Book reviews - non fiction ages 5-7 (page 1)

Call the Police (In An Emergency) by Cath Senker

This is one in a very useful series which supports KS1 learning about the people who help us. Illustrated throughout with many colour photos, it shows all the varied aspects of police work - I like the way it doesn't shy away from the less pleasant side, for example by showing a prisoner in a cell. It also includes very practical advice on keeping safe while out and about. I found the glossary particularly useful as it is quite extensive for a book for this age group - a good feature.

Bulldozer (Working Wheels) by Annabel Savery

Big vehicles always fascinate children, especially boys, and this is a super way to encourage them to read and learn reference skills at the same time. Bulldozers are big sturdy, earth-moving machines and this book with its excellent colour photos shows them at work at construction sites, in mines and in quarries. The clear contents, glossary and index are ideal learning tools. There is also a page which will be very welcome to teachers which gives ideas for a variety of bulldozer activities. The series Working Wheels looks at the exciting world of working machines and the jobs that they do.

Rainforest (Leapfrog Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

The rainforest is a beautiful world which children will study at various stages through school. This is a good introduction as young children discover the magical world of the rainforest, from weird plants to big bugs! Leapfrog Learners offer fun facts in accessible text, perfect for building reading confidence. The attractive layout, colour photos and speech bubble information boxes add to the appeal.

Minibeasts (Outdoor Explorers) by Sandy Green

This is one in an excellent classroom series for young children featuring activities for learning outdoors. The book is illustrated with photos which show children exploring the world of minibeasts and there are suggested activities on each page.  At the end 'notes for adults' gives tips for getting high-quality learning from the activities. The books are a brilliant resource for using to support outdoor lessons and trips further abroad. The page of 'Activity Ideas' is a particularly useful feature with its wide range of suggestions.

Bugs (Discover and Share) by Angela Royston

Children will love to learn about the world of bugs, from wriggly caterpillars to busy weaver ants. The excellent photos give close up detail to intrigue children.  It is one in a series of differentiated text books which include both lower level text  ideal for emerging readers and higher level text to suit more able readers. The large, square format encourages sharing and the index and glossary encourage good research skills.

Move and Run (Healthy Habits) by Sue Barraclough

Find out how humans and animals move - and why they need to move to keep healthy. The 'Think about it' question boxes are excellent for promoting discussion. Teachers' notes at the beginning of the book show how to get the best out of the book and are practical and useful. Illustrated with stunning photographs and featuring tips and advice for healthy living, this series will engage as well as inform. Also in the series  Wash and Clean (Healthy Habits) and Sleep and Rest (Healthy Habits)

Call an Ambulance (In an Emergency) by Cath Senker

We've all read those touching news items that tell of very young children saving lives by calling an ambulance - now here's a perfect book to help all young children to know what to do in case of an urgent need for medical help. Who takes care of us in an emergency? Read this book to find out all about the very important work carried out by our ambulance service, and to learn what you should do in a medical emergency. There is plenty of practical guidance here, all based on everyday situations. It is clear and informative and not alarmist. An excellent way to prepare children to cope with emergencies.

A Year of Christian Festivals (Festival Time) by Flora York

This is a fascinating look at the main Christian festivals of the year. It shows how these festivals were celebrated in the past and today. It's packed with relevant activities to enhance children's appreciation - making a harvest banner, decorating eggs and creating a Christingle are just some - perfect for classroom use. Children's understanding of the importance of these festivals will be enhanced by the understanding of how they have evolved from the past. The book is illustrated with glorious colour photos which bring the festivals to life.

Look at This: Home by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Frances Lincoln excel in the production of multi-cultural books and here are two more to add to their collection - these are set in Mali, West Africa and are packed with vibrant colour photos that capture the culture excellently. Cooking pot, stool, basket, water pot and sleeping mat… All kinds of things around the home, with a vibrant mix of Western and traditional African objects. A first words book with a difference, giving lots of scope for further exploration.

Look at This: Play by Ifeoma Onyefulu

This colourful photo book shows manty of the games that are familiar to our children, but played in a very different setting. Hopscotch, cat's cradle, hide and seek are all familiar - not so familiar are waly and a ay. Perhaps adults could find out how to play these and share them with the children reading the book. Photographed in Mali by an award-winning photographer, this is a unique and culturally diverse word book.There is so much here for children to talk about, as they look at the differences (and similarities) in the excellent photos - there are two pictures showing each game.

Poland (Popcorn - Countries) by Ruth Thomson

A simple introduction to the country of Poland, enabling KS1 children to learn about  the people and places of Poland for themselves. The comprehensive coverage includes land and sea, weather, town and country, homes, shopping, food, sport, holidays and festivals. THere are even some Polish words to learn and the opportunity to try a traditional Polish craft. Colourful layout with plenty of photos makes this an appealing series. The pages are easy to navigate with careful use of font and colour. 

