Where’s Will? / Spot the Dinosaur on the Island

Where’s Will?
Tilly and Anna Claybourne
Ivy Kids

Published a while back but new to this reviewer (thanks to the publishers for sending it now) this is a Shakespearean search-and-find extravaganza that presents the bard in an accessible way for young audiences; and let’s face it none of us is going to be able to see a live performance of any of the plays featured in the foreseeable future.

Anna Claybourne has chosen what are arguably, the ten most popular stories show-casing each one through a context setting summary, for instance ‘Twelfth Night is a comedy, and once again Shakespeare’s plot involves the mix-ups caused by people wearing disguises‘, and a story board outline of its plot, along with its cast, that she and artist, Tilly, present on the first of two spreads.

The second is a busy panoramic scene wherein the characters are hiding in plain sight for readers to find; so too is the playwright himself who insists on putting in an appearance in each of his featured works (as does a pig for some reason).

The original language isn’t retained in the storyboard texts – probably an impossible task – but readers familiar with any of the plays could try choosing an appropriate line or two for each vignette, thus adding a further dimension to using the book.
The artist has chosen different tones for each play, thus helping to capture both the drama’s setting and the spirit of its performance.
Some Shakespeare aficionados will likely throw up their hands in horror at all this, but it’s a case of ‘to see, or not to see’ and this bard enthusiast recommends seeing; it’s a case of the more you look, the more you see.

Books such as this could be a boon in the forthcoming weeks, and this one is surely both immersive and entertaining.

For younger search-and-find enthusiasts try:

Spot the Dinosaur on the Island
Stella Maidment and Joelle Dreidemy
QED

Again not brand new but worth getting hold of and sharing with little ones at that dinosaur-mad age most of them go through.

Herein, Joelle Dreidemy’s alluring, bold, bright scenes offer plenty for youngsters to see including a playful baby T. Rex that hides on every double spread while Stella Maidment’s brief narrative guides users, giving snippets of information throughout the adventure.

We visit first the island in its entirety, followed by a sequence of closer-in views of dinosaurs feeding,

moving, hatching, showing off their protective features and some even enjoy a dip, while others take to the air. Then there are those like Pleiosaurus that actually lived in the sea, so there’s plenty of visual information to absorb, as well as five items to spot on each spread.

The last scene is a busy archaeological dig and this is followed by ‘More to Spot’ – an invitation to take another look, a ‘Did you know?’ page and finally, some crafty fun.

 

What On Earth? Birds / Do Sharks Glow in the Dark?/ Do Tigers Stay Up Late?


What On Earth? Birds

Mike Unwin and Pau Morgan
QED

Natural history writer Mike Unwin and illustrator Pau Morgan turn their attention to birds for the latest book in this excellent What On Earth? series.

In its usual way it’s packed with information and practical ideas that include things to make and do including the occasional experiment, all presented in a highly visual manner with every spread using the space alluringly in a manner somewhat akin to a comic.

As well as bird facts there are poems (Tennyson’s The Eagle and Lear’s There was an old man with a beard’) along with an invitation to readers to write a bird poem of their own. On the literary side too is ‘The king of the birds’ a story based on an old Celtic folk tale, which might also inspire story writing by readers.

You may want to try dancing like a bird;

or perhaps get outdoors and listen to some birdsong, even catching the dawn chorus if you’re up early enough.

The book is divided into four sections: What is a bird?; Bird food; Bird life and behaviour and Enjoying birds, and very page turn brings something to excite, or fascinate young readers.

Offering a great way to discover things avian in all kinds of interesting ways, the book concludes with a glossary and an index.

Do Sharks Glow in the Dark?
Do Tigers Stay Up Late?

Mary Kay Carson
Sterling

Splendid photographs and sequences of facts in response to a series of introductory questions – one per page (or occasionally spread) – present the essentials relating to two very different, but both predatory, animals.

No, sharks do not have bones; their skeletons are cartilaginous (a fact I remember well from my early days of studying zoology); and they have both skin and scales. Did you know people once used dried sharkskin as sandpaper? Or that adult sharks ‘don’t do the parenting thing’? Rather shark pups look after themselves.

And contrary to popular belief, only around six humans are killed by sharks in a year.

So it is with tigers: these creatures tend to avoid humans, their towns and farms, although it’s humans that are responsible for tigers being endangered with less than 4,000 roaming wild now, more than half their number being found in India.

I was fascinated to read that no two tigers have identical skin stripes, that a tiger’s skin is striped as well as its fur, and that tigers can swim for miles.

Unsurprisingly tigers don’t purr, growling, grunting and roaring are their ways of communicating.

Both books offer a fun and easy way to get to know something about two of the world’s most iconic creatures; and each has as part of the back matter, information about helping to protect the animals in question, some useful related vocabulary and an index.

The Clue is in the Poo

The Clue is in the Poo
Andy Seed and Claire Almon
QED

The author of this book is passionate about getting children (and their teachers) enthusiastic about reading and a great one for making non-fiction fun. Here’s his latest and let’s say, enticingly titled offering  that as well as investigating their faecal matters, looks at animals’ footprints, homes, nests, skulls,

coprolites (fossilised dung to you and me), and more. And yes, it’s terrific fun.

Poo, so we’re told is a good indicator when it comes to clues regarding which animals you’re likely to come across on your foray into the wild; and generally speaking the larger the animal, the larger its poo. Hmm! A rhino for instance leaves deposits of between 50 and 90 cm whereas that of a wolf is only 12 to 15 cm and shrew poos are a minute 2-4mm.

For those interested in classifying things we’re given half a dozen different turd types – tubular, lumpy, pea-like, pancake, shiny blocks/clumps and twisted/hairy, deposited by various mammals to start us off.

Bird droppings, you’ll be interested to learn, are generally more tricky to identify than those of mammals and should you want to become a bird poo detective, illustrations of seven types of bird plops are provided.

Now who would have thought that an adult reviewer could become completely engrossed in a book that focuses on excretory matter? It was certainly so where this one is concerned: my next forest expedition will perhaps take on a completely different focus; and yes, I’ve read the rules of tracking provided at the front of the book along with the annotated list of things needed on an expedition.

