Thinking Toolbox

Thinking Toolbox

Thirty-Five Lessons That will Build Your Reasoning Skills

by Nathaniel Bluedorn, Hans Bluedorn
Publisher: Christian Logic
Trade Paperback, 234 pages
Price: $32.00

See series description for full review.

Intended as a follow-up to The Fallacy Detective, The Thinking Toolbox can just as easily be used as a prequel. Focusing on the positive aspects of good reasoning rather than fallacies and mistakes, The Thinking Toolbox delineates between a discussion, an argument and a fight; introduces the basics of forming an argument; demonstrates the types and validity of evidence; and provides help for determining an arguer'strustworthiness, all for your students aged 13 and up.

35 short lessons can be read independently by the student, used in a classroom situation, or provided the basis for parent-child dialogue. (An online forum at allows users to post their own ideas for implementing the text.) Extensive exercise questions at the end of each lesson ensures kids are able to implement that they've learned; all answers are provided in the back of the book.

The text itself is moderately illustrated in black and white (none of the cartoons from The Fallacy Detective), but the Bluedorns write with wit and clarity that will appeal to most kids. Using the rubric ofsolving mysteries to confrontproblems in reasoning and logic, they provide the fundamentals of informal logic, emphasizing practical thinking and providing a foundation for formal logic study.

"Fun logic" sounds like an oxymoron to most people, but the Bluedorns do their best to make it a reality. Your students won't get bogged down in jargon, and the reasoning skills they develop have nearly universal practical applications so they won't forget the material right away because they've never had to implement it. If you want to teach your kids the difference between a modus ponens and a modus tollens you'll need to look elsewhere; but if you want to start them on the road to objective critical thinking from a Christian perspective, this is an excellent place to start.

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  The Thinking Toolbox Another Winner From Bluedorns
TammyA of Oregon, 4/13/2010
The Thinking Toolbox is another winning contribution to "logic for dummies" from the Bluedorns.

While not as in depth as their "Fallacy Detective," the "Thinking Toolbox" covers more breadth in concepts of general analytical thinking and the scientific it spends more time developing the differences between fact and opinion, valid evidence and unsubstantiated bias, and the proper use of statistics and facts.

While the Bluedorns state this book is a follow up book to the Fallacy Detective, I personally believe it is better used as a fits better to read The Thinking Toolbox first, then delve into the specific logic fallacies.

However way you do it...the Fallacy Detective then the Thinking Toolbox, or vice versa...both are engaging to read and essential contributions to the homeschooler's library to help develop crucial thinking skills for life.