Playground Rides (Ways into Technology) by Richard and Louise Spilsbury

This series is a simple introduction to technology for young children. They are so familiar and competent with technology that it is excellent for them to learn what lies behind technology and the amazing ways in which things work. Playground Rides looks at the familiar objects from the palyground and builds on these with a series of inetersting activities. As well as building models, the playground is used as a way of teaching about shape, materials, bar graphs and more. Throughout the book, there are prompts for questions that encourage children to think about and reason on the activities. Clear and colourful, this is an excellent book.

Questions and Answers (Lift the Flap) by Katie Daynes

It's good to see a lift-the-flap fact book for a slightly younger age group than most. They are such a good way to intrigue children and to get them guessing even before they lift the flap.There are 75 commonly asked questions and over 60 flaps to explore.  Bold, question words headings - Who? Why? Where? How? When? What? and Which? bring together the questions, which are simply answered. The illustrations are both entertaining and informative, and the text is written simply and clearly, with an added touch of humour.The cartoon style illustrations are amusing and children will respond well to them. Produced in sturdy card, with card flaps, this is a book which will withstand lots of enthusiastic reading. This is the age when children are constantly questioning - capitalise on it by getting them a copy of this super book.

Seasons (First Facts) by Marie Greenwood

Young children will easily relate to this book, as they watch the seasons unfurl around them, and idenfify in real life the things depicted in the book. Bright colourful illustrations combine with simple text to develop reading confidence. Each season is covered over several pages, with pictures of plants and animals to show how things change. Take this book out and about with you as you and your child enjoy the changing seasons - this will encourage their observational skills as well as encourage an interest in nature. The sturdy pages make this a durable book, which will be used over and again. An index and glossary help early reference skills too. 

Look At This! Clothes by Ifeoma Onyefulu

This is an excellent book for classroom and library use, to help children understand another culture. The vibrant traditional clothing of Mali is shown alongside Western-type clothing and gives a lovely picture of the children of this country. Photographed in Mali by a multi-award-winning author, this is a unique and culturally diverse word book, with lots to look at and talk about. It gives a fascinating glimpse of a different world and the photographs are wonderful.

Look At This! Food by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Interestingly, the foods are shown in both their raw and cooked form and this gives an excellent introduction to African foods. Just one word accompanies each photo, but there is still plenty to talk aboit as you enjoy the bright photos with your child or in the classroom. Ifeoma Onyefulu has written many books about Africa - she was brought up in Nigeria and her love for the country shines through in her books. IAs the food available in our shops becomes more and more diverse, so some of the foods shown in this book may become familiar to us.

Brown Bear (Eye On the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

Follow two baby brown bears hrough the stunning photos in this book, from birth to fully grown. The photos all show their life in the mountains of Alaska. 'The cubs love to play-fight, chase each other and climb about on logs.' Children will love the playful bears and they will be learning how they grow up at the same time. In a complete cycle, by the end of the book they are ready to start their own families. With its unique focus on birth to adulthood, and stunning photographs taken on location, the Eye on the Wild series is a brilliant introduction to animals in the wild.

Lion (Eye On the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

This brilliantly photographed series is a wonderful way to give children an insight into the way animals grow up in their natural habitats. Here, they can enjoy seeing the tiny lion enjoying life with his family right from birth. They see him chasing his mother's tail in the den, meeting her father for the first time, taking naps and learning to hunt. Finally, at two years old, the lion cub is fully grown and ready to bring cubs of her own into the pride. The books in the series include fact files about the animal, conservation information and contact details.

Space (Smart Kids) by Sarah Powell

The landscape format of this book gives plenty of room for an exciting exploration of space, ideal for children of 5+. The layout is striking, with dark backgrounds showing the photographs off very well. Headings are in a large font, ideal for young readers, and the photos are clearly labelled. The text is easy to understand and key words are highlighted and explained in the glossary. Key facts are given in boxes and there is a useful timeline. Lots of information and well presented.

 Farm (Discover More) by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris

This is an excellent book which will be relevant to a wider age range than many books. Big print is used to give basic information and then smaller print provides additional information, meaning that a child can use the book and then return to it as his reading skills develop. The pages are thin card, meaning the book will withstand lots of use. The book is lavishly illustrated with photos, with excellent use being made of small photos to illustrate a variety of points. THere is also a digital companion book and a code is provided so this can be downloaded. A well though out book good for home and school use.