I must mention the illustrations: bear in mind that Claire Almon whose watercolours grace the pages is from the USA; thus her blue robin’s egg is of the North American robin whereas the European robin lays creamy eggs with light reddish-brown markings.

Raise the Flag

Raise the Flag
Clive Gifford and Tim Bradford
QED

Traveller Clive Gifford and nature enthusiast Tim Bradford have created a fascinating books absolutely jam-packed with information, stories and other tidbits.

Herein you can find out about the history of flags including their use in heraldry.

Then comes a look at the national flag of every country in the world.
These are grouped under regions, first the Americas and Canada, then a glance at local and regional ones. Thereafter it’s on to Asia, the continent with the largest human population, where we find out about frags from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan to Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen. Some countries such as India, have a whole spread devoted to its flag.

There’s a look at flag usage – in sport,

to commemorate amazing feats such as the conquest of Everest,

the Apollo moon landing, pirate flags, flags in semaphore and much more.

In total 268 flags are explored including that of New Guinea, designed by a 15 year old schoolgirl; at one time, and until it was discovered at the Olympic Games of 1936, two countries Liechtenstein and Haiti, had exactly the same flag design. Now Monaco and Indonesia share a design; these fascinating facts I learned from the book.

Comprehensive and totally absorbing; I certainly never imagined that vexillology could be so interesting. My only issue is that I’d have liked to see the ‘Union Jack’ called the Union Flag.

This book is very well written and the visual presentation excellent; no spread looks like another and none will overwhelm primary age readers. There’s even a quiz and a final glossary and index.

Well worth adding to a school or family bookshelves.

100 Screen Free Ways to beat Boredom! / Let’s Make Comics!

100 Screen Free Ways to beat Boredom!
Kris Hirschmann, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli
QED

What a great collection of creative ideas Hirschmann and Paganelli have put together for keeping your children actively engaged, enjoying themselves and free from tablets, phones, computer games and the like.

There are activities that can be enjoyed at home, outdoors and on the move, the first section offering the most ideas.

Nearly all can be done using things you already have knocking around somewhere, without having to rush out and buy bits and pieces, although this might depend on how craft-minded your youngsters have already become.

A few, but not many of the activities need some adult supervision, while with most you can just leave your littles free to have fun be that indoors or out. Each one is explained via a mix of colour photos, snazzy graphics and brief paragraphs of step-by-step instructions and a list of materials you’ll need.

This book might just save your sanity be you parent or grandparent, or perhaps holiday supervisor, in the remaining part of this weather-crazy holiday and any holidays that are to come; whatever the weather it’s thoroughly recommended and well worth investing in.

Equally worth getting hold of especially for those shorter days or when going outside isn’t possible, is:

Let’s Make Comics!
Jess Smart Smiley
Watson-Guptill

Here’s a great book for budding young comic-makers from cartoonist and comic-making instructor Jess Smart Smiley who, aided and abetted by Peanut the turtle and bear Bramble, provides over 60 splendid hands-on projects.

Each one encompasses a number of important skills such as drawing, character design, writing or storytelling and ends up with a new comic. What’s not to like?

Packed full of learning potential and guaranteed hours of absorbed child activity; not only is this crammed full of comic-making ideas, it also gives an insight into how some picture book artists work.

A thoroughly enjoyable and totally brilliant activity book: I envisage fights ensuing over my copy!

How Does My Home Work? / What on Earth? Robots

How Does My Home Work?
Chris Butterworth and Lucia Gaggiotti
Walker Books

Most of us, at least the fortunate ones, adults and children, take for granted such things as light at the flick of a switch, clean running water, heat at the touch of a button or perhaps something even more sophisticated, ditto TV and fresh food straight from the fridge; we seldom stop to think about it unless something goes wrong, let alone appreciate these facilities.

Herein with uncomplicated diagrams and illustrations from Lucia Gaggiotti, including cross sections, author Chris Butterworth describes in straightforward language the inner workings of a family house. He takes readers below the floors, behind walls as well as outdoors to see where and how the amenities – electricity (from both renewable and non-renewable sources),

natural gas and clean water are sourced and in the case of the latter, dirty water got rid of.

An engaging read with words and pictures working well together, a gentle conservation message (on the penultimate spread children offer ten energy saving suggestions), final notes from author and illustrator and an index, this is a thoughtfully presented introduction to everyday, life-enchancing technology and one hopes a book that will make youngsters appreciate their creature comforts just a little bit more.
Recommended for use at home or school.

What on Earth? Robots
Jenny Fretland VanVoorst and Paulina Morgan
QED
The latest addition to the What on Earth? series that embraces a wide range of subject areas, is sure to set young minds buzzing with excitement.
Robots are, increasingly, playing a part in our everyday lives and this book covers all kinds of robot-related material from poems to building a pasta rover; creating a robot costume responding to sound clues

and touch clues robot style; and appeasing your appetite with a yummy snack by turning your friend into a robot

or discovering the role of computers and programs in robot functioning.

All these and more are covered under the book’s five sections: What is a robot?, Robot bodies, Robot senses, Robot brains and robot jobs and there are also a couple of templates relating to activities as well as a glossary.

Easy to understand, appealingly illustrated and clearly presented, with artwork and text interwoven, well-explained activities that require relatively few, readily available resources, this is a lively, worthwhile resource whether or not you are pursuing a robot-related topic at school, or to add to a collection for home exploration.

Seashore Watcher / Complete Minibeast Explorer’s Kit

Seashore Watcher
Maya Plass
QED

If you are heading to the coast and in particular the seashore, then here’s a handy information book, cleverly enclosed within a zipped waterproof plastic folder.

From pebbles to plankton, corals to crabs and starfish to sharks, the seashore comes to life through photographs,

facts, tips, safety recommendations and more.

Whether you want to be a seashore watcher observing seals, seabirds or dolphins and porpoises, try your hand as a sand sculptor, get creative using things you’ve collected on the beach, help with beach cleaning, or even collect seaweed and try the recipe for jelly, you’re bound to find something to make your seaside visit exciting and worthwhile.

The back matter includes notes for adults, a glossary and index.

You’ll certainly get more out of your seaside foray if you tuck a copy of this informative and engaging book, compiled by marine and coastal ecologist Maya Plass, in your bag.

