Invertebrates Are Cool! / Slow Down and Be Here Now

Invertebrates Are Cool!
Nicola Davies and Abbie Cameron

In author Nicola Davies’s latest Animal Surprises book, she takes us in the company of a young naturalist, on an exploration of the world of bugs, mini-beasts and some sea creatures too. In case you are wondering what all these might have in common, it’s that every one of the animals featured lacks a backbone. First of all we get close up to some earthworms, find out how to make a simple wormery and watch the clever tunnellers at work. Next come the slitherers with slimy undersides – snails and slugs.

It’s strange to realise that these are cousins to cuttlefish, squid, nautilus and even more astonishingly, the octopus.

Beetles are the next focus; did you know there are more than 400, 000 different kinds? Some such as ladybirds will be familiar, but readers may not have encountered chafer beetles or the devil’s coach horse, both of which are featured in Nicola’s rhyming narrative and Abbie Cameron’s illustrations. The latter are sufficiently detailed to enable identification of the creatures and on some spreads readers are able to get right up close to the featured animal.

There’s a final ‘match the animal to its home’ puzzle. A book that’s likely to nurture children’s interest in the natural world and whet their appetites to get outdoors and explore.

Slow Down and Be Here Now
Laura Brand, illustrated by Freya Hartas
Magic Cat Publishing

The author presents twenty awe inspiring events that take place in the natural world, each of which is a captivating reason to do as the title says, to slow right down and to be fully in the present, immersed in an amazing wild life happening. It’s as though time has been suspended as she presents each of these ‘moments’ in its allocated double spread, including a harvest mouse building a nest, a snail retracting into its shell when threatened by a predator, a goldfinch extracting seeds from a dry teasel head

and a frog sating its hunger by catching and swallowing a fly. Thus the reader is able to watch each occasion when they so choose, as they savour the words and study carefully Freya Hartas’s delicately detailed, sequential illustrations, which include occasional gently humorous anthropomorphic enhancements.

The text itself comprises a mix of easily digestible paragraphs of information, an on-going narrative and captions to the illustrations.

Not all the nature moments could be observed at first hand but anyone who follows the suggestions on the ‘Come Into the Here and Now’ pages, will likely encounter some of these wonders or indeed, chance upon opportunities of their own to observe moments of joy, awe and wonder.

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