This recent little great book – admittedly – has a few very serious strikes against it: major flaws that seriously get in the way of its more widespread and in many ways deserved success…

First, there is its cryptic, localized (UK+EU), uninspiring title (at least on this side of the Big Pond, most teachers have no idea what dual coding is, and why anyone should give a flying zip about it – to put it politely); then, there is its absolutely positively obnoxiously horrible red ink that overpowers almost every page in both the print and e-book edition (see iPad screenshot below) and – combined with high doses of reversed white-on-red minuscule text used with reckless abandon (see image below) – makes one’s eyes bleed (I could NOT resist this high drama description!); finally – to add true insult to already grievous injury – its Kindle version is not just a fixed layout e-pub (which I kind of expected in a book so heavily designed/illustrated, and could live with), but it’s actually all-images-only, with no (searchable) text at all… Yuck.

So how did it get included on this very, very short list of my all-time-favorites, with all this excessive drama of the paragraph above, you may ask? It turns out that If you persevere, and actually squint beyond the dull title, bloody ink, and image-only kindle pages, you will discover this marvel of marvels, with its almost endless repository of brilliant ideas for teaching, all supported with logical, substantive, well documented, and oh-so-skillfully and enviably-concisely summarized research. Make no mistake: looking at the image below, it may look like it’s all suitable for first-graders (and it probably is), but take my word for it: these ideas work just as well (or even better) with college undergrads, PhD students, and continuing-ed professionals. For now, until we get an improved, second edition, hopefully soon, my advice is – if you have an iPad available – get the ($9.99) ebook version (you can pinch-out to zoom in – no need for squinting!), and then, when you sit-down for a few hours to actually read it, do your eyes a favor and go to (iOS 13) Settings > Accessibility > Display & Text Size > Color Filters > Toggle on > Grayscale. 🙂 Then you can sigh with relief, and sort of actually enjoy it (and see for yourself how much better it is in grayscale).

Read (and see) more and explore some of these great ideas on Oliver Caviglioli’s website, where he generously shares some of the ideas and graphics under CC license, at:

This book makes a perfect “visible thinking” set with two more of my recommended books – read on….

Caviglioli: So Brilliantly Annoying