Scratch and Learn: Human Body / The Great Big Book of Life

Scratch and Learn: Human Body
Katy Flint and Ana Seixas
Wide Eyed Editions

I’ve loved some of the EtchArt books from Quarto but this is the first science title I’ve seen, essentially an introduction to how the human body works.

It comprises two main elements: ‘Scratch to Discover’ where the reader uses the stylus to find ten things on each of the seven spreads: the skeleton, muscles,

organs, eating and digestion, the senses, the brain

and, lungs and heart.

Then there are activities – one per spread – to demonstrate how different parts of the body function. For example the muscle-related one says, ‘With your palm facing up, touch your thumb and little finger together. This shows one of your flexor tendons working in your wrist.’

There’s also an invitation to play a search-and-find memory game.

Each topic has an introductory paragraph and some also include additional bite-size snippets of information.

Spencer investigating the skeleton

Graphic designer/illustrator Ana Seixas brings a gentle humour to the pages of this fun, interactive book to use at home that is relevant to the KS1 science curriculum.

The Great Big Book of Life
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

The 6th in The Great Big Book of … series looks at life from conception and birth to death and memories.

The early years are allocated several spreads – infant physical development,

sleep, feeding, staying healthy, learning to use the loo and how language develops.

Subsequent topics are school (including home schooling), the teenage years, work, partners,

the middle years, old age, death and finally a spread advocating living life to the full no matter who we are, which includes thinking of other people as well as ourselves.

As in previous team Hoffman and Asquith titles, diversity is a key element. Mary’s light-hearted narrative style combined with Ros’s wonderfully witty illustrations make for an informal and explicit read.

A book to add to your home or school collection.

Not My Hats! / The Great Big Book of Friends

Not My Hats!
Tracy Gunaratnam and Alea Marley
Maverick Arts Publishing

Polar Bear Hettie has an absolute passion for hats, no matter their shape or size Hettie loves to wear them.

Imagine her reaction then as she sits fishing one day when Puffin happens along desirous of a hat. “I’ll share my lollies, my dollies, my books and my brollies, my flippers and my slippers and I’ll even share my kippers … but I’ll never, ever share my HATS,” she tells him in no uncertain terms.

On account of sudden hunger pangs, Puffin settles for the kippers and disappears.

She repeats this litany again when Puffin reappears and this time fobs him off with slippers on account of his chilly tootsies.

Before long Hettie has dozed off dreaming of hat heaven when who should wake her but a certain black and white bird.

On this occasion Puffin suggests swapsies proffering items from his backpack, each of which is resoundingly refused until he suggests a scarf.

Now there’s a possibility: perhaps Hettie could spare the odd titfa after all.

With its plethora of outrageous headwear, this delightfully daft tale that moves in and out of rhyme, demonstrates that language is fun, sharing is best and friendship better than standoffishness.

Friendship is also explored in this non-fiction book:

The Great Big Book of Friends
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

Friendship is the theme of the fifth book in Hoffman and Asquith’s Great Big Book series. Herein the book’s creators explore many aspects of the topic starting by asking ‘What is a friend?’ They then go on to look at best friends, friendship groups, what might be shared, difference, pen friends, imaginary friends, objects that can act as friends such as a favourite toy or comforter,

More difficult ideas including falling out, and losing a friend, are also included, as is ‘How many friends?’
Each sub topic is given a double spread and is amusingly illustrated with Ros Asquith’s signature cartoon-style artwork.
With its chatty style and inclusive illustrations, this is a good book to explore with a class or group as part of a PSHE theme.

Pirate Baby

Pirate Baby
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Otter-Barry Books

Yo ho ho! me hearties, there’s a brand new crew a’sailin’ on the high seas and we all love a good pirate yarn. This one though is altogether different and an absolute humdinger.
The crew of the Ramshackle are more than a little discombobulated when they discover a bawling baby bobbing about on a raft;

all the more so when they find out that the object they’re trying their level best to feed is actually a girl baby.

That’s only the start of their adventures however. The crew become the owners of a nanny-goat which they aptly name Nana; very useful when it comes to providing nourishment for the babe. Spoons the cook turns his hand to stitching nappies and other baby attire; and Red Bart the bosun even makes the infant a toy squid from a pair of old gloves.