National Trust: Complete Minibeast Explorer’s Kit
Robyn Swift and Hannah Alice
Nosy Crow

Here’s the ideal thing to encourage children to get out and discovering about the wealth of minibeasts that are all around us.

Enclosed within the backpack are a guide book for explorers featuring more than 60 creatures and containing a wealth of information about identification, habitats, lifecycles and more; a small blank notebook in which to record observations, and a magnifying minibeast collector for enthusiasts to look closely at beetles, caterpillars, spiders, slugs, worms and anything else of interest.

I’ve just returned from a walk along the canal not far from where I live and was able on my return, (I hadn’t taken the book) to identify the small red beetle I saw on cow parsley as a Soldier Beetle using the illustration from the guide book. Hannah Alice’s clear illustrations are somewhat stylised but easily recognisable.

In addition to the fascinating facts provided by Robyn Swift – did you know that even if a cockroach has its head cut off, it can live for up to nine days? I certainly didn’t before reading it here -at the back of the book there’s an index, a glossary, a quiz, a scale guide and a classification chart.

Just the kind of kit to whet the appetites of potential young naturalists.

The Colours of History / So You Think Yo’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s Life in Ancient Egypt

The Colours of History
Clive Gifford and Marc-Etienne Peintre
QED

There have been several books on the theme of colour recently: now here is one that takes a historical approach with the subtitle ‘How Colours Shaped the World’.

After an introduction to the world of colour, there are five main sections: Yellows (which includes orange), Reds, taking in ‘Mummy Brown’), Purples, Blues, Greens and then a spread on ‘Colours that made their mark’ that looks at
kohl black, graphite, lime and lead wash.

Over twenty colours – divided into shades – are explored with each different shade being allocated a double spread that includes an arresting illustration by Marc-Etienne Peintre, related historical facts, associated symbolism and often, a relevant quote. There is also an introductory paragraph for each colour group supplying connotative meanings.

Did you know that the predominant colour of the prehistoric Lascaux Cave paintings was yellow ochre,

or that saffron comes from a particular crocus species grown mainly in Spain and Iran?
Or that cochineal, still used in some lipsticks, is actually a tiny insect that when crushed, yields a scarlet colour due to the carminic acid it carries to protect itself from predatory ants?

One of my favourite blues, ultramarine, is made by grinding one of my favourite semi-precious gemstones lapis lazuli – a fact I knew, but I was intrigued to learn that the artist Vermeer’s heavy use of the colour in his paintings left him heavily in debt when he died.

This inviting and rewarding book will be of particular interest to those with a liking for art or history and is well worth adding to a primary school library.

So You Think You’ve Got It Bad? A Kid’s life in Ancient Egypt
Chae Strathie and Marisa Morea
Nosy Crow

Guaranteed to bring on giggles galore is this look at ancient history Egyptian style published in collaboration with the British Museum. It presents history like you’ve never seen or even imagined it before – from the children’s viewpoint.

A variety of topics is covered – clothing and hairstyles, family life, the home, work – parents introduced the idea of work to their offspring at an early age.

There are sections on education – formal school outside the home was mostly only for boys and rich ones at that, and  diet – raw cabbage was a popular starter and pigeons were often served (along with geese, ducks and oxen if you were well off)

and even children drank beer back in those days.

Medicine and health – apparently the mother of a sick child might eat a mouse and then put its bones in a bag and dangle it around the child’s neck to effect a cure; protection and gods, and fun and games are also explored. Popular pastimes for the young included swimming, boating and games by the river, although, you had to keep a watch out for hungry crocs or hippos. Ball games were often played too, though not football, and the balls were made from papyrus or leather stuffed with straw.

Humorously illustrated with a multitude of labels and speech bubbles, and packed with fascinating facts, yes it’s light-hearted, but children will absorb a lot of information from this unashamedly zany book.

Secrets of the Mountain / Rock Explorer: Minerals & Rock Explorer: Fossils

Secrets of the Mountain
Libby Walden and Richard Jones
Caterpillar Books

The mountain referred to in the title of this breathtakingly beautiful book is I think, part of the Rocky Mountain Range.

Libby Walden’s narrative takes readers to spend a day on the mountain observing the plethora of animals that make it their home be that on the plains, the slopes or the mountaintop.

It begins as the sun rises and starting at the summit, day dawns. A breeze moves down the mountainside waking the furry pikas to look for their morning food.

At midday, the forest erupts with birdsong and sunlight glows among the trees.

Animals large and small are on the move.
Then come sundown, the air is cool: night is drawing in and the bears can sense it …

Then is the time to seek a place to sleep and let the nocturnal hunters take over in the shadows of the night-time forest while, watched by the patrolling wolf, the moon illuminates the rolling plains and the mountain lion stands waiting for yet another dawn to awaken the chorus of birdsong.

Everything has changed, yet everything is the same: evolving and ever constant, both.

From gorgeous front endpaper to back endpaper (the final one comprises 48 small named pictures of the mountain fauna), every one of Richard Jones’ spreads is simply stunning in its beauty.

Rock Explorer: Minerals
Rock Explorer: Fossils

Claudia Martin
QED

These are two titles of the four in a series of very visual books that introduce aspects of geology to younger readers. This is an under represented topic and yet once children are introduced to it, they are often fascinated.
Minerals looks at their formation, location and use. Did you know for instance, that fluorite is used in toothpaste and feldspar is used in making glass and pottery?

Fossils explains what a fossil is, outlines how they form, where to hunt for fossils and what we can learn from them. I was intrigued to discover that the Victorians first discovered fossilised Dinosaur poo – hmm.
Clearly and invitingly presented with good quality photographs, both are worthwhile additions to a primary classroom or school library.

Out and About: Mama is it Summer yet? / What on Earth? Trees / Caterpillar to Butterfly

Mama, Is It Summer Yet?
Nikki McClure
Abrams Appleseed

In this board book, a small boy looking through the window asks “Mama, is it summer yet?

His mother’s response explains that it is imminent for the leaf buds are swelling, the animals building nests and the earth is soft and ready for planting, swallows are singing, baby animals have hatched

and trees are blossoming. Very soon, when the berries have ripened in the warm sun – then summer will be well and truly with them.

How fortunate is the infant to have a loving parent who take time to explain all this rather than merely giving a single word reply to her child’s repeated question.

