The Journey / Sounds of the Wild

Here are two books from Little Tiger featuring amazing wildlife from different parts of the world

The Journey
Jonny Marx and Hanako Clulow

Nature’s greatest journey begins on the parched Serengeti plains and follows the herd of zebras as they make the arduous, annual migration across the dusty, sandy terrain. It’s a long trek, battered sometimes by wind, before they reach the waterhole where they stop to quench their thirst.

The zebras are not the only animals to undertake the journey; there are elephants, boars, birds and giraffes too, all bound for the watering place eager to drink their fill.

Ahead though, lie green pastures and that is where these animals are heading. but first there’s a swim ahead across crocodile infested waters.

Once safely on dry land again the verdant grasslands stretch as far as the eye can see and then down comes the rain – in huge torrents. Ahhhh!

There (so the author’s note on the title spread tells us) they remain for two months feasting on the abundant grass before it’s time to make that long, long journey back once again.

After his rhyming narrative that really conjures up the landscape of the journey, Jonny provides more information about plains zebras. I was amazed to learn that each zebra’s striped pattern is unique and that a zebra’s kick is so strong it can kill a lion. Hanaka Clulow’s illustrations too capture the sandy plains and the animal inhabitants, and have an almost photographic quality.

Sounds of the Wild
Moira Butterfield and Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Immerse yourself in the pages of this book and you can visit nine island locations where you can see and listen to a variety of their animal inhabitants.

Each double spread introduces a different habitat and its wildlife be that a jungle in Madagascar with ring-tailed lemurs, its predator if it catches one, the fossa, tomato frogs and stunningly coloured birds. By pushing the ‘Press Here’ button readers can hear the lemur’s call.

You can also hear an elephant seal (South Georgia Island),

a bellbird (Isla Escudoo de Veraguas), sooty terns (Ascension Island), a Komodo dragon (Flores), polar bears on Svalbard, a humpback whale (around the Azores), marine iguanas,(Galapagos)

and a tiger (Sumatra).

After the eco-system island tour, there’s a world map showing each habitat’s location., an index and finally, an ‘animals under threat’ page mentioning the endandered status and threats to six of the animals whose sounds were heard. Warning cries indeed.

Each spread is beautifully and brightly illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman and Moira Butterflied provides short factual paragraphs on each of the animals shown. Those who love wild animals will enjoy this and doubtless wear out the battery, leaving the animals voiceless until it’s replaced.

Dance Like a Flamingo

Dance Like a Flamingo
Moira Butterfield and Claudia Boldt
Welbeck Publishing

Little ones can receive a dozen dance lessons courtesy of the host of willing animal teachers in this lively picture book.

Whether they prefer to fly circle-wise, wiggle waggle their bottoms, point and fly like the bees, as they show fellow bees the way to their flower findings;

strut proudly as the peacock shows; or emulate the show-off crab, flexing claws and scuttling sideways in both directions, the instructions are here.

On the other hand (or tentacles) perhaps something a little more gentle in parts like the jellyfish offers, with floaty arm movements and slow, calm drifting might suit the mood: it does get faster though at the end.

I suspect the baby elephant dance will go down well – in more ways than one: make sure you have plenty of space and a soft landing if you do this with a nursery class.

Then after all the fun learning I’d suggest handing the finale over
to the group and letting them choose their moves, as the example on the final spread shows in the celebratory ‘wonderful world’ extravaganza.

With its step-by-step actions and Claudia Boldt’s gorgeous, funky illustrations, this book is terrific fun whether you choose to use it in an education setting or at home: an absolute joy from cover to cover.

I am a Bird / Colours of the World: Green Planet

Here are two recent books about the natural world from the Little Tiger Group

I am a Bird
Isabel Otter and Fernando Martin

Through a text narrated for the most part by an eponymous bird and illustrated throughout in a vibrant colour palette, readers share in the world of birds, large and small from various parts of the globe.

