Illumibugs Carnovsky and Barbara Taylor Wide Eyed Editions
With an engaging text written by Barbara Taylor, who was at one time Science Editor at the Natural History Museum in London, and art from the same design duo as Illuminature and Illumisaurus comes another fascinating look at the natural world. Readers will be able to discover 180 minibeasts from various parts of the world using the magic three colour lens. The red lens shows insects, through the green you see plants and the blue shows (rather less clearly) other creepy crawlies.
There are seven regional sections, first North America, followed by Europe, Asia, Australasia, Central and South America, Africa and the Arctic. These are followed by a look at underwater bugs and finally, prehistoric bugs. I was surprised to read that there are 18, 000 butterfly species but even more astonished to learn that there are 12.000 species of millipedes in the world.
Each of the main sections is presented in a similar fashion – first a spread that includes the important environmental and survival information and a fact box relating to the region, an observation deck showing the minibeasts among vegetation waiting to be revealed,
– and lastly, a black and white double spread giving diagrams of insect species and other creepy crawlies (with a brief paragraph about each). This includes a search and find element that sends you back to the ‘observation deck’ to spot the minibeasts through the appropriate coloured lens. Purists will note that the insects depicted on the ‘observation deck’ are not drawn to scale. Just in case you forget to replace the viewing lens in the front cover pocket, there’s a QR code at the back of the book that enables you to access the same feature on your phone.
This large format book offers hours of immersive enjoyment for readers of all ages from KS1 up, especially those with an interest in nature.
It Starts With a Seed
Laura Knowles and Jennie Webber
Words & Pictures
Sometimes I open a parcel and just know I’m going to love a book before I’ve even got inside the cover. Such a one is this and as the title says It Starts With a Seed – a sycamore seed.
In this gorgeous book Laura Knowles’ rhyming narrative takes us on a journey – a journey through days, weeks, months, seasons and years as we follow the growth of that seed from the time it falls to earth right through until it’s a mature tree – fully formed with its own ecosystem. Jenny Webber’s delicate, detailed illustrations show every stage of the tree’s development from seedling …
to sapling to the ‘leaf-laden, bark-bound arboreal home’ to the plethora of insects, birds and mammals that live therein.
What I love so much about this book though is the sense of awe and wonder it’s likely to engender in those who read or listen to its lyrical words and pore over its painterly portrayals of the natural world. Such a superb way to embody a fair amount of information and the whole narrative is presented again on the front of a gatefold finale that opens to show seasonal changes to the leaf and flower and provide additional information such as ‘A sycamore’s small flowers grown in clusters known as racemes’ and ‘A sycamore can grow 35 metres tall’ – wow! And all from one tiny seed.
A book to buy and to keep, a book to share and a book to give: it’s perfect for autumnal reading but equally, it’s one to be returned to often, at home or in the classroom.
Laura Knowles has also has co-written
Matthew Morgan & Laura Knowles
Essentially this is a visual introduction to some of the riches of the natural world to be found in the British Isles from frogs to fruits …
and fishes to fungi.
Rachel Williams and Carnovsky
Wide Eyed Editions
This is an awesome look at over 180 animals and the plethora of plants that inhabit ten of the world’s very different environments from the Congo Rainforest to Loch Lomond and from the Californian Redwood Forest to the Ganges River Basin.
Awesome because, thanks to the three-coloured lens (included in a pocket at the front of the book) readers are able to get three different views. Look through the red lens and you see the diurnal animals, the blue lens will show nocturnal and crepuscular creatures and the green lens reveals each habitat’s plant life.
Each habitat is allocated six pages – two ‘viewing’ spreads, one giving key facts about the place and a textless “observation deck’ …
followed by a black and white one –
a ‘species guide’ that provides more detailed information on the particular animals featured in the coloured scenes. I foresee squabbles arising over this one.