World Food Alphabet by Chris Caldicott

A wonderful celebration of food from all around the world, all depicted in colour stunning colour photographs, in an interesting and unusual approach. From apricot to zucchini, via honey and spices, foods and things associated with eating, such as kitchens and utensils, brief text gives facts to expand on the photos. Find out what Moroccans eat for a healthy snack; how ice is sold in Bangladesh, visit a kitchen in in the Rajasthan desert and a market in Hanoi. We are given important information on conservation, fair trade and food waste as well.


Who Was Isambard Kingdom Brunel? by Kay Barnham

Each title in this series answers key questions about a historical figures. There is a time line to place the person in a historical content - this is really valuable, as otherwise children find it hard to appreciate exactly where a person fits in.  'It's true' panels give interesting and unusual facts about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which are easy for children to remember. Very clear and uncluttered, with one photo on each page, this is excellent for children just starting to do their own research.

On the Move (Be an Eco Hero) by Sue Barraclough

An omportant issue - how to conserve our planet's precious resources - is addressed through objects and activities familiar to young children. There are plenty of practical suggestions - some of them for children to suggest to their parents, such as the ones relating to car travel. Others are things children can action themselves, teaching them to take responsibility. Plenty of colour photos and clear layout, complemented by some useful activities.

Castles (Leapfrog Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

Many children - and not only boys - prefer to read non-fiction, especially when it is as attractively presented as the Leapfrog Learners books. Find out lots of fun facts about castles -  who lived in them, how they were built, learn about moats and dungeons and more. Brightly coloured pages and full page illustrations make this book very attractive. Leapfrog learners offer fun facts in accessible text, perfect for building reading confidence.

Funniest Minibeasts (Leapfrog Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

Minibeasts are a perennial favourite with children, as well as being a topic studied in Foundation Stage. Find out lots of fun facts about minibeasts, from what they eat to how they move, written in simple text perfect for newly independent readers. Leapfrog Learners include a quiz with answers, to test and reinforce children's learning. The glossary and index are useful learning tools. 

Anne Frank (Famous People, Great Events) by Harriet Castor

A clear, easy-to-read text and appealing coloured drawings, a useful timeline, a quiz, g;lossary and index all help to reinforce learning. There is just the right amount of information to keep the attention of young children and the emotional story of Anne Frank is bound to make a lasting impression. It is handled sensitively, with just enough mention of Anne's fate, but concentrating on her life as shown through her diary.

Exploring Electricity (A Sense of Science) by Claire Llewellyn

Discover science through the use of the senses, as we use our five senses to understand the world around us. Young children can learn much about electricity by looking, listening and using the other senses - but with care where electricity is concerned. There are plenty of activities for adults and children to share, and an experiment to set up a circuit will reinforce learning.

My Holiday in ... Italy by Susie Brooks

Often children find it hard to grasp the concept of travelling and just how far the aeroplane takes them. This My Holiday In... series offers a simple introduction to these ideas and to the new experience of going on holiday to another country. A colourful map locates the country and some of the areas visited in the book. The typical things about holidays are included - weather, food, landscape, accommodation, the people, language and sights. Learn how to make your own Leaning Tower of Pizza! Useful words are included, but there is no index. Each page has italian words to learn, A wide variety of design features makes this an attractive, almost scrapbook style book.

Cats (See How They Grow) by Kathyrn Walker

An explanation about cats is followed by pages showing a stage in their life cycle - most of the book focuses on the domestic cat. From birth to adulthood, we see what the cat eats, where they live, their different types and characteristics.The photos are excellent and children will love them! An index and glossary complete this useful book, ideal to support the study of life cycles in KS1. As with all Hachette books, the author is an experienced writer for children.

Cereals (See How Plants Grow) by Nicola Edwards

We are all too familiar with the fact that children see food on the supermarket shelves and have very little idea where it actually comes from. This book describes what cereals are, where they grow, what they are for, and the variety of cereals that grow around the world. It also introduces germination and the start of plant growth, and how plants make food. Following a look at the variety of food we get from cereals the book shows readers how to grow their own cereals. The book includes cereal fact boxes that highlight additional information, and a glossary and index. It is illustrated with full colour photos throughout.

Spring (The Changing Seasons) by Paul Humphrey

A book for very early readers, with one sentence per page and carefully selected language. Big colourful photos, plenty showing children enjoying this exciting season, enhance the book. Find out about all the things that happen during the growing months of spring and look at how plants, animals and people adapt to the changing season. Each book has a simple text, with one sentence per page and stunning large photographs. THere are lots of project ideas, ideal for home or school and   useful teaching and literacy notes for teachers or parents.