None of your stereotypical pirates these.
As time passes and the babe, now named Isla, becomes mobile, the pirates, bothered by their lack of piratical action, resolve to plunder the next ship they spy. They think better of their plan though, when they discover the crew is all women.
Then an enormous sea monster looms up from the deep. The crew fear for their ship and their lives; and it’s Isla who saves the day with a truly selfless deed.
Thereafter, she’s recognised as “a true Pirate Baby” with a dazzling piratical future to look forward to.
No pirate crew is really complete without a parrot and a cat; these vital bit parts are admirably played here by McSquark and ship’s moggy, Plunderpuss.
Who better than Ros Asquith to bring out the humour of Mary Hoffman’s salty story? Awash with chucklesome details, her jaunty, swashbuckling scenes are set fair to create a splash with landlubbers young and not so young. A real treasure.

I’ve signed the charter  

The Great Big Body Book

The Great Big Body Book
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Everybody has a body and every body is different: this fact is acknowledged and celebrated in the latest Great Big book from the Hoffman/Asquith team.
Starting from those of babies, they introduce young readers to the bodies of new- borns …

toddlers, children, teenagers and adults, young, middle aged and old.
Spreads focus on such topics as gender in ‘Boy or Girl’ wherein it’s good to see ‘… a few don’t feel completely comfortable in the body they were born in and not everybody fits neatly into a “boy” or “girl” box. That’s OK – just be yourself!’
No matter which of the seventeen spreads one explores, we encounter both visual and verbal examples of the overarching premise that ‘bodies are both similar and different:’ We are all more alike than different’ one speech bubble reminds us: moreover we all develop at different rates and some are better at doing one thing than others;

but we all learn an amazing amount throughout our lives.

Emotions, as well as the physical aspects of bodies without and within, are considered and there’s a feline intruder that appears in every spread comparing and contrasting humans and cats.
Ros Asquith’s cartoon style illustrations are amusing, empathetic and all encompassing.
You really couldn’t get more inclusive than this book when it comes to the topic of bodies. It’s just right for sharing and discussing at home or in school.

I’ve signed the charter  

The Big Green Book

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The Great Big Green Book
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
We all know that green issues are of vital importance for our planet and it’s never too early to introduce some of the ideas about conservation to young children. Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith who gave us The Great Big Book of Feelings and The Great Big Book of Families now add a third title to their admirable series. Herein, with the help of their characters young and not so young – not to mention that striped marmalade cat – they present a straightforward outline of what the earth has to offer its inhabitants, what is needed to preserve life on earth and ways in which we can all play our part in conservation and preventing further degradation of our planet home.

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Did you know for instance that ‘Nearly one third of our food depends on bees’? Now that fascinating fact in itself is surely thought provoking.
I particularly like the Ask Questions spread: (I’m someone who is constantly inviting children to ask questions and advocating that other adults do likewise – and then of course to listen carefully to what they have to say): and the Invent pages will surely inspire young readers.

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This is assuredly a book that should be in every primary classroom. The gentle humour in Ros Asquith’s watercolour illustrations will draw young children in and will perhaps encourage the less bookish among them to keep reading.
I know from experience that it’s not difficult to get quite young children very passionate about green issues so why is it so hard to make those adults in charge of companies whose activities cause such damage to our planet take notice. Perhaps they could all start by reading a copy of this stimulating book.

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RSPB My First Birds and Wildlife Activity and Sticker Book
illustrated by Simon Abbott
Bloomsbury Children’s Books pbk
I am not generally a fan of sticker/activity books but this one requires children to look closely at illustrations of things from nature in order to do the activities therein. For example this spread asks the child participant to select the appropriate stickers to make the two pictures look the same.

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To do so one must look carefully at for example, three sticker images of a sparrow and choose which to put in each of three places on the right hand page.
In doing this, and the other activities provided such as the maze and keeping a record of any fauna observed in four places, young children will be both having fun and imbibing information about the natural world.
With a school holiday in sight, this could well be a boon on those days when you don’t feel like venturing outdoors for long.

Use your local bookshop localbookshops_NameImage-2

 

Welcome to the Family & Little Sisters

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Welcome to the Family
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Full of wit and wisdom is this look at families of all kinds; in fact it’s the book for you no matter what kind of family yours is. It offers a straightforward exploration of the many ways in which a child or baby becomes part of a family. This might be through a natural birth into a nuclear family, through adoption or fostering,

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perhaps by a same sex couple, through IVF, or maybe, as often happens, by the ‘blending’ of two families. Every possibility is explained in a straightforward, matter of fact manner; it’s the illustrations, speech and thoughts bubbles that supply the gentle humour. Having said that, the author doesn’t avoid potential difficulties – settling in,

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accommodating new siblings etc. are tackled head on as here:
It can take a while for children to settle down and get along together, and get used to the new person acting as their parent. They can also worry about the mum or dad who no longer lives with them.
The message that shines through loud and clear from this totally affirming, all-inclusive book is that no matter how your family came about, it and you are special, different from all others, valued and valid.
This is another ‘must have’ for every primary school classroom and early years setting from the fantastic Hoffman/Asquith team who gave us The Great Big Book of Families and The Great Big Book of Feelings.

