the most colorful, most useful, most fun little 10 x 10 near-cube a parent will ever run across. The Cranium Big Book of Outrageous Fun may also be the best 20 bucks they ever spent. It terms of entertainment. In terms of education. If I still had elementary kids living at home, I'd buy a half dozen or so of them and keep them on a closet shelf as a year's supply of birthday and Christmas gifts!

As a former teacher, I have always had a thing about education being fun. I also believe that children should think so, too. Ideally, they should be having so much fun at learning they won't know that they are being educated. This is the item that will do it. Billed as "The Write-it, Draw-it, Sculpt-it, Act-it Game-in-a-Book-in-a-Game," it includes a great guidebook full of fun stuff like maps and fascinating tidbits all beautifully put together with color tabs and great illustrations by Baseman. It also includes "Cranium Clay" for sculpting, a miniature hourglass timer, game cards, a spinner (that you can see through a cutout on the front of the box), an erasable marker, game pieces and game board and a marker in this toy/book's fave color, purple. How the publisher, LB Kids, stuffed all this into one box is part of the fun.

Cranium is suggested for kids seven and up. I'd say way up. It's been awhile since I did homework with kids. Some of this information was very good review for me, too. And there is no age limit on creativity.


Get Unstuck & Get Going
Subtitle: On the Stuff that Matters
By Michael Bungay Stanier
Design by Kyra Crilly
Box of Crayons, 2005
ISBN 0973642440
Website: www.BoxOfCrayons.Biz
Contact Reviewer: Carolyn Howard-Johnson at
Rating 5 of 5
Making Life Work For You!

Stylish Book Is an Example for Publishers Everywhere

Reviewed by Carolyn Howard-Johnson, “Back to Literature” columnist for and award-winning author of This is the Place and Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to do What Your Publisher Won’t and Tracings

One of the most stylish publishers of all time may be a small one in Toronto, Box of Crayons Press. Michael Bungay Stanier, a Rhodes Scholar, is a masterful personal coach. He dedicates his new book, Get Unstuck & Get Going, to Kyra Crilly who has put his ideas and love into a book that feels both motivational and spiritual.

What can I say? Unstuck is pure pleasure to work with. The feel of the paper, the neat little pouch inside the front cover that holds a book inside a book called the Little Green Book, a sort of irresistible "cheat sheet" and just enough information to whet your appetite and your understanding of what Stanier is about. Then comes the flip cards. It's like playing a game.

Often authors with tons of great ideas find a book just isn't big enough. Stanier uses a Website to extend his forum, to offer the help that might clutter up this presentation. This is logical because the Zen of the book is one of the reasons it works so well. Letting the book direct readers to the website is so innovative and smart that it may lead other authors and publishers to try something similar.

I'm not a coach and know very little about self-actualization. I can't discover a single flaw in this book but if a fellow coach found one, my retort would be, "It worked for me. I found I need to slow down and get stuck rather than unstuck--if only for a moment or two."

Once you have this book in your hands, you'll want to share it with everyone. It will be the gift that will give and keep giving.

Order it directly from Stainer at:

Tell him I sent you--with love.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s first novel THIS IS THE PLACE has won eight awards. Her book of creative nonfiction, HARKENING: A COLLECTION OF STORIES REMEMBERED, has won three. THE FRUGAL BOOK PROMOTER: HOW TO DO WHAT YOUR PUBLISHER WON'T is USA Book News' "Best Professional Book 2004" and may be found as an e-book at and in paperback at Amazon. Her new chapbook of poetry, TRACINGS, may be pre-ordered at .


inky Loves Nature: certified vegan skin and hair c

The Musician's PlaceTo Shop!
Instant Gift Certificates!

© 2001-2005 Issues Magazine.
All Rights Reserved.

Get 15 FREE prints!