We discover some intricately built nests;

find out why birds sing, what they eat and how they obtain their food. We learn why migration happens and read something about the process with reference to specific birds as well as discovering that not all birds including kiwis, kakapos and penguins are unable to fly.

There’s a spread about birds that live near water; one about the ostrich – the world’s largest bird and another about the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world.

The text is written in a chatty, highly readable manner and is accompanied by stylised, simplified yet totally recognisable images of the avians featured.

Colours of the World: Green Planet
Moira Butterfield and Jonathan Woodward

This is a companion volume to Blue Planet and is subtitled ‘Life in our Woods and Forests’.

Having shown on a world map the forested areas and explained briefly the different kinds of forests, (did you know that forests are home to more than 50 % of the world’s plants and animals?) the book goes on to explain the anatomy of trees and to discuss their importance.

Double-page spreads discuss Extreme Trees – the widest, tallest, oldest, fastest growing and smallest; how trees obtain nutrition from their leaves as well as how they provide food and hiding places for certain animals.

Much of the rest of the book then focuses on the kinds of forests starting with boreal forests with their moose, eagles, cats, wolves, hares, minibeasts and of course, bears.

We then move to the hot steamy rainforests and in particular, Amazonia with its wealth of incredible fauna both large and small.

Third are the temperate forests where the trees lose their leaves in autumn and grow new ones in the spring. These places are home to deer, mice, squirrels, foxes, woodpeckers and hunters such as pine martens and owls.

The final pages look at forests as sources of materials for human homes; as well as some of the uses of wood and a brief mention of sustainability.

With Jonathan Woodward’s visually appealing graphics and Moira Butterfield’s succinct paragraphs, this book like Blue Planet offers a good, highly readable introduction to a vital aspect of our planet. It’s one to add to classroom libraries and family book collections.

Colours of the World: Blue Planet / Sounds of the Skies

Colours of the World: Blue Planet
Moira Butterfield and Jonathan Woodward
Little Tiger

Author Moira Butterfield provides both an introductory look at the water cycle and then an exploration that takes young readers to a variety of watery environments, both fresh and salty, to look at some of the life forms therein.

We visit the planet’s five oceans and the marine biomes where can be found such creatures as great white sharks, blue whales, pygmy seahorses and ocean sunfish; and deeper down among the corals we view clownfish, lobsters and eels as well as scary-looking anglerfish and viperfish,

whilst much nearer the shore whelks, mussels and hermit crabs lurk among the various seaweeds.

Next comes a look at various water-craft from container ships to rescue boats. That and a later spread on different kinds of aquatic homes including houseboats in Kerala and houses built on stilts by the Bajau people of Malaysia; and another showing a reservoir, a water-treatment plant and a communal well recognise human usage of this precious ‘sparkling treasure’.

In between we visit rivers, including the world’s four biggest,

and then half a dozen lakes, surprisingly two of those included are in the UK.

Throughout the text, in simple language is presented in single or two-sentence blocks around which are Jonathan Woodward’s mostly close-up, collage style illustrations, appropriately patterned and textured.

This book would make a useful addition to a primary topic box with a watery theme or as an introduction to a class water topic.

From the same team comes:

Sounds of the Skies
Moira Butterfield and Jonathan Woodward
Little Tiger

32 amazing creatures from nine different locations around the world are presented in this book as well as 13 birds, the calls of 9 of which readers can hear at the press of a button on each double spread vibrantly illustrated by Jonathan Woodward.

From the Amazon rainforest comes the noisy call of a fast flying scarlet macaw, while in the eucalyptus forest of eastern Australia, sounding similar to a human laugh, comes the kookaburra’s call.

For each bird soloist, Moira Butterfield has written a short verse.
Here’s the one for the Chinese nightingale in the Black Mountains of Bhutan:
A Chinese nightingale / sings for his love, / and sweet notes / float up / between the trees. / Up and up into the sky.’ In addition there’s a short paragraph giving information about each of the animals featured.