 By the Seaside (Popcorn: Where I Live) by Fiona Macdonald

The interesting thing about this series is the fact that the books are written from the viewpoint of children who live in these places. This makes them much more interesting and relevant to their readers. Children can find out what everyday life really is like in a seaside town all the year round. Generously illlustrated with colourful photos and written in a clearly understandable form, these books are a great support to KS1 studies of where we live.  On an Island (Popcorn: Where I Live) is about a young girl who lives on the small island of Coll.

 China (Popcorn: Countries) by Alice Harman

Currently, there are 10 books in this series about countries for KS1 readers. They are the ideal introduction and make an excellent basis for topic work. Simple language, glossary and index plus colourful photos and layout all combine to make these books very accessible. A few words in Mandarin are here to be learnt, plus a craft project. Pakistan (Popcorn: Countries) includes words in Urdu, plus a craft project - a lorry to decorate.

Village Home (Homes Around the World) by Nicole Barber

Village Home looks at locations as varied as Turkey to Canada, from Africa to Russia. The variety of homes and how they are built is focused upon, together with the themes of weather, environment, travel, work, school and play in a village setting. The map at the end helps to place each type of home in its wider context. The series looks at a variety homes in geographically-diverse locations and readers are encouraged to ask questions about their own homes and how the homes in other areas differ. The series raises awareness of the wider world.

At Home (How Have Things Changed?) by James Nixon

A fascinating topic! The series looks at how daily life in the past compares with the present through photographs. THis title encourages children to think about their own homes - when they were built; how homes have changed; and how what goes on inside the home has changed. Plenty of photos keep interest alive and the text is easy to read. Children will enjoy spotting familiar objects and seeing how things have evolved.  

 Yellow (Colours Around Me) by Anita Loughrey

So much around us is yellow - and what a lot of different yellows too!  There are lots of activities for children too - spotting the yellow objects in a variety of scenes and plenty of opportunities to spot yellow objects around us - great for observational skills and plenty of chance for discussion too. I like the way this series focuses on just one colour. It gives plenty of opportunity to show all manner of objects, and to bring in other concepts as well - such as size and shape.Bright and cheerful, this is a lovely series for children just learning about the wonderful world of colour - buy the series! Green (Colours Around Me), Blue (Colours Around Me), Red (Colours Around Me).

Saving Water (Green Kids) by Neil Morris

Did you know that cleaning a car with a hosepipe uses 6 times as much water as using buckets? Knowing facts like this helps us all to see the need to save water, showing the value of this book. Colourfully presented, with super photos and artwork, and appealingly laid out. It is totally relevant to our everyday lives and packed with interesting tips and information. An excellent series to help children understand the environmental issues facing the world today, and showing them how we can all do our bit to help through the activities which to encourage children to reuse, reduce and recycle. Look out for some more in the series -  Recycling (Green Kids) Saving Energy (Green Kids)

Ancient Egyptians (Kingfisher Readers Level 5) by Philip Steele

Combining children's desire to learn to read with the opportunity to find out about their favourite topics is a sure-fire way to encourage reading. Here children can learn about the Ancient Egyptians through colourful illustrations and carefully graded text. Level 5 is for children who are reading fluently. Fact boxes, glossary and index make this a practical and useful book.
"For the first time, Kingfisher brings its expertise in beautifully-designed, trusted non-fiction to the sphere of learning to read. This new graded reading series will grip children’s interest. Developed with literacy experts, the five-level series will guide young readers as they build confidence and fluency in their literacy skills and progress towards reading alone."

 Pirates (Kingfisher Readers Level 4) by Philip Steele

Pirates seem to be an increasingly popular subject for school topics, so this book is very welcome. Find out about pirates, their ships, their life at sea - how they lived and how they died. Generously illustrated with photos, pictures and diagrams, this is a most attractive book and a great incentive to reading. This book is Level 4 - suitable for children newly able to read alone.

Acorn to Oak Tree (LifeCycles) by Camilla De La Bedoyere

The first thing that struck me about this book was the stunning quality of the photographs - they are really excellent and well displayed by the attractive way the book is laid out. We learn about oak trees and how acorns form; how they fall to earth and germinate to creat the next generation of these majestic trees. Each step is illustrated in detail, with just enough text to explain.The ever-popular topic of life cycles is covered extensively in this series from QED Publishing. Puppy to Dog (Life Cycles), Egg to Bee (Life Cycles), Fry to Seahorse (Life Cycles) and Egg to Penguin (Life Cycles) are just some in this extremely varied series. Excellent!

At Home (Be An Eco Hero) by Susan Barraclough

Within the familiar setting of the home, this shows children how they can play their part in saving energy and water and reducing, reusing and recycling. This is an important message so to present it for KS1 children in an easily understandable and practical form, as in this book, is excellent. Full of practical tips, there are ideas here for all of us! Attractively presented, with good use of inset fact boxes.The series is an introduction to environmental issues such as pollution, saving energy and recycling, set in a familiar environment.

