Tag Archives: Non-fiction

Book of the Month: BUGS by Simon Tyler

book of the monthSimon Tyler is an author illustrator and graphic designer with a passion for presenting facts and information in accessible and aesthetically pleasing ways.  He has absolutely succeeded in doing that with Book of the Month, Bugs, which he wrote and illustrated in association with the Buglife conservation charity. Published by Pavilion Books, Bugs is simply one of the most gorgeous books I’ve seen this year so a very suitable choice for Book of the Month, in celebration of National Non Fiction November!

 

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BUGS written and illustrated Simon Tyler

Enter the fascinating world of bugs with this book which will introduce you to some of the strangest, scariest, biggest and smallest insects around.  Discover the bug with a 30cm tongue, get to know the insect that east dung for dinner, and meet the ant that can paralyse with a single sting. 

What strikes you instantly about this glorious book are the stunning illustrations and incredible use of colour.  Each image is beautifully detailed allowing you to get up close to some amazing life forms.

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Bursting with fascinating facts there are over 50 bugs featured, with all types of information about the wonderful world of insects; their habits, senses, defences, what they eat and where they live.

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The presentation and production quality is really special, making this a wonderful book to give as a gift to any insect enthusiast – or indeed anyone curious about the world around them.

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There’s a helpful glossary to decipher the scientific terms used and the first few pages give a brilliant introduction to insects in general. With an attractive font and accessible layout, Bugs is a lovely book for all the family to share and even if you’re not fond of creepy crawlies, I think this book could convert you!

Find out more at www.simontyler.co.uk 

With thanks to Pavilion Books for sending me this book to review.

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Guest blog: Mixing Fact and Fiction by Jane Clarke

I’m delighted to welcome Jane Clarke to the blog today, author of Al’s Awesome Science: Egg-speriments, a brilliant new series of science-based adventures for younger readers.  Whether they are budding scientists or maybe are just curious about how the world works, this series is sure to entertain them. Full of great characters (I particularly love Einstein the dog!), wonderful illustrations by James Brown and of course, super science experiments that can easily be tried at home, Al’s Awesome Science is a fantastic blend of fact and fiction. Jane, an award winning author of over 80 children’s books, is sharing today how she achieves this.  Welcome to the blog Jane!

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“In the Al’s Awesome Science books, I aim to write a great story, filled with fun science facts and experiments, that’s an entertaining read regardless of how much the reader knows about the subject. Continue reading

New reviews: Cool Coding and Cool Physics

Cool Coding by Robert Hansen and Cool Physics by Dr Sarah Hutton both illustrated by Damien Weighill.

When these gorgeous two books arrived there was a scramble as to who would look at them first – me, the boys or my husband! Aimed at older children and interested adults, both books are a fantastic introduction to the areas of science they’re focused on.  My eldest is due to start GCSE Computing Science in September so he has claimed Cool Coding for himself – not before I’d had a read of course! Cool Physics will be a useful addition to the shelf in support of GCSE Science – and may even help me help my son with his Science homework now and then!! A continuation of the Cool Science series from Pavilion Books, Cool Coding and Cool Physics are great reads.

In the digital age, information books have a lot to compete with in terms of accessibility and interest with information being so readily available online. The best non fiction books have to work hard to attract their readers and these books are absolutely right up there with the competition being both user friendly and informative with a great layout.  Even the size is appealing.  The colourful illustrations and diagrams ably support the information being given and help describe the ideas for activities and experiment. Each book is full of fascinating facts – for instance did you know the first ever computer weighed twice as much as a full-grown African Elephant?! Or that Sir Isaac Newton was also warden of the Royal Mint?!

I’m always saying to students in the library that so many books present information in such a friendly way and are so much easier to navigate than the internet as a starting point for research; these books are a great example of this! Both present the information in short paragraphs, accompanied by bullet points or soundbite boxes which convey a wealth of ideas and a comprehensive, easy-to-understand overview of complex subjects.  I would thoroughly recommend both books as great introductions to the topics they’re focused on and to support learning in these areas.  They’re also a great option for children who are don’t want to read fiction and prefer fact books; even the most reluctant reader couldn’t fail to find these books fun!

Thank you to Pavilion for sending me these books to review.

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New reviews: Nature with Nosy Crow and the National Trust

The National Trust and Nosy Crow have produced some lovely books of late, with a view to encouraging children to explore nature.  And these two are no exception, both of which we took on holidays and they proved extremely useful whilst camping in the wilds of Devon and Cornwall! 

Go Wild in the Woods An Adventure Handbook by Goldie Hawk & Rachael Saunders and Out and About Night Explorer by Robin Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb are two brilliant books for children who want to know more about the outside world.  And what better time to explore than during summer? With a few weeks left of the holidays these books might just be the answer for those of you looking for something different to do!

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I really love this! The Complete Night Explorer’s Kit is a fantastic package with a cute little backpack for small hands; a map of the night sky (both hemispheres); a set of glow in the dark star stickers; a little torch and of course, a book Out and About Night ExplorerIMG_4860

We took the whole thing camping and our youngest (aged 7 almost 8) loved it! We attempted to use the night sky map but cloud cover meant we couldn’t – however we will definitely try again. The book itself is full of information about nocturnal creatures from owls to mini beasts as well as night time plant life.  There are helpful hints so you can find wildlife with suggestions such as keeping an eye out for animal poo (which of course my son found hilarious!) and how to spot animal tracks.