Beautifully designed and with wonderful paper-cut illustrations, predominantly black and white set against a cream background, but with a single contrasting colour on each spread, both visuals and words capture the natural changes while also showing the close bond between mother and child.

What On Earth? Trees
Kevin Warwick and Pau Morgan
QED

Environmental scientist and tree expert Kevin Warwick joins forces with illustrator Pau Morgan in this new addition to the What on Earth? series and as with previous titles it successfully adopts a cross curricular approach with a mix of information spreads, poetry, a plethora of things to do both scientific and arty; there’s even a story about how the Douglas fir came to look the way it does.

In short, this is a great way to encourage children to go outside and connect with nature, invitingly illustrated by Pau Morgan.

Caterpillar to Butterfly
Francis Barry
Walker Books

An attractive fold out, and find out about the life cycle of the swallowtail butterfly is told in a rhyming narrative and illustrated with brightly coloured, circular pages. These unfold to reveal each stage from tiny hatching caterpillar, through to ‘amazing butterfly’. We see the caterpillar munching, growing, shedding its skin, growing some more, then spinning a thread, forming a chrysalis and then after weeks of internal change, emerging as a stunningly beautiful adult.

The design, a big hit with small children, follows the same format as Barry’s Big Yellow Sunflower and Little Green Frogs.

Foundation stage teachers, this is one to add to your minibeast topic box.

Legendary Journeys: Space & Legendary Journeys: Trains

Legendary Journeys: Space
Mike Goldsmith and Sebastian Quigley
QED

Written by astrophysicist and author, Mike Goldsmith, and illustrated by Sebastian Quigley, this amazingly constructed book documents mankind’s quest to learn ever more about space.
There are thirteen sections beginning with very early rockets, followed by a spread on the solar system and then moving on to the ‘Space Race’ that took place between the Soviet Union and the USA that culminated in the moon landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.
Co-operation as well as competition was an important element in extending our understanding of space and its effect on humans, as described in ‘Living in Orbit’.
Other spreads look at the exploration of the other planets in our solar system and the search for life on Mars.
Every spread is absorbing with a lead paragraph, arresting illustrations and explanations, flaps to explore and pioneers to spot; and here are ten ingenious two-stage pull-out sliders.

Any child with a budding interest in space will love and treasure this book.
In the classroom however, there is a danger of it being read to destruction by over-enthusiastic handlers.
The same is true of companion volume:

Legendary Journeys: Trains
Phillip Steele and Sebastian Quigley

This tells of the historic development of trains and railways from the first steam locomotive to run on rails, right up to the technologically advanced, high-speed railways that have spread across Japan and a number of European countries.
Both passenger travel

and the movement of freight are covered and there’s a look at underground railways, mountain railways; the various forms of power used to drive the trains, and a final spread presents some of the most iconic railway stations in the world.
Railway enthusiasts especially will enjoy this one: its construction and layout are similar to the Space book and it has the same illustrator.

Art, Artists and Some Science Too

Art Up Close
Claire d’Harcount
Princeton Architectural Press

Art enthusiasts of all ages wlll enjoy this search and find game based on twenty three famous works of art from around the world.
Each large spread is a high quality reproduction of one named artwork that is credited and dated, in the same border as ten to twelve floating bubbles each containing a small detail from the whole piece. It’s these tiny visual elements that readers are asked to search for, some being a whole lot easier to locate than others.
The arrangement of the selected works is chronological beginning with Egyptian papyrus paintings from the Book of the Dead (around 1300BC). This is followed by a 6th century Byzantine mosaic, an Arabic manuscript (1400s), the Limbourg brothers illumination (1416) and other 15th century European painters.
Then comes an early 16th century Aztec manuscript, a Flemish tapestry, a Bruegel (the elder) and a Veronese painting.
From the 17th century are the younger Teniers, and Jan Steen’s Village School. This chaotic classroom scene, which includes a child drawing on the wall and back end of a rat that is tucking into the contents of someone’s lunch basket certainly made the teacher part of me smile; and oh my goodness, the place is so dark, it’s hardly surprising that half the people therein look as though they’ve fallen sleep or are about to do so. All this and more while the two ‘teachers’ appear totally unaware of what’s happening around them.
There’s a Japanese woodblock print from the early 19th century; Impressionism is represented by a Renoir and an Ensor; and we then move into the 20th century with surrealist, Miró,

Picasso represents cubism and the final work is a 1952 Jackson Pollock, Convergence.
Then follow ten pages wherein D’Harcourt discusses each of her chosen examples individually; and the two final spreads have lift-the-flap mini paintings of each work that reveal the whereabouts of the details in the bubbles, and also provide short notes on the artists.
Of the 23 works, only five are non-western, but what disappointed me more was the lack of a single woman artist. Nonetheless, the whole enterprise is absorbing, educational, fun, attractively presented and well worth spending time over.

Vermeer’s Secret World
Vincent Etienne
Prestel

In what is an essentially introductory book, art historian and author, Etienne, traces the life and work of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, one of history’s most distinctive artists who lived in 17th century Delft for his entire life.
There are fifteen full-page reproductions of his works …

as well as eight smaller ones.
If you can’t manage to visit London’s National Gallery or one of the other galleries exhibiting Vermeer’s paintings, then this short book is a good starting point to begin to appreciate the Delft master, an artist whose focus was very much on people rather than places.

Trick of the Eye
Silke Vry
Prestel

Subtitled ‘How Artists Fool Your Brain’, this book offers a host of examples that demonstrate that deceptive imagery in art, far from being a new phenomenon, has been in use by famous and popular artists for centuries.
Vry uses paintings by, to name just some, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, van Gogh, Leonardo da Vinci, Hogarth, Turner, Vermeer, Paolo Veronese and Georges Seurat, as examples of optical illusions, as well as more modern artists including Salvador Dali, René Magritte,

M.C. Escher, Bridget Riley, and Banksy.
In addition to paintings, some objects such as the Athens Acropolis and the Scala Regia in Rome are used.
The end pages offer solutions to the questions posed during the discussions of the various works of art, as well as instructions for some creative projects for readers to try themselves that were previously flagged up in the those discussions.
Absorbing, illuminating and a novel way of looking at some works of art.

