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Book Review:
Net-mom's Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages

Net-mom’s Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages, 2002 edition, by Jean Armour Polly.587 pp.Osborne/McGraw Hill, 2002. $24.99.

Give this book to a curious child – or adult – and watch her take off on a safe, fascinating exploration of the internet. Long-time librarian and family internet specialist Jean Armour Polly has assembled an irresistable collection of web sites on topics ranging from codes and ciphers to Native Americans to treasure hunting. This appealing, well-designed guide, appropriately printed on yellow paper, includes descriptions of more than 3500 educational and entertaining websites especially suitable for children from preschool through high school.

Net-mom’s Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages includes site descriptions alphabatized by subject, a table of contents perfect for browsing, a detailed index and hotlists of top sites. Net-mom’s fifteen year old son weighs in with Son-of-Net-mom’s favorite sites, including the Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy original adventure game and tasty insect recipes, as well as safety tips about protecting privacy, avoiding chain letters and viruses, and identifying hoaxes. The lively paragraph-long website descriptions are aimed at school-aged readers. Stare mark entries of special merit, and a rubber ducky icon denotes sites for suitable for preschoolers. Website descriptions are interspersed with yellow page-like “display ads” posing questions like “who invented the first pretzel?” The answer, and the address of a pertinent website, are printed upside down.

The hazard of any web directory is the impermanence of websites and web addresses. Polly tracks address changes for websites mentioned in the book and posts them on her website, www.netmom.com.

Net-mom’s Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages is a great homework helper and boredom buster for internet-connected kids, and it’s a terrific resource for teachers and parents. Very highly recommended.

–Elsa Travisano
Copyright ©2002 by Elsa Travisano. This article originally appeared in the March 2002 issue of Newsbreak, the newsletter of MUG ONE - Macintosh User Group of Oneonta, NY.