Book reviews - non fiction ages 7-11 (page 4)

We have reviewed some of the best new non fiction available. There are so many wonderful books being published now that it can be hard to choose, so take a look at the ideas below and then browse in your local bookshop or library. Many of these books are also excellent classroom/library resources, so there's plenty here for teachers, including many books from Hachette (Hodder, Wayland, Orchard Books and Franklin Watts).

The most recent reviews are at the top of the page, so these are generally the most recently published books.

 

Children's Transport Encyclopedia by Philip Wilkinson

The book cover promises the reader: A comprehensive look at the world of transport with hundreds of superb illustration sand that is exactly what you will get. All forms of transport are included - road, water, rail, air and space, and the book is arranged in these groups with an informative introductory section for each. These sections cover especially interesting topics, such as Formula 1 racing, high-speed trains, and modern developments in low-energy transport. These are followed by catalogue-style entries on a range of craft and vehicles.; these include detailed illustrations, information and fact boxes including date, speed, size, construction material and number of people carried. Despite the mass of information, it's easy to find what you want, with the clear layout and comprehensive index; there is also a detailed glossary.

Day of the Dinosaurs by Steve Brusatte

There's enough information in this fact-filled book to satisfy any young dinosaur fan - and the engaging presentation may well encourage others to take an interest. The book is arranged in four prehistoric periods: the Triassic, the early Jurassic, the Late Jurassic and the Cretaceous; each is then sub-divided in the same way, making navigation easy. Dramatic illustrations depict these awesome creatures and the world in which they lived. Field notes are perfect for aspiring paleontologists. Fact-filled, fully illustrated and generously sized, this is informative and a real pleasure to read.

The Story of England by Richard Brassey

Richard Brassey has a real gift of bringing history to life, engaging children throughout and engendering in them a love for history. This is the history of England from the very earliest times right up to modern times, told in a very lively manner with enjoyable touches of humour. Full colour illustrations are found on every page; many of these are enjoyable cartoons complete with speech bubbles; look closely though because the pictures are also very informative, a key part of the information value of the book. All the drama of history is here, succinctly presented in a way that gives an excellent overview, putting events into context.

Peter in Peril by Helen Bate

Before war ravaged his city of Budapest, Peter was an ordinary boy, who loves playing football with his friends and eating cake. But war changed it all and the whole family, Peter, his cousin Eva and his mum and dad, had to go into hiding. This moving, true story of the Second World War tells Peter's story in his own words, accompanied by excellent illustrations which really convey the sombre feel of the story. Moving and very effective.

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World by Kate Pankhurst

Find out about some of the amazing women who followed their hearts and their dreams, putting their talents to good use to have an impact on our world. The book is engagingly presented, with colour illustrations and captivating text mingling to produce a very informative and hugely enjoyable read - follow the red dotted line to get the full benefit! The Great Women, who come from all walks of life and areas of influence, are: Jane Austen, Gertrude Ederle, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Mary Anning, Mary Seacole, Amelia Earhart, Agent Fifi, Sacagawa, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks and Anne Frank. And in case you are wondering, yes, Kate is a descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst - and what an appropriate subject matter for a book!

The Holocaust by Philip Steele

Horrifying and harrowing though it is to read about the Holocaust, it is vital that our young people are aware of what can happen under a regime such as the Nazis. This thought-provoking book is bound to engender discussion and it is definitely one for adults to share with children, so their concerns can be addressed and questions answered. Through evocative photographs, maps and easy-to-follow text, the story of this dark event is related to young readers in a clear and sensitive way. It explores the complex reasons for the Holocaust, shows what life was like in the ghettos and concentration camps, and explains the aftermath and the founding of the state of Israel. Accounts from survivors and incredible stories of heroism and survival make it a compelling read for a new generation who are keen to learn about this dark period in human history.

Sharks by Ben Hubbard

These awe-inspiring creatures look even more awesome in the stunning CGI artwork in this beautifully photographed and laid out book. These killer creatures are built of tonnes of solid muscle with thousands of teeth and have a bite that can crush any animal. At the top of the food cycle, they are feared by other sea creatures as well as by man - but in fact, as the book says, humans are more likely to be struck by lightening that to be eaten by a shark. With amazing stories and fascinating facts to accompany the photos, this book gives a real insight into the shark and the watery world it inhabits.

iExplore - Ocean Monsters by Nicola Davies

Be amazed by the wonders of nature and the ocean world as you learn about the biggest, fiercest and strangest sea creatures. The text is well written , and presented in easily assimilated chunks, with plenty of illustrative material, including a useful box for each creature showing its size, the depth at which it is found and its location. This book also brilliantly harnesses the wonders of Augmented Reality to explore the world's mysterious seas as the reader interacts with dynamic sea creatures from the convenience of a tablet or smartphone - this feature really makes the creatures seem more awesome than ever, and will really appeal to today's techno-savvy children.