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The book also has some great activities whatever the season or time of day, which reinforces the fun to be had being involved with nature and how to help Great British wildlife. I particularly liked the ideas for building a hedgehog feeding place in the garden.

There are colourful illustrations throughout, a useful index, a quiz and even night time games suggestions.  All in all this is a great book for encouraging intrepid young explorers and their parents to take a closer look at the world around them!  It would make a great gift and is perfect for ages 5+ (younger children will need to share the reading with an adult or older sibling).

Find out more at www.nosycrow.com

 

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Go Wild in the Woods An Adventure Handbook is a similar idea but for older children aged 8+.  It’s a lovely pocket sized book that aims to help children stay safe in the woods, but also discover all the magic nature has to offer with advice for everything from building dens, to how to tie knots to foraging for food and cooking over a campfire!

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The book invites children to get to know the outdoors and introduces map reading skills and all important survival skills such as finding water. Think Bear Grylls!  The lovely illustrations give it a story book feel and perfectly capture the joy of discovering nature with friends and family.

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I particularly liked that there’s a really useful glossary and ultimate survival kit guide with sensible suggestions of what you might need to take when exploring in the woods. We made use of this on some of our day trips! As a young girl I was fortunate to be raised in the countryside and spent hours every day exploring, climbing trees and making camps. I would have found this book so useful then too!

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Go Wild in the Woods is a celebration of the wonder of nature with practical ideas that will help children make the most of the outdoors, whilst staying safe. And I suspect many parents and carers will appreciate the hints and tips too!  Well timed for summer, this book would be a great addition to the holiday backpack and give children loads of ideas of things to do outside.

Find out more at www.nosycrow.com.

With thanks to Nosy Crow for sending me these books to review.

 

Guest review: Outdoor fun and nutty nature; what’s not to like?!

On this beautiful sunny day, it seems very apt to be posting about two brilliant new books by Andy Seed that celebrate nature and the world of fun that can be had outdoors.  And to tell you all about them in a guest post is my husband, Mr Dilly. When these arrived via bookpost he was quick to grab them from the TBR pile. Such was his enjoyment of them he wanted to share it with everyone, so welcome Mr Dilly and thank you for joining the blog today!

“Thank you for having me! When I was a child, I spent a lot of time playing with my friends and family – outside. Be it with cobbled together ‘guns’ and re-enacting famous battle scenes from bits of wood my dad had left lying around; riding our bikes down all kinds of slopes and frequently crashing headfirst into things; sledging down icy slopes on bits of polythene sheeting until our backsides were frozen, not really thinking of the barbed wire fence promising imminent injury at the bottom of our triumphant sledge runs!

I’m sure some of these things will spark similar memories from most of a certain age. Talking to my father, his childhood wasn’t much different in the sense that so much time was spent playing outside. That’s been the way for generations. For today’s age the lure of screens seems to have put an end to much of this, a huge shame, as staying inside and playing with what is essentially someone else’s imagination and not our own is not our ‘natural’ game.

So on the back of this comes two books from Andy Seed that I can’t recommend enough, ‘The Anti Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things To Do‘ (illustrated by Scott Garrett, published by Bloomsbury) and ‘Nutty Nature Facts and Jokes’ (illustrated by Sarah Horne, published by Nosy Crow in association with The National Trust). The perfect antidote to anyone who thinks playing outside is boring and sees nothing fun in nature. Full of ideas, fun facts, jokes and complemented with fantastic illustrations they are a great way to entertain the kids (and yourself!).

‘The Anti Boredom Book of Brilliant Outdoor Things To Do‘  has games galore to play outdoors.’ Blind Man’s Splash ‘ sounds great fun, and will be happening in my household when things warm up a bit…blindfolds and water pistols: what’s not to like?! Then there are things to make such as giant bubbles, which I did with my nephew, niece and son, just pure fascination and joy from them as they all competed to make the biggest bubble! There are so many activities and ideas all put together in fun and accessible way for all the family no matter what their age. Next up for my family…build a bivouac…yes I had no idea what one was either!

‘Nutty Nature Facts and Jokes’.  Well all I can say is me and my 7 year old son sat down to read this and ended up in floods of tears of laughter – his favourite joke? “How do you keep flies out of the kitchen? Put a bucket of poo in the living room’. Childish right? But that’s the point, and what an antidote to much of the other imagery floating about and aimed supposedly at kids nowadays. This book was just hilarious in parts, fascinating as well, with so many interesting facts alongside the jokes. Easy to pick up and flick though for children aged 5 onward – I say onward because I have considerable years on that and found it fantastic! On that note, I leave you with another joke: ‘Famous people who love nature – Elvis Parsley’….Elvis has left the building, and so should you; take the kids and buy these books and then get outside. You won’t regret it!”

Thank you Mr Dilly.  I will add that, to see anyone (but of course especially family) enjoying books in the way mine enjoyed these two books is quite simply a joy!  

Find out more at www.andyseed.com, www.sarahhorne.co.uk and www.garrettworld.co.uk

With thanks to Bloomsbury and Nosy Crow for sending these great books for review.