For those readers of a more scientific bent:

Optical Illusions
Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber
QED

Both the creators of this fascinating book are experts in brain training and cognitive sciences, and herein they offer readers the opportunity to find out about the science behind the illusions that trick our brains.
After a brief ‘Is Seeing Believing’ introduction; the book is divided into five sections: Light, Lines and Space,

Motion, The Brain and finally, Experiments.
Each topic explores a variety of effects: for example Light demonstrates colour assimilation, complementary colours and after image, and colour contrast.
Since buying a book on MC Escher many years ago, I have been fascinated by the idea of optical illusions. This book has refreshed that fascination, but a word of warning: I spent ages poring over its hypnotic pages; don’t sit down with it unless you have plenty of time to spare – you’ll most likely be hooked, eyes and brain in sensory overdrive mode.

Stupendous Science

Stupendous Science
Rob Beattie and Sam Peet
QED

A great title, bold graphics and inviting format make this a book that looks and feels instantly appealing.
It contains 70 experiments that can be done at home with few materials and for safety’s sake, has a traffic light system to show how much adult supervision/ assistance is needed.
Each project begins with a brief introductory paragraph, which is followed by a list of the items needed (relatively few in most instances). Then come clear, easy to follow, numbered and illustrated instructions.
A stand-out speech bubble explains the science behind the experiment and, in many instances, there’s also a ‘Take it further’ possibility.
What about making ‘Elephant’s Toothpaste’, for instance (you’ll need to wear goggles and have adult help here); or some ‘Seriously Slimy’ gunk? The latter has borax substitute as an ingredient so carries a ‘health and safety’ warning. The wonderfully gooey slime is great fun to mould with though.

Or, you could try writing an ‘impossible signature’. This requires only pencil, paper and somewhere to sit down and write. I tried this one several times and really struggled hard to get my hand and foot to work independently.
If you’re feeling really daring you can do the ‘Don’t get soaked’ experiment – outside of course, just in case; it demonstrates centripetal force at work. This involves swinging a half full bucket of water over your head;
Physics and chemistry aren’t the only branches of science herein though; there are also biology and engineering projects and so there certainly should be plenty for everyone, so long as they have an inquiring mind and some time to ‘play’.

Information Briefing:Bees, Gardening & Cities

What on Earth? Bees
Andrea Quigley and Paulina Morgan
QED
The author and illustrator of the latest in the ‘What On Earth?’ series offer a cross-curricular approach to a fascinating and vitally important insect, the bee.
It’s packed with fascinating information, interesting things to investigate, art and craft activities, poems, stories – I had a good laugh over the folk tale from Thailand telling ‘When bees were friends with elephants’; there’s even a recipe for delicious honey flapjacks – mmm!
Most pertinent though, since our native bees are under threat, are the projects which aim to increase potential nesting spots: for bumble bees ‘Make a bumble bee ‘n’ bee’; and ‘Build a solitary bee home’ for bees such as the leafcutter and mason bees to nest in.
Although each spread is chock full of information, the presentation with copious bright, attractive and sometimes amusing, illustrations, speech bubbles and factual snippets on bold colour blocks is never overwhelming.

This stylish book is certainly worth adding to a family book collection or primary school topic box.

The Children’s Garden
Carole Lexa Schaefer and Pierr Morgan
Little Bigfoot
This appealing story inspired by a real community garden for children in Seattle is a debut book for both author and illustrator.
A sign on the gate welcomes readers in to ‘listen, see, smell, touch – even taste’
and to read this book really does feel like a multi-sensory experience.
We start with the deep, dark soil, ‘rich with rotted grass, apple peels and onion skins,’ into which the children dig and then scatter their seeds. They pat, water …

and weed and soon are rewarded by the appearance of tiny sprouting plants.
It’s not long before the whole space is filled with a profusion of ‘tomato clusters’, ‘sunflower stands’, ‘green bean tents’, ‘strawberry clusters’ and more.

Peppermint to smell and chew.

A rich reward for their labours but also a place to have fun and to relax.

Imaginative language and bold, bright illustrations and splendid seed packet endpapers make this portrait of a bountiful co-operative gardening project a delight.
I’d like to think it will inspire adults to help youngsters seek out similar local projects or failing that, contemplate starting such an enterprise for children in their own neighbourhood.

In Focus: Cities
Libby Walden et al.
360 Degrees
You can be a globetrotter without moving from your sofa in what is very much a bits and pieces look at ten of the world’s most iconic cities – their culture, their character and their civilisations – landmarks and artefacts of cultures ancient and modern (largely hidden beneath the gate fold flaps).
Starting with New York, and encompassing Tokyo,



Paris, Rome, Moscow, Istanbul, Sydney, Cairo, Rio de Janeiro and London, each of the destinations has a different illustrator, ensuring that the diversity of the cities is heightened.
The author manages to pack a great deal of information into each fold-out spread so that readers will find themselves becoming engrossed in such unlikely topics as tulips and Turkish delight (Istanbul), or catacombs and cancan dancing (Paris).
An appetite whetter and an engrossing one at that!

I’ve signed the charter  

Animal Allsorts

dscn9536

Hello, Mr Dodo
Nicholas John Firth
Alison Green Books
I absolutely loved Nicholas John Firth’s debut Hector and the Hummingbird, so was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of this, his second offering. It also has an avian theme and once again, is a delight through and through.
Martha is an avid bird lover and twitcher spending much of her time in the woods with her binoculars; there isn’t a bird she can’t identify until that is, the day she comes upon an extremely large specimen she doesn’t recognise

%0a

and it bears a very close resemblance to a supposedly extinct creature.
Before long a secret friendship has developed between Martha and her discovery, who shares with her, a particular penchant for doughnuts …

%0a

Then one afternoon Martha accidentally lets slip her secret and the following day she’s besieged by a crowd at her front door. Time for some quick thinking: the dodo has to disappear.

dscn9541

Is that to be the end of a beautiful friendship?
The wonderfully retro look of the book (there’s a slight touch of Roger Duvoisin about it) comes from the artist’s choice of colour palette, yet this is a thoroughly modern and enchanting tale.