iExplore - Into Deep Space by Paul Virr

With the aid of your smartphone or tablet, this super Augmented Reality book takes you on an exciting interactive journey through space. Simply place your tablet or smartphone near the visual trigger on the page then hold it up to see NINE incredible AR sequences in action. As well as this, there are incredible facts about space, and beautiful photographs of constellations, supernovae and distant planets of the solar system. Our children today are well accustomed to using technology and to seeing the amazing things that it allows; so to combine a print book with the technology is a great way to get children interested in reading.

Pop-Up Planet by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Mountains, rainforests, grasslands, coral reefs and deep oceans - some of the most beautiful habitats of the world are brought vividly to life in a series of pop-up pages which depict layers of plants and animals against a colourful backdrop; each pop-up spread is complemented by a double page spread full of information about the animals and how they live in and adapt to their environment. It's a lovely way to introduce children to these fascinating places, and they will enjoy the well-produced pop-ups which show all the plants and animals really clearly. A very attractive book.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

The history of science is full of the achievements of women scientists and they are celebrated in this fascinating book which will be an inspiration to all young people looking to a career in science - and will hopefully encourage those who still feel science is a man's world. Going right back to antiquity, the book chronologically highlights the contributions of fifty notable women to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The artwork really makes this book stand out - each scientist is illustrated in stunning graphics, surrounded by the ideas and objects which are part of her claim to fame. Also included are infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, as well as an illustrated scientific glossary. A fascinating and superbly presented book.

Wilderness: An Interactive Atlas of Animals by Hannah Pang

Starting in the lushness of the rainforest, this engaging book takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the habitats of the earth, including sea and fresh water, deserts, poles and mountains. From ants to whales and orang-utans to octopuses, readers will be intrigued to explore the pop-ups, flaps, mini-books and novelty ideas (the Antarctic is upside-down!). Each spread depicts the habitat and superimposed are many of the creatures who call that habitat home; for each, there is informative text. It's beautifully done and depicts the wonders of the natural world in a memorable fashion.

100 Most Feared Creatures by Anna Claybourne

This is far more than 100 creatures in all - each page of each two page spread focuses on a group of animals, faced by the single most feared so we have, for example, four types of shark, then the Great White Shark. The book explores the world's most ferocious creatures, with facts about each one accompanied by excellent colour photos which show them in all their terrifying glory. Find out amazing facts like who fights off predators by spraying blood from its eyes? and how the slender, deep-sea gulper swallows prey twice its size? Children will revel in the grisly facts and will also learn to appreciate the wonders of nature.

The Fork (Little Inventions) by Raphael Fejto

This is a lovely series of little books - they may be intended for children but I am sure adults will love them too. The Greeks and Romans used to use forks, but they shaped like a claw and used in the kitchen. The fork was used in the Byzantine Empire, and brought to Europe by a Byzantine princess. Gradually, the idea spread and the fork evolved into the essential implement we all use today; we learn how through short text accompanied by amusing cartoon-style illustrations with speech bubbles.

Pizza (Little Inventions) by Raphael Fejto

Ever wonder where the pizza came from? Well, now you can find out in this entertaining book which traces the history of the pizza from ancient times to the development of the modern-day favourite, the margherita. "Little Inventions by Raphael Fejto is a series of kid-sized books about objects that children encounter every day with little thought of how, where and when they were invented. In fact, the beginnings of these common objects are fascinating and their true stories are told here in amusing anecdotes and charming illustrations. Each book closes with a memory game, making them useful for early reader groups."

Glasses (Little Inventions) by Raphael Fejto

Apparently, the Roman Emperor Nero used to hold an emerald in front of his eyes to help him see better - but he would probably have been better off waiting for the invention of the magnifying glass. It's fascinating to read about the way glasses developed, and the ideas people had to stop them falling off. The Memory Game which is found at the end of each book is a great way to see whether children have retained the information, and can also be used as springboards for further discussion.

French Fries (Little Inventions) by Raphael Fejto

Who would have thought the humble chip (I beg it's pardon - french fry) would have such an interesting history? In 1828, a young French cook thought fried potatoes were so good, he would sell them on the street. He decided to call them 'fritz', like his nickname and like the French word for fries, frites! He devised a way to make them more quickly - and everyone loved the new shape that they could eat with their fingers. These little hardback books have brightly coloured covers with an amusing cartoon; they are very collectable and great fun!