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A Guide to Sisters
Paula Metcalf and Suzanne Barton
Words & Pictures (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books)
Told from the viewpoint of a big sister this cute and funny book explores the pros and cons of having a sister and some of the things you (and she) might get up to, if and when you have one. We get right up close from the start with that new baby feel, noises and habits, then move on to toddling, tickling, TV tampering, teetering in high heels

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(only permitted to big sisters on their seventh birthdays), taking things apart – the model you’ve just spent hours constructing for instance,

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and much more. There are of course compensations; little sisters enjoy improving their skills at tidying up big sisters’ bedrooms for instance; and who better to snuggle up with if a big sister gets a bit scared in the middle of the night …

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There’s another troublesome little sister in:

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Tin
Chris Judge
Andersen Press
Tin is supposed to be minding Nickel, his little sister but becomes engrossed in his comic. Then ‘WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!‘ That’s Zinc the dog sounding the alarm: Nickel is up in a tree and before Tin can reach her she floats away, born aloft by a red balloon. Tin leaps on his bike and sets off in hot pursuit – all the way to the big city. Therein the rescue attempt continues with a cycle up a helter-skelter followed by a brave leap into the air

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resulting in Tin catching hold of Nickel and her balloon. The balloon then bursts and they hurtle downwards towards a passing animal parade heading for the safari park, Tin and Zinc landing on an elephant and Nickel, a giraffe’s neck. Once in the safari park the elephant and giraffe head off in different directions but a dramatic chase ensues with Tin and Zinc in hot pursuit. Eventually Nickel is stopped in her tracks by a park ranger and handed over to her brother. He in turn hands her a new balloon: oh dear was that a wise move? …
A pacey text accompanies Chris Judge’s action-packed visual narrative, but it’s his vividly coloured illustrations that show the setting to be a futuristic city

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inhabited solely (apart from the wild animals) by robots of various hues.
Great fun and just the thing to inspire a class of infants to create their own rainbow-hued futuristic city from recycled materials.

Find and buy from your local bookshop:

http://www.booksellers.org.uk/bookshopsearch

Feelings and more

The Great Big Book of Feelings
Mary Hoffman and Ros Asquith
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
In this bumper book, Ros Asquith visually conveys how people look, both facially and through their body language when experiencing a variety of feelings, feelings such as happy, sad, bored, excited, interested, embarrassed, silly, lonely or jealous are just some of the eighteen included. Mary Hoffman’s carefully considered words provide an excellent verbal complement presenting not only some of the possible causes, but also suggesting some ways to manage the particular feeling. Everything about this book is so thoughtfully done; even the topic headings are each given a different and highly appropriate look. A great book for encouraging children to explore and reflect upon a whole range of feelings. It is a must to have in an infant or nursery class as well as being excellent for family browsing.
Buy from Amazon

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What Is It Like to Be Me?
Alenka Klemenc, illustrated by Ursa Rozic
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
In this longer than usual picture book, we meet young Greg who has Asperger’s syndrome and through his narrative we share his experiences and how he views the world. He tells us about his routines (which he loves), his special passion – batteries and about other things he loves including numbers and his rituals. We learn too about those things that Greg finds challenging and how those make him feel, things such as routine changes, unexpected occurences, understanding people’s body language and facial expressions and figurative language. Equally importantly, Greg talks about how best to calm him down when things have become just too much. In addition to Greg’s narrative, there are sections about AS for professionals and parents wherein further details about the condition are discussed as is the impact it might have on the family as a whole. This insightful book, written by a clinical psychologist and therapist who is also the mother of a child with AS is one that should be read by everyone, not only those in direct contact with an aspie child or children be they teachers, parents, family members or other professionals, but also anybody who is interested in other people. The illustrations, many in comic strip form, are a delight and truly help convey much about Asperger’s from a child’s viewpoint. A must buy for any educational establishment and for families who are touched by Asperger’s.
Buy from Amazon