Exploring Animal Life (A Sense of Science) by Claire Llewellyn

The cover gives us lovely idea of the wonders and variety of animal life. Children learn about different types of animals, where they live, how they move, what they eat and lots more. Simple text, interwoven with the bright, clear and colourful pictures, is easy to understand and informative. There are activites and questions to involve and interest children, and they can learn to make a creepy-crawly trap. An index and glossary complete the book.

Becoming Queen Elizabeth II (Famous People Famous Events) by Gillian Clements

Just right for this Jubilee year, this is the story of a young woman who was not expected to become Queen. Find out about our Queen's early life, up to the time of her coronation Personally, I was not taken by the style of the pictures of people but I think they may appeal to children. The other illustrations are fun, though. One in a series of picture books suitable for ages 6-12. They tell the stories of famous men and women and great events in history. Written by successful authors, they are enjoyable reads which are packed with facts and colourful illustrations. Each book includes a timeline of key dates, a quiz and index.

Florence Nightingale (Famous People Great Events) by Emma Fischel

Children in KS1 learn about Florence Nightingale, so this book will be welcome to add to the resources available. It's great for children to have a range of books to refer to, so they learn to extract a little information from each. Florence Nightingale had opportunities not open to many women in her era, but she was determined to help the sick. Interestingly, this book gives a good amount of space to her activities after the Crimea. Illustrated with colourful cartoon drawings, which will really appeal to children.

Australia (Popcorn Countries) by Alice Harman

When I was working as a school luibrarian, I found it hard to find good KS1 books on different countries, so I would have been very pleased to find this series. Find out about the people and places of Australia in this fun and interactive beginners book about the country. The text of Popcorn books is carefully chosen and is matched to the pictures to help pupils' understanding. Layout is clear and bright and good use is made of bold colour to guide the reader.

Fruit (Popcorn Good Food) by Julia Adams

The books in the Popcorn Good Food aim to develop children`s knowledge and understanding of nutrition and where their food comes from. This is really important as today's children seem to be becoming increasingly detached from the knowledge of where our food comes from.  The books are colourful, the language clear and carefully chosen and include a step-by-step recipe.Each title in the series helps young readers develop communication and literacy skills. Plenty of talking points help to involve young readers. Grains and Cereals (Popcorn: Good Food) discusses this important food group - where they come from and why we need them as part of a balanced diet.

Pirates (Leapfrog Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

We are often asked for information about pirates, so this book is welcome. Who were pirates? What did they steal? What were their shops like? Very simple text with lots of colourful pictures will appeal to children.  There's a quiz at the end to find out what children remember - or to challebge them to go back and find the answer. One in the Leapfrog Learners series, which offer fun facts in accessible text, perfect for building reading confidence.

Once There Was a Raindrop (Nature's Miracles) by Judith Anderson and Mike Gordon

This is a really fun book to read as we see the life story of a raindrop through the eyes of two busy children and their father. Coloured cartoon-style drawings How do raindrops change as they fall from the clouds and then seem to disappeshow us how the raindrop originates in a cloud and eventually and miraculously ends up as a cloud again. There are notes for parents and teachers, as well as suggestions for learning activities that will reinforce the information in the book.

The Life Cycle of a Ladybird (Learning About Lifecycles) by Ruth Thomson

Fidn out about the life cycle of a ladybird from the tiny white eggs from Larva to pupa and finally see the egg turn into a colourful ladybird. There's plenty more - what ladybirds eat to help them grow, how they fly and a labelled diagram. Bright good quality photos and clearly laid out pages make this book accessible for young readers. There is a summary at the end, together with a glossary and an index.

My Parents' Divorce (How Can I Deal With...) by Sally Hewitt

Sadly this is a problem many children encounter - if not in their own families, then maybe their friends, so this is a good book for the classroom or school library to help children understand what is going on. The book explains what is happening and explains to children that the emotions they are feeling are natural and to be expected. Lots of experiences from other children are reassuring and practical. It will be a great help to teachers and parents in understanding and explaining to their children.

 Henry VIII (Who Was...?) by Kay Barnham

An attractively laid out book which has all the physical features which make books accessible to young children - clear font, lots of bright pictures and plenty of white space; these combine to give the book appeal. Henry VIII is an intriguing character to children so this book will interest them and make great support for early history studies. Fact boxes give suggested places to visit and 'It's True' facts.

Come and Eat With Us (Discovery Flaps) by Annie Kubler and Caroline Formby

Produced in conjunction with OXFAM, this is one in a series of books created to show how the way people live in different parts of the world. The series helps children to understand the similarities and differences between children around the world by depicting a series of everyday scenes. This title focuses on mealtimes around the world and I especially like the fact that families are shown eating together. Informative and fun, as children enjoy seeing what is behind the flaps. Purchase the book from the Child's Play website.