The Pen (Little Inventions) by Raphael Fejto

Even in these days of technology, we all need the humble pen - find out about the various forms it has taken over the years in this fascinating book. As with the rest of the series, great attention has been given to making the cartoons an important part of the book, and they are very entertaining. Also available (although I haven't seen a copy, I am sure the quality is just as good) is The Toilet (Little Inventions) - a topic to fascinate children!

My First Cat Book by Angela Herlihy

The subtitle is: Simple and fun ways to care for your feline friend for kids aged 7+ - and the book does just that, giving the essential advice, accompanied by plenty of additional information about making your cat's life enjoyable. We know that cats are independent creatures, but there are lots of ways to encourage them to be closer to their 'family', and this book will really help children to develop a great relationship with their feline friend. This practical guide goes right back to the beginning, showing the equipment needed and how to make the home safe. The second chapter is about getting to know your cat; Chapter Three details everyday care and the final chapter is called 'Your cat as playmate'. There are lots of colour photos plus appealing cartoon drawings. The book is written in a clear, child-friendly way and includes all that a family needs to know to make a cat happy.

Timelines of World History by Jane Chisholm

When studying history, children really needs to put events into context, both by date and by geographical region, so that they fully understand what they are learning. This richly illustrated guide to the history of the world is divided into eight sections, starting with the Ancient World in 10,000 BC and finishing with the twentieth century, in 1996. It covers political events, including wars and revolutions, and social and economic history including to ground-breaking inventions, discoveries and artistic movements. The time periods are shown on each page under geographical areas, so readers can see what was happening around the world at the same time. The layout is clear and easy to follow, with plenty of supplementary information alongside the key dates; there are also lots of illustrations. The book includes an extensive index which is excellent for looking up events and finding how they fit into the world picture. A good reference book for every family.

The Adventures of Earth by Dan Green

Children respond well to interactive books; they grab their attention and the novelty features help children retain knowledge. This colourful and informative book is packed with fun flaps, pull-tabs, wheels, and pop-ups to show the wonder that is our Earth. Starting when the world was formed, it takes an interesting approach; one that will intrigue children by asking questions such as why is Earth a Goldilocks planet? and why is it like a jigsaw puzzle? Each page has a range of activities as well as enlightening text written in a way that will appeal to children and help them remember. The colourful presentation and varying fonts, along with enjoyable pictures all add up to an attractive book.

The Little Caillebotte by Catherine de Duve

Caillebotte was a member of the Impressionist group and it's good to see this less well-known painter featured in this excellent series. As with all the books in the series, the young reader is drawn into the book through questions and activities which encourage them to really study the works of art pictured, and thereby understand them and appreciate them; they even get the opportunity to add their own drawing and painting to the book. The book gives us an account of Caillebotte's life and shows the inspiration behind his art, as well as his friendship with other painters. It's a fun way to learn about art. Published by Happy Museum, April 2016, ISBN 978-2875750839.

Please Be Nice to Sharks: Fascinating Facts about the Ocean's Most Misunderstood Creatures by Matthew Weiss

Feared by many, sharks are not the most popular of marine creatures, but they are essential to the health of the oceans' ecosystems, so we need to ensure their future is assured. Although they're often portrayed as vicious man-eaters, sharks actually kill fewer than 10 people per year; despite this, they are hunted and killed in phenomenal numbers. This book takes a light-hearted approach, by introducing 14 sharks (and a manta ray) who tell us about themselves in their own humorous words. This is accompanied by stunning underwater photography to bring us a fascinating book that will help young readers realise the importance of protecting these amazing creatures. Published by Sterling, July 2016, ISBN 978-1454917489.

Solar System (DK Findout!)

You just know with a DK book that you are going to get fantastic photographs, with excellent layout and highly informative and totally reliable text. This new series, DK Findout!, is no exception. The book covers promise 'Fun facts, Amazing pictures, Quizzes' and there is all that and much more. Inside the cover is a timeline of space explorers and this gives a good introduction to the book as events can immediately be put into context. The book follows the familiar two-page spread format (as do all the books in the series) and as well as the excellent photos, there are plenty of facts, some presented in fact boxes, picture labels, fact files and information bars. These combine to make the information easily accessible and well differentiated.

Volcanoes (DK Findout!)