%0a

One Very Big Bear
Alice Brière-Haquet, Olivier Philipponneau & Raphaële Enjary
Abrams Appleseed
Mightily impressed by his own stature, a bear make an announcement: “I’m very big! … I’m almost a giant!” This claim is quickly countered by a whole host of other polar creatures that turn up in turn: two walrus, three foxes, four sea lions, five penguins and six sardines, the latter have the cheek to call him ‘foolish

%0a dscn9553

But who gets the last word …
Minimalist artwork, an easy to read text, mathematical opportunities aplenty and a giggle-inducing finale make for a fun book to share and discuss.

dscn9542

I Need a Hug
Aaron Blabey
Scholastic Childrens’s Books
We all need a hug from time to time but when you’re covered in spikes it makes things just a little tricky and so it is with the prickly creature in this tale.
When a porcupine declares he needs a hug, unsurprisingly he doesn’t get any offers.

dscn9543

Then something happens to change his luck but it’s not quite what he was expecting …

dscn9544

With themes of looking for friendship and embracing difference, this brief rhyming tale offers food for thought and discussion with early years groups or individuals.

dscn9548

Superchimp
Giles Paley-Phillips and Karl Newson
QED
Sporting his red underwear and feasting on fleas, a young chimp spends his days whizzing around in the jungle coming to the aid of troubled animals,

dscn9549

zooming through the trees in his super-cool chimpmobile or occasionally, relaxing in his secret cave. Known as Superchimp, he’s loved by all the rainforest inhabitants; in fact he’s nothing short of their hero …

dscn9550

Come nightfall though, from afar there comes another booming voice; but it’s not a voice asking for assistance this time. Now Superchimp doesn’t look quite such a hero and it’s not just his underpants that are a dazzling shade of red.
Rhyming text from Paley-Phillips and vibrant rainforest scenes from Newson combine to make a fun read for young would-be superheroes.

Wonderful Wildlife

dscn9092

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 …

dscn9095

to sapling to the ‘leaf-laden, bark-bound arboreal home’ to the plethora of insects, birds and mammals that live therein.

%0a

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

%0a

British Wildlife
Matthew Morgan & Laura Knowles
QED
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 …

%0a

and fishes to fungi.

%0a

Illuminature
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.

%0a

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’ …

dscn9090

followed by a black and white one –

dscn9091

a ‘species guide’ that provides more detailed information on the particular animals featured in the coloured scenes. I foresee squabbles arising over this one.

Olive Owl & Parker Penguin / Hello Mr Moon

%0a

Olive Owl
Barry Tranter and Emma Tranter
Nosy Crow
There’s something about owls in stories that endears them to very young children: most notably the classic, Owl Babies, and now here is an information picture book likely to win those far from cute creatures more friends.
Based on the Rounds apps this is one of a new series for the very young. Having read on the publisher’s press release that Olive’s creators are ‘firm believers in education through play’ it sounded as though they’re kindred spirits. There’s certainly an element of playfulness about this book. Emma and Barry Tranter’s design backgrounds are also reflected in this charming book: the owl characters and some other objects– in keeping with the Rounds series title – are made up of circles or parts of same.
Olive is a barn owl and through a mix of a narrative running across the top of the page, and factual snippets printed within circles scattered throughout each spread, readers and listeners can find out about her life cycle …

%0a

diet, shape and size as well as her mating habits and other characteristics. Young children will be interested particularly to learn that a barn owl’s wing span is wider that a 5 year old’s armspan.

%0a

There are also occasional speech bubbles that help make Olive something of a character.

%0a

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable way to introduce an important aspect of the natural world to very young children; one to add to the early years’ book collection I’d say.
In the same series and also worth having is:
Parker Penguin
Hailing from the Antarctica, Parker is a rotund young penguin, but although he’s a bird, he cannot fly and still won’t be able to by the time he reaches adulthood after three years, which happens towards the end of the book. Instead he moves by sliding, waddling, swimming –

%0a

and ‘marching’. Marching is what he does, along with lots of other penguins, to the breeding ground and it’s there he finds a mate and after around seventy days out hatches a new chick, a male, Percy and …

dscn9030

the cycle begins again.
A different kind of cycle is explained in: 

%0a

Hello, Mr Moon
Lorna Gutierrez and Laura Watkins
QED
The moon is the unlikely narrator of this rhyming story that takes the form of a response to a child’s observation, “Hello, Mr Moon … You’re up. You’re down. / Why so skinny/ and then so round?” Mr Moon then goes on to explain and is joined by a host of (mainly) nocturnal animals – a bat, a fox,

%0a

a badger, a fish an owl and a cat, each of which interjects an observation or a question for him, until the whole lunar cycle from new moon to full moon has been described and shown in Laura Watkins’ powerfully atmospheric woodland scenes.

%0a

Young children will enjoy the narrative – verbal and visual , learn some basic astronomical facts and at the same time absorb terms such as ‘gibbous’ from the context.
The teacher part of me does not like didactic directions but I appreciate that many adults may well find the “Next Steps’ suggestions on the final page helpful.

Time for a Poem

%0a
Jelly Boots Smelly Boots
Michael Rosen and David Tazzyman
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
I’m not sure who has more fun when it comes to Michael Rosen and poetry – the author or the children who read or listen to, his offerings. For this collection of over seventy rhymes, wordplays and musings including a sprinkling of ‘dustbin poems’ he has a new illustrator in the wonderful David Tazzyman; and as always it’s a cause for celebration. Rosen has the unfailing knack of drawing children in to his language meanderings and showing them what pleasures poetry has to offer. Try ‘Question Mark’ for starters …

%0a

or Mm? which begins thus: ‘Can you cancan on a can?/ Can you carwheel on a cart? / Will you whistle in the wind? ? Have you heard it in your heart?

%0a

I suspect this is going to be another of those collections where an adult chooses a poem, reads it to a class or group and is immediately asked for another and another and … Enough said! Try it and see.