Exploring Light (A Sense of Science) by Claire Llewellyn

The presentation of this book is excellent and it will really help children to enjoy learning. Lots of photographs, set against a clear uncluttered background, perfect for early readers. The facts are simply explained, with a suggested activity on each page to reinforce learning. The illustrations are an intergal part of the book, adding greatly to understanding and ensuring the facts are memorable. A simple index helps children develop research skills. An excellent classroom/library resource. There are seven other titles in the series to lookm out for.

 Paramedic (When I'm At Work) by Susan Barraclough

Children in Early Years and KS1 learn about 'People who help us' and this colourful series will be welcomed in the classroom. Meet Simon, a paramedic and find out about his day's work - from checking equipment, to going out on an emergency call, visiting a school to explain about his work - and doing his paperwork at the end of the day! As well as a curricular resource, it's also a reassuring book for children as they learn about the people who help us.


Summer (Seasons - Popcorn) by Kay Barnham

This series is a colourful introduction to the seasons and an excellent resource to support KS1 cross-curricular work. In this book, children will learn about different aspects of summer, with colourful photos and an attractive layout to complement the easy-to-read text. Instructions are given to make a colourful scrapbook. Early learning and reference skills are encouraged by the inclusion of clear contents list, glossary and index


Spring (Seasons - Popcorn) by Kay Barnham

Another book in the same series as Summer, with all the same benefits. The practical activity in this book is 'Make a weather chart' - fun for home and school. The photographs are excellent and make the book very attractive. Autumn (Popcorn: Seasons) and Winter (Popcorn: Seasons)

Tractors (On the Go) by David and Penny Glover

Young children - and especially boys - are fascinated by all forms of transport and this colourful series (written by specialists in machines and vehicles) has plenty of appeal. 

Don't Play Dirty, Gertie: Be Fair (You Choose) by Sarah Eason

This unusual book sees gertie put into a series of situations where she needs to make a decision and the reader is given three possible answers. An interesting concept. An excellent series for classroom use, supporting PSHE and providing teachers with good discussion points for some of those tricky situations that arise when dealing with children. Realistic situations and characters with whom children will readily identify are a feature of the series.


Come Clean, Carlos! Tell the Truth by Sarah Eason

This book explores the story of one child who faces dilemmas about telling the truth, the choices he makes and the consequences of those choices. Two more in the series - Chin Up, Charlie! Be Brave (You Choose!) and Hand it Over, Harry! Don't Steal (You Choose!)

Teacher: People Who Help Us by Amanda Askew and Andrew Crowson

This book gives young children an insight, not only into a teacher's day, but into a day in the life of a school. Colourful and uncluttered pictures with easy-to-read text make this book very accessible for its audience and it is a good way to introduce children to the routines of school. More in the series, which is perfect for the Foundation Stage curriculum,  Doctor (People Who Help Us), Fire-fighters (People Who Help Us) and Police Officer (People Who Help Us).

 Chickens: Down on the Farm by Hannah Ray

I learnt things I didn't know from this book! Did you know that mother hens cluck to their chicks whilst they are still in the egg? Lots more fascinating facts, all presented in child-friendly format with easy to read text. There are plenty of photos and the pages are well-designed to capture attention. Children can make their own chirpy chicks and there is a page of ideas for parents and teachers. Help your children to learn more about farmyard animals in this colourful series - Goats (Down on the Farm), Ducks (Down on the Farm), Pigs (Down on the Farm).

All About Vegetables: Food Zone by Vic Parker

Sadly, many children today know very little about where the food on their plate comes from, so this is an excellent way for them to find out.  A colourful introduction to vegetables - where they come from, how they grow, why they are good for us and some tasty recipes to try. Written in a way that will really appeal to and interest children, this is another well presented, colourful and informative book from QED Books.  All About Fruit (Food Zone) and  All About Meat and Fish (Food Zone) are some of the other titles in the series.

 Cows: Farmyard Friends by Camilla de la Bedoyere

A really appealing book - just look at the beautiful cows on the front cover! This is a lovely way to introduce children to farmyard animals - maybe before a visit to a farm or a city farm. All the questions children will ask - and lots they won't have thought of - are answered. Brightly coloured, well laid out and lots of ways of supplying information - really attractive books that children will really enjoy. The series also includes Horses and Ponies (Farmyard Friends) and Sheep (Farmyard Friends) amongst others.

