Title: i before e (except after c): Easy, Cool Ways to Remember Facts
Author: Susan Randol
Publisher: Reader’s Digest- I Wish I Knew That Books

Remember back in school when we were learning about the planets, and our teachers gave us that little mnemonic device “My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Us Nice Pickles”? At least, that’s the one I got. I’m sure there are dozens of variations on it. Of course, now mother can’t serve us pickles anymore because poor Pluto got demoted (I am and always will be bitter about this!). But the point is, we had little sentences for just about everything we needed to remember, and it really helped a lot of kids not fail tests. In i before e, except after c: Easy, Cool Ways to Remember Facts  “I Wish I Knew That Books”, you’ll find tons of mnemonic devices to help you and your children remember just about anything.  Like the other books in the series, this one is geared towards middle-school kids, but is infinitely useful for all ages.

Aside from the basics, like the planets (including largest to smallest, gaseous planets, and more information than I was ever taught about the giant pieces of rock), the Great Lakes (remember HOMES), and countries around the world, you’ll also learn how to remember such facts as the parts of speech and punctuation. My favorite part, however, is the “Spelling Demons” section.

On the one hand, I have a hard time remembering how to spell certain words, especially tomorrow and beginning, because I can never remember where the double letter goes. On the other hand, it drives me completely bonkers when people misuse certain words, like “except” vs. “accept.” I know I’m not perfect, so I only cringe inwardly when I see my pet peeves, because I’m not one to talk, but I love that this book covers all the major issues in fun and easy-to-recall ways. Like for the word “attendance,” the author suggests remembering that “your attenDANCE is required at the DANCE.”

One of the best features of this book and others in the series is that the author gets right into the subject without dilly-dallying or giving long explanations about how or why the devices work. The entire book is filled with actual information, no fluff, no nonsense. I highly recommend it to anyone who has trouble remembering the things like “Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species” or any other hard-to-remember facts that we don’t really use every day, and some that we do need on a regular basis (like “a lot” is TWO words, people!!).