%0a

Topsy Turvy Animals
Wes Magee and Tracey Tucker
QED
A plethora of animals pursuing unlikely pastimes are presented by poet Wes Magee in this crazy rhyming world where there are somersaulting tigers, stilt-walking meerkats, a cartwheeling moose and a pair of macaws that must be tired of life judging by where they’ve chosen to perform their ablutions …

dscn9036

And this poor cat is the unexpected recipient of a very large splat …

%0a

Tracey Tucker animates all this madness and more with riotous, appropriately garish scenes in a variety of settings – icy, sandy, rocky, mountainous, jungly and grassy.
The main messages children will pick up here are: that language is fun; and that if you give full rein to your imagination, anything can happen …

If like me, you believe that nursery rhymes should form the bedrock upon which a child can build a love of poetry, then this beautifully produced book may be of interest.

dscn9066

Classic Nursery Rhymes
illustrated by Dorothy M.Wheeler
Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Time was that the 29 rhymes contained herein were known by almost all young children starting school or a nursery class; sadly, that’s not so nowadays.
Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has written the foreword for this centenary publication of rhymes with art work  by Dorothy M. Wheeler whose claims to fame include being the illustrator of some of Enid Blyton’s books such as The Magic Faraway Tree. Her highly detailed watercolour illustrations for this book evoke a bygone era …

%0a

when the rhymes were learned on a mother’s or grandmother’s knee and perhaps sung around a family piano. (The second part of the book contains music for each rhyme.)

Good Night Like This and This and …

%0A
Good Night Like This
Mary Murphy
Walker Books
Adorable adult animal characters – a horse, a rabbit, a firefly, a bear, a duck, a cat and a mouse bid their respective, equally adorable infants good night in this lovely book. It’s one that uses soporific language ‘ Yawny and dozy, twitchy and cosy. Good night rabbits, sleep tight… ‘ to lull listeners into a sleepy mood too as they share in the rituals of the respective animals’ bedtime biddings …

%0A

and by turning the split pages can play their own part in the good nights …

%0A

before they too, enter the land of nod.
Gorgeous! Such a beautiful, dreamy colour palette, so much love and tenderness at every turn of the page – aaaahhh! Sweet dreams little ones. Sleep tight.

DSCN8424

Sleep, Little Pup
Jo Parry
QED
Insomnia hits us all from time to time and in this story told in a gentle rhyming text, it’s a cuddly-looking Pup that has tried all the usual ways of inducing sleep – sheep counting, star counting and even more puppish pursuits such as tail chasing, bone chewing, mice teasing and even howling at the moon: all to no avail. Out come the nocturnal bugs and beetles, the fireflies and moths and all sing a lullaby for Pup but he remains wide awake …

DSCN8425

so much so that when fox comes along, guess who joins the moonlit patrol. Over at the pond is where Pup finds himself next and there he stops for a bit of fish tickling, lilypad floating and frog-style leaping …

DSCN8427

Will he ever get some shut-eye?
Finally back to his basket comes a sad-looking Pup but then along comes his Mummy with a goodnight kiss and cuddle, and a new soft blanket. It’s that soft, warm snuggly blanket that at last, does the trick: sweet dreams little Pup; you’ve plenty to dream about.
With a cute main character and an equally lovable supporting cast, Little Pup is likely to win many friends among early years listeners: the text could well help induce sleepiness but not, I suspect, before the story’s over. Jo Parry’s scenes have a soft charm, similar to that blanket. One to add to the bedtime story shelf.

DSCN8540

Everyone Says Goodnight
Hiroyuki Arai
Chronicle Books
It’s Little Bear’s bedtime but first he needs some help packing away all his toys. Toddlers can assist by turning the split pages to get the toys in the toy box.
It’s also time for Little Bunny and Little Kitty to go to bed but they too have toys to put away and again ‘littles’ can assist, as they can those three little piglets –

DSCN8541

they have a kitchen play set to put in the box …

DSCN8542

Now finally, we need to get those children tucked up too and then it’s …

DSCN8543

Gentle interactive fun for tinies at bedtime and just the thing to encourage them to tidy up first like the characters in this cute little book.

DSCN8531

My Dreams
Xavier Deneux
Twirl
A small child shares his dreams – flying high a-back a huge bird or soaring on a magic carpet, entertaining a princess in her tower, playing on an enormous slide …

%0A

or participating in a game of hide and seek in a poppy field, or enjoying a ride on a dinosaur’s back or even that of a whale.

DSCN8533

All these fanciful scenarios take our dreamer far from home; but then it’s time to return to a place of quiet calm and perhaps finally, some snuggly stillness …
With its ‘glow in the dark’ silvery tactile component of every dream scene, this small chunky book is a delight at every turn of the page; and the limited colour palette is used to great effect, heightening the whole nocturnal drama.

WNDB_Buttonlocalbookshops_NameImage-2

Scruffle Bear, Ellie, Cyril Squirrel and Love

DSCN8419

There’s Only One Scruffle
Robert Dunn
QED
Almost all children have a favourite soft toy and so it is with Ellie: she and her bear Scruffle are inseparable. Her parents cannot understand this Scruffle obsession – after all he’s patched, has an eye missing and is more than a little stinky! That reminds me of  ‘Bobby’ a bear I’ve kept ever since I was a very young child in Pakistan many, many years ago.
He must be replaced decides Ellie’s mum and presents her with this … Now you don’t need me to tell you how Ellie feels about this, nor will you be surprised at what she does next …

DSCN8421

Mum remains upbeat, trying to cajole Ellie and persuade her to give the newcomer a try. Ellie decides a walk might help her think and off she goes with new bear on her mind. He’s also on her mind as she assists Grandad with the gardening …

DSCN8423

and while she paints Scruffle a picture. By now, new bear is looking a little less like new and smelling well – disgusting! Not fit to be played with Ellie declares handing Scruffle to Mum who’s still wondering what her daughter sees in him. Could it perhaps be that two smelly bears could be accommodated in Ellie’s household? What do you think? I think a wash is definitely the order of the day …
Young children will immediately empathise with Ellie, giggle over her treatment of new bear and have plenty to say about the ending. The story’s a good one to prompt discussion about favourite toys, as well as coping with change and showing love.

DSCN8443

Cyril Squirrel Finds Out About Love
Jane Evans and Izzy Bean
Jessica Kingsley Publishers
Cyril is a lively creature and also very inquisitive; the thing he spends most time pondering on is love: What is it? “Can I find it and keep it? Do I need it?” he wonders. He decides to write a list of questions on the subject to ask his friends Carrie Crow, Dan Deer, Ramon Rat and Dafiya Dormouse, but none can supply answers. Instead, Dafiya suggests Cyril goes to look for love and having left an explanatory note and taken a few supplies, off he goes next day.
On his journey he encounters a bird that is amused to hear what Cyril is searching for and offers a demonstration of its version of love – ‘being held by a warm wing’.