Amazing Aquarium - My Day at the Zoo by  Terry Jennings

A super series from QED Publishing - perfect for buidling up enthusiasm and knowledge before a visit or as a memento of a special day out. Attractively presented and full of excellent colour photos, this will really generate interest. A particular feature is the emphasis on conservation and the role of the zoo in protecting endangered species.Lots of interesting facts, an easily accessible format and tips for parents and teachers make this a very practical as well as entertaining book.

Mammal Kingdom - My Day at the Zoo by Terry Jennings

Learn about the animal kingdom and how animals live in the wild as well as in zoos. Treat your child to a book about their favourite part of the zoo with the selection of books available in this colourful series - also available: Reptile Park (My Day at the Zoo), Bird Paradise (My Day at the Zoo),  The clear contents page, glossary and index make this series excellent for introducing KS1 children to the concept of finding out information from books in a colourful and exciting way.

Hear This! - Let's Start Science by Sally Hewitt

Find out all about how our ears work and about sounds by means of the activities in this colourful book. Practical science is the best way to learn. This is an excellent way to introduce KS1 children to science concepts. This series covers many of the topics covered in school in a clear and understandable way and is an excellent way for parents to support their child's learning in a fun way. The series includes:  Let's Start Science: Tastes good! (QED Let's Start ! Science), Let's Start Science: Touch that! (QED Let's Start ! Science), Let's Start Science: Look here! (QED Let's Start ! Science)

The Seaside (History Snapshots) by Sarah Ridley

The seaside is one of the topics covered in KS1 history, so this book is ideal curriculum support, as well as showing children how one of their favourite places has changed over the years. Packed with fascinating contemporary photographs, this book really encourages children to 'be a history detective' by talking to older ones about their experiences and by encouraging them to ask questions based on the photos. Among others in the series - Homes (History Snapshots), Children and World War Two (History Snapshots) and Toys and Games (History Snapshots). An excellent series to bring history to life.

 Going to Hospital (The Big Day) by Nicola Barber

This reassuring book explains to children what happens if they need to go to hospital. With plenty of colour pictures of children and simple text, this shows children what to expect and gived them the chance to ask questions and discuss what will happen. There is also a list of words about hospitals and suggestions for further information. The series also includes First Day at School (The Big Day), A New Baby Arrives (The Big Day) and Moving House (Big Day). They are both an excellent classroom resource and ideal for parents to share with children facing big events in life.

Rangoli: Discovering the Art of Indian Decoration by Anuradha Ananth

Rangoli is Indian decoration for festival times. This simple book introduces the reader to these wonderful patterns, which can be quite simple or very complex. Every morning, Ajji's village is decorated with new rangoli in all shapes, sizes and patterns. But can Ajji have a rangoli in her flat? Of course she can, and the reader is shown how to make their own. A simple story with lovely pictures which gives an insight into a different culture.  

Bee Menu by Louise Spilsbury

The plight of honeybees (and all our bees, in fact) is well known, so it is good to see a new book for KS1 children about  these vital insects. This book has all the features needed for an early fact book, to enable children to learn research techniques - contents page, glossary and index guide the reader through the book, with its colourful pages, good size colour photographs and just the right amount of information.

The Ladybird Book Of British History by Tim Wood

This is an excellent introduction to British history for children in key stage 1. It is chronological, starting with the Romans in Britain and going up to the Second World War. It covers the key topics taught in KS1 but puts them all into context. Each topic is covered in one or two pages and the book covers a wide range, from the politics through to everyday life. Written in easy-to-understand language and illustrated throughout with colourful drawings, children will enjoy dipping into this book. There is a glossary and a comprehensive index. With its companion volume The Ladybird Book of Kings and Queens children will have a great start in learning about the history of our country.

 Insect Detective by Steve Voake

This lovely book uses poetic language to take the reader on an tour of different insects in their natural habitats. Few words are needed as so much is conveyed through the delicate illustrations. The insects include common and lesser known groups  and an identifying feature is described as the text tells the way to discover the insect. The book also clearly tells young children how to tell if the creature is NOT an insect. The book really encourages observation and an interest in the miniature worlds around us.

Elephants by James Maclaine

This is one in the Beginners series from Usborne Books - an excellent series of more than 50 books which covers a wide range of topics. Carefully designed to appeal to early readers, the books have accessible vocabulary and easy reading text, clear pictures, a contents page, index and glossary - all excellent for helping children to learn to use books for research. Elephants always fascinate children, so they will enjoy learning about how they live. Short chunks of of text and plenty of puctures make these books really fun to read.