Other locations include British Columbia where bobcats and bald eagles roam; the Sonoran Desert of North America where the Gila woodpecker that makes a drumming sound in the sizzling environment it shares with such creatures as coyotes and rattlesnakes.

The last stop is Serengeti in Tanzania where among the lions, zebras, giraffes and gazelles can be heard the booming sounds of ostriches.

There’s a final map of the world showing each of the locations, a list of the birds and other animals mentioned; and inside the back cover we discover which of the birds featured are under threat in our changing world.

A Trip to the Future

A Trip to the Future
Moira Butterfield and Fagostudio
Templar Publishing

The future is coming no matter what we do, and most of us are presently looking forward to the near future when things get closer to normal. But what role will science and technology play in tomorrow’s world?

Author Moira Butterfield takes readers on a virtual sci-fi odyssey to look at some of the future possibilities, as well as showing us some of the incredible things scientists and technologists have already achieved.

We start in the home – a smart home of course – where voice command technology will be pretty commonplace.

Each spread thereafter moves further afield and the next stop is the catwalk for a look at Powered Dressing. Imagine being able to charge your mobile with your trousers.

On a more serious note, the prospect of biodegradeable clothing is surely to be welcomed.

So too are the possibilities offered at this recycling centre

where bacteria-munching technology could be used to help break down much of what we presently call rubbish.

In spite of being vegetarian – vegan almost – I don’t think the notion of eating a meal made wholly from algae really appeals and a pondweed burger on an edible plate sounds gross!

A holiday of any kind away from home feels like a dream right now but did you know that already there are plans afoot for a space station hotel that will orbit Earth. I don’t think I’ll be reserving my ticket no matter how awesome the views might be.

And as for holidaying on Mars, I’m not an enthusiastic stargazer so I think I’d give that one a miss too, no matter how successful scientists might be at ‘terraforming’ the red planet.

I do find the notion of a space garden fascinating though. On the Space Garden spread I was interested to learn that already researchers from the University of London have altered the DNA of a lettuce to produce a drug that can treat bone weakening.
The book ends with a look at ethical considerations and the author puts forward 4 ‘future science rules’ for readers’ consideration.

Every one of the 27 Fagostudio designed spreads has its own allure, though it depends on a readers’ predilections which ones they find truly immersive, but the entire book is certainly fascinating, particularly for those with a scientific or technological bent.

Welcome to Our World

Welcome to Our World
Moira Butterfield and Harriet Lynas
Nosy Crow

To open this book is to get lost in a world of children, children from 97 different countries and when you finally emerge having spent a considerable time immersed in its riches, you’ll be a whole lot wiser and probably happier too. I certainly was!

Covering such topics – I love the choice of headings – as greetings, homes, food, drinks, transport, animals, family names, school uniforms & classrooms, clothes, play – games …

and toys, musical instruments, as well as specific words for ‘happy’, ‘hooray’ …

and sneezing, customs (relating on one page, to losing a tooth), this book truly celebrates children, human diversity, language and world cultures

I was amused to learn that both in Brazil and Hungary children celebrating birthdays get their earlobes pulled. Ow! In Brazil it’s one pull for every year of the person’s life. Ow, ow, ow! … and in Hungary it’s customary to say ‘May your earlobes grow to your ankles’, in other words, ‘May you have a long life.’

Equally I was fascinated to find out about the different sounds animals make according to where they’re found: apparently in Germany, rather than buzzing, bees go ‘sum sum’, whereas in South Korea, it’s ‘wing wing’, ‘bun bun’ in Japan and ‘zoum zoum’ in Greece.

You too might laugh out loud at some of the sayings from various parts of the world: ‘Stop ironing my head’ means ‘Stop annoying me’ in Armenian and ‘There is no cow on the ice’ said in Swedish means ‘There’s no need to worry.’

The absorbing text by Moira Butterfield, in combination with Harriet Lynas’s captivating illustrations, make for a read that is both joyous and informative.