%0A

Other creatures provide different love suggestions: rabbit demonstrates with a warm smile, and with a “Buzzzzzzzzzz,” bee provides a ‘soft, soothing sound’. All these expand Cyril’s understanding of love and on his notepad he writes ‘Some of us have different maps to find love.’
Other animals he comes across further add to his list of ideas – that of Poppa Hedgehog demonstrating how sometimes love can be a bit puzzling …

%0A

until eventually Cyril heads home where his friends are waiting, eager to find out about his quest. It’s in their reception of him that Cyril finally comes to know a crucial fact about that all-important word: that seemingly small acts of love can have a huge impact;

%0A

and not only for those on the receiving end, I suggest.
There are many beautiful picture books on the market with love as an inherent theme. This one, with its cartoon-style illustrations and in-built questions is likely to promote lots of discussion among youngsters and will, I hope help to enlarge their understanding of such a vital concept. To that end there are some suggested activities and a guide for adults on the last two pages. Written by an expert on trauma, parenting and related topics, this is definitely one for the early years shelf in nurseries and for children’s centres.

WNDB_Button localbookshops_NameImage-2

Could a Monkey Waterski? Could a Tiger Walk a Tightrope?

DSCN6661 (800x600)

Could a Monkey Waterski?
Could a Tiger Walk a Tightrope?
Camilla de la Bédoyère and Aleksei Bitskoff
QED
The title questions and a whole host of other unlikely possibilities are considered in the latest additions to this series, a double spread being devoted to the explorations of each ‘What if …’, ‘Could a tiger… ?’ or ‘Would a monkey… ?’ put forward.
These books aren’t all crazy imaginings though; lots of fascinating information about the animals is provided as each scenario is focused upon. So, yes a capuchin monkey could waterski – both right way up and upside down; that’s on account of having big toes that work like thumbs …

DSCN6660 (800x600)

Said monkey would enjoy a visit to a noodle bar too – those opposable thumbs again; but there would have to be some garnishing of the noodles for real capuchin contentment in this instance.
And the tiger? Well, we all know the one who came to tea so why not dinner, just as long as you have one hundred tins of cat food stashed away in your cupboards. That would be sufficient to keep your visitor going for three days; and don’t expect anyone/anything else to get a look in – tigers hate sharing food.
A tightrope walking tiger? Seems, like all cats, tigers are ace balancers,

DSCN6659 (800x600)

assisted by their tails which contribute towards super steadiness.
In addition to all this fun stuff, there are in each book, a straightforward “More about …’ fact file double spread and a final postcard from their respective South American/Asian habitats.
If you like information mixed with entertainment (and I know a fair number of children who do) then these are worth seeking out for the lower primary classroom.

Use your local bookshop       localbookshops_NameImage-2

Fabulous Frogs, Elephants and other creatures

DSCN5724 (800x600)

Fabulous Frogs
Martin Jenkins and Tim Hopgood
Walker Books
I’ll never forget an experience I had in Udaipur, Rajasthan a few years back: during the monsoon time I was caught in a downpour and suddenly hundreds of tiny frogs about the size of a finger nail (and those tiny New Guineas frogs depicted herein) came raining (seemingly) down from the sky. I never knew from where they had really originated – drainpipes and gullies perhaps – but it sparked an interest in these fascinating creatures. I’ve since seen many different kinds in other parts of India, especially the Kerala coast where I had a resident frog that performed acrobatics on my washing line; and every evening also in the monsoon we would be serenaded by a mesmerising frogs’ chorus from the trees and bushes …

DSCN5726 (800x600)

Then there were the tree frogs whose foam nests we saw on branches overhanging the pond very similar to these African ones …

DSCN5727 (800x600)

None of the frog species featured in this lovely picture book is Indian but each one the conservation biologist Martin Jenkins has selected is strange and wonderful in its own way, not least being the Darwin’s Frog. The male puts the soon-to-be hatched eggs in its throat, keeping them and later, the tadpoles, safe therein.
Then there’s the world’s largest, enormous (for a frog) Goliath Frog from West Africa that eats other frogs on occasion.
Illustrator, Tim Hopgood has done these and the other frogs proud in his cracking pictures. A frogilicious book!

DSCN5719 (800x600)

Would an Elephant Enjoy the Seaside?
Camilla de la Bédoyère and Aleksei Bitskoff
QED Publishing
The title of the book is just one of the amusing scenarios explored in this attractive book. Others include
‘Could an elephant join an art class?’ …

DSCN5720 (800x600)

and “How would an elephant say “hello”? Certainly the library would be an ideal place – elephants raise their trunks and trumpet … They also talk quietly … ‘by making low rumbling sounds that pass down their legs

DSCN5721 (800x600)

and into the ground.’ This is picked up by the feet of elephants far away.
Fascinating information such as this is conveyed in a manner that is likely to stay with the reader who is one hopes, then motivated to go on to find out more. Equally importantly this book and others in the series will foster that crucial ‘What if …’ notion in young children.
Also in the series and equally entertaining and informative is:

DSCN5722 (800x600)

Could a Crocodile Play Basketball?
Camilla de la Bédoyère and Aleksei Bitskoff
QED Publishing

DSCN5723 (800x600)

Just imagine one of those jaw snappers in your early years classroom …

DSCN5672 (800x600)

Children’s Animal Atlas
Barbara Tylor, Katrin Wiehle and Martin Sanders
QED
More than a mere atlas, this book has a pocket inside the front cover containing a fold-out poster map, half a dozen postcards to write from various animal locations, a spotter’s guide with facts and a quiz and pages of stickers, that can be used as the reader chooses.

DSCN5728 (800x600)

Find and Colour
illustrated by Joel Dreidemy
QED
For those youngsters around 5ish who like colouring with a few facts thrown in, is this pack of eight books (almost all with an animal theme) complete with pens. As it says on every cover: ‘things to colour and facts to discover’. Just the thing for rainy days and long journeys.

Use your local bookshop         localbookshops_NameImage-2