RSPB First Book of Birds by Anita Ganeri and David Chandler

These four books, looking at flowers, birds, mammals and minibeasts, are a new series from A&C Black. Each comprises 35 common examples, ideal for children starting to show an interest in nature. Beautiful full-page illustrations are complemented by key information about each creature or flower. There are spotter's charts for children to complete, and links to Internet-based activities to extend children's knowledge. I really hope that there will be more to come in this series, as they make a wonderful introduction for children to the world around us, and they are so attactive and easy to use that children will find them a real encouragement. Minibeasts are a popular class topic for Early Years, so this would be an asset in the classroom. Birds are all around us, so wherever children are, they will spot some of these. Take a walk in the park and start to complete the spotter's guide in Mammals; or see how many of the Flowers you can spot.


All Around the World by Geraldine Cosneau

Take an exciting journey around the world in this unusual journey of discovery through different environments - savannah, countryside, ocean, forest, rainforest, the Outback, desert and the Arctic. Each one  is shown in a giant, fold-out panorama, with a set of stickers to bring the picture to life. When finished, the panoramas can be taken out and displayed - they will make a superb wall display for home or classroom - or they can be left in the book to be used again. On the reverse side of the panoramas are dot to dot pictures to complete. A brilliant way to introduce geography to young children, this is far superior to your average sticker book - fun and educational. 


 Smart Kids Animal A-Z by Louise Cornford

Sumptuously illustrated, this is far more than 'just' an ABC book. Beautiful colour photos depict each animal in its setting; brief information is given about each and a very useful size comparison is given for each. An excellent learning device is the use of colour to highlight key words, some of which are then explained in the glossary. The landscape format of this well designed book is perfect for presenting all the information and I particularly like the thick paper which make this a durable book - very useful as it will be used over and over and makes a great classroom resource..

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

This stunning large format book does exactly what it says - shows us creatures actual size. From the Atlas Moth, who takes up two pages, to an elephant's foot, which also takes up huge pages through many more animals, this book is a super way of helping children to visualise exactly how big these creature are.  The illustrations are really eye-catching and memorable. The book end with a summary of information about each animal, which is excelent support for the book.


Jack and Boo's Bucket of Treasures by Philip Bell 

I like the way this book is illustrated - colourful children are superimposed on photos of seaside views, making this an unusual book. Join Jack and Boo as they spend a day searching for treasure washed up by the tide onto the beach. This is an ideal book for children to take when they go on the beach - as well as an enjoyable story, each page illustrates some of the common things found on beaches. It perfectly captures the excitement children feel when exploring and highlights how much fun can be had on the shores of our own country. Try out the ideas at the end of the book with your own family. Go to to find out more.

If Only by Neil Griffiths

A lovely introduction to the perenially popular topics of minibeasts and life cycles, this book works equally well as a story book and as non-fiction. The little black caterpillar tarvels around the garden, looking enviously at the beauty and talents of the other creatures...but by the end of the tale, he too is beautiful. Children will love the quirky use of text to highlight special words. Each double page spread has a vibrant and beautifully detailed glossy watercolour illustration by Judith Blake, plus little 'extras' on each page of text. Child-friendly text and plenty to talk about make this a book to read over and over.

Tadpole Story by Angela Royston

This is one in the White Wolves series for Year 2 readers. This series is ideal for guided reading, combining literacy and topic work and giving an added level of interest in reading to those not too keen on fiction. This book shows children just how that little black blob turns into a frog and shares that wonderful explanation through bright pictures and simple yet engaging text, written in the first person. Each page contains facts set out in differing ways, perfect for introducing children to the range of text styles they will need to be able to use. See the whole White Wolves Non-Fiction range here

 Jungle Crash by Sarah Levete

This book is subtitled 'Trouble in the Forest' and it contains food for thought for all of us. The importance of the jungle to a wide variety of aspects of life is clearly described, as is the importance of preserving this vital habitat. An excellent way to bring this to the attention of the youngest readers, whilst enjoying the experience of learning to read and gather knowledge. As with all in the White Wolves non-fiction series, the book is well laid out and ideal for teaching children how to get the best out of non fiction books. As a school librarian, this is just the type of book I would search out to use with Year 2 classes. Contents page, glossary, further reading and an index - it's all here.

Knight Survival Guide by Anna Claybourne

As with the rest of the series, this is written by an expert on the subject, thus ensuring children learn facts whilst developing reading skills. Learn about the excitement of becoming a knight and how to stay safe in this colourful book.
From ACBlack website: "The White Wolves brand is known for providing engaging books that children want to pick up, at a range of different reading levels – perfect for supporting progression.The new non-fiction strand reflects the range of non-fiction texts that children will come across in the real world, from guidebooks to cookbooks.They provide a fresh, high-interest look at core geography, history and science topics, and are ideal for classroom and topic libraries, and for teaching non-fiction literacy skills in a curriculum context. Ideal for guided reading sessions, helping teachers to combine literacy and topic teaching."

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