As with all the books in the Findout! series, this is perfect for supporting the curriculum with all children need to know, and more. In this colourful and informative book, readers will learn about the biggest volcano in the solar system, which type of lava is the stickiest, why a volcano brought Europe's planes to a standstill, why some islands disappear and much more. Full of fascinating information, all engagingly presented, this is a great way to make learning enjoyable and memorable. DKfindout! is a global education website for children, parents and teachers that brings DK's distinctive visual approach to the internet, retaining all the clarity and ease of information-finding that has made its books such a huge success. This brand-new series builds on the success of the website with six books initially published, which focus on homework and educational topics for 6 to 9 year olds. It's a great way to stimulate a love of learning.

Animals (DK Findout!)

Each book in the series has a fold-out flap on the front cover with a colourful quiz; the answers are found on the reverse of the flap. Good use is made of the inside of the back cover to provide supporting information for the book. Animals is packed full of super colour photos and surprising facts that children will love to learn. How many hearts does an octopus have? Which creatures can move their eyes independently? Which tiny creatures build mounds 10m high? The text is well-written, to engage and thrill children and helps to instill in them a love for learning. Even reluctant readers will find the books compelling. For those who have enjoyed the DKFIndout website, they will find the books follow the same format with the same engaging presentation and excellent visual material and layout.

Ancient Rome (DK Findout!)

Travel back in time to discover what life was like in Ancient Rome - a topic that KS2 children will study in school. With beautiful photography, lively illustrations, and key curriculum information, Ancient Rome is packed with information, quizzes, fun facts and incredible images of every aspect of Roman life. Discover what Romans would have put in their shopping baskets, how to decode Roman numerals, and go into battle with the gladiators. All this really helps to make these ancient people come alive for children, giving them enthusiasm to find out even more.

Science (DK Findout!)

This book gives an overview of the science topics that will be covered in KS2. With a two page spread for each topic, it can only be an introduction, but for younger children, this will be plenty; for older children, the book will be an excellent starting point to learn about topics such as the water cycle, friction, simple machines, magnets and electrical circuits. There is also more general information about a range of topics, including scientists and practical science. Again, this is an excellent book to stimulate further research - perhaps through the DKFindout website. http://www.dkfindout.com/uk/

Dinosaurs (DK Findout!)

One of children's favourite topics is covered in this colourful and instructive book which is, once again, full of fascinating facts, engagingly presented. Every book has an extensive glossary which enhances understanding of the facts, along with a comprehensive index which helps children find their way around, as well as helping them learn essential research skills. This is the last of the six DKFindout! books in the current batch of publications; a further 12 are planned for 2017, with more to come in future. This series is a real asset for children to use at home and at school; with all that is best in DK, the series is enticing and informative, making learning fun.

The Gloriumptious Worlds of Roald Dahl by Stella Caldwell

This book takes the reader deep into the world of Roald Dahl Dahl's wonderful stories with fascinating insights into the characters and events from Roald Dahl's writing in a humorous, exciting and downright gloriumptious way. For the very first time, the stories behind the stories are brought to life in this brand new title. which is packed with Quentin Blake's iconic illustrations. There are previously unpublished reproductions of imagined letters, artefacts and posters, and editing notes from Dahl himself, to bring all of Roald Dahl's characters alive. Beautifully presented and superbly illustrated - of course - this book is a real treat. There is so much to enjoy and it will make you take a fresh look at the books. This is a simply wonderful book; a book which should be in the library of every Roald Dahl fan.

Car Record Breakers by Paul Virr

Eye-catching presentation will immediately capture the interest of car enthusiasts, young and old, as they learn about the fastest, biggest and most extravagant. Extreme autos, speed machines and crazy cars galore are shown off in super photographs and engaging text. There are hypercars at the cutting edge of technology, the world's fastest race cars, and outrageous one-off autos. It's a fascinating collection which will really capture the interest. The jazzy presentation suits the subject to perfection, and the array of facts will give everyone something to marvel over - cars really are amazing creations and most of these are a world away from those we see every day. This book is a great non-fiction purchase, crammed full of facts, stats, and full-page images of the most amazing automobiles on Earth.

50 Things You Should Know About Space by Raman Prinja

Packed with information succinctly presented in 50 bite-sized chunks, this is an excellent concise introduction to space for KS2 children. Readers will find out what happens at the International Space Station, why the Earth spins, how big the galaxy is and how the Moon formed as well as many other interesting facts. From constellations to space shuttles, Space is endlessly fascinating and children will love to learn more in this easily understood book. Just some of the topics - space missions, colliding galaxies, light years, solar eclipses and the surface of the Sun. There are facts and figures to marvel at, as well as facts about astronomers, astronauts and scientists and how their incredible jobs have enabled us to learn so much about our Universe. Bright layout with fascinating facts along the page edges make to book most appealing.

Look Inside How Computers Work by Alex Frith

As part of the curriculum, children now study how computers work, and this engaging book is a great way to introduce the basic principles. By lifting the multitude of flaps, children will find out what goes on behind the screen, beneath the keyboard and inside the electronic 'brain' of a computer. This colourful book has 70 well-sized flaps to lift to uncover what happens when a computer is switched on, how coding works and the story of the first computers; there are plenty of facts under the flaps. This fun and informative introduction to the workings of computers will really enhance children's understanding and appreciation of these wonderful machines.

In Focus: 101 Close Ups, Cross-Sections and Cutaways by Libby Walden

Absolutely fascinating and quite stunning, this book takes a completely different look at all sorts of everyday objects. Ten illustrators have taken a range of subjects, including homes, nature, animals and transport; they have put their subjects under the microscope to uncover what lies beneath the surface. The pages all fold out and every paf=ge is full of information and fascinating facts. In Focus gives the reader a fresh perspective by looking at 101 wonders of the world from the outside in. The book is beautifully presented and it will engage readers of all ages. Unusual and revealing.

Tell Me a Picture by Quentin Blake

In 2001, Quentin Blake chose 26 of his favourite paintings, by artists from A to Z, for an exhibition at the National Gallery. The range of work he chose is wide, including fine artists and children’s illustrators. Each has a story to tell and Quentin Blake has encouraged the reader to look for the story by including drawings and captions on the opposite page which give a starting point for investigating the story told in the picture. It's a wonderful way to introduce children to art and to get their imaginations working as they interpret the pictures for themselves. The book would make a superb basis for a class project - it will stimulate plenty of discussion. An unusual and stimulating approach to art.

Ripley's Absolutely Absurd! (Ripleys Believe It Or Not 10)

These books fascinate children and they are perfect for dipping into; they are a great way to encourage reluctant readers who will enjoy the presentation and respond well to being able to keep others informed; a good way to build confidence. The fact that this is the tenth book in the series is testament to the success of the format. The book is filled to the brim with over 1,200 extraordinary stories, accompanied by fascinating photos and incredible facts and they are all, believe it or not, true. Meet Buddy, the five-legged, five-pawed dog. Marvel at musician Oz Bayldon’s super-cool gig at the 21,825 foot summit of Mera Peak in the Himalayas. Discover Lord of the Rings fan Jeremy Telford’s very own Hobbit Hole – built out of 2,600 balloons. Prepare to be amazed.

Natural World: A Visual Compendium of Wonders from Nature (The Curiositree) by Amanda Wood

This fascinating book will appeal to all ages; the information is valuable to support KS2 and KS3 science studies and the presentation will appeal across the board; it is very reminiscent of a natural history catalogue with clearly annotated diagrams. The book primarily looks at the myriad ways in which plants and animals have adapted to give themselves the best chance of survival so, for instance, it looks at different types of feathers, examines the way animal spines have developed, explains the way seeds are dispersed and discusses the use of warning colours. "Natural World" explores and explains why living things look and behave the way they do in a series of visually compelling information charts, complemented by clear factual information. It's a book you will return to over and over again, to enjoy the beautiful presentation and assimilate the facts. Beautiful.

Questions and Answers Oceans by Camilla De la Bedoyere

This is an excellent series from Miles Kelly that makes good use of the A4 format to give clear, well laid out pages that contain plenty of information. The three main subject areas are Oceans, Seashore and Coral Reef and the format of question and answer means children have the fun of finding out the answers to the questions posed in the book. Each question is clearly answered, with clearly explained facts, entertaining cartoons, stunning illustrations and beautiful photos. Activity panels throughout the book provide tips on further learning. Quiz time sections check children's understanding in a fun way.

Questions and Answers Science by Chris Oxlade

This book is divided into three main subject areas: Science, Planet Earth and Human Body. These divisions are helpful for children using the book to support the science they are learning at school. The questions posed are just the sort of questions children ask - where did the earth come from? Why do I have fingernails? Is my voice kept in a box? What waves are invisible? Each question is answered in a clear, engaging but concise way. The funny cartoons, wonderful illustrations and photos help to explain the facts further, while activity panels throughout the book provide tips on further learning. A really child-friendly book.

Questions and Answers Animals (Questions & Answers) by Jinny Johnson

Children will love finding out the answers to interesting aspects of animal life in a child-friendly way. Covering three core subject areas of Big Cats, Monkeys and Apes and Baby Animals, there is plenty to learn, whatever animal is your child's favourite. The fun questions are clearly answered and dramatic illustrations and photos help explain things further. Cartoons help to keep kids hooked and extra-special facts entertain. Activity panels throughout provide tips on further learning, and quizzes check understanding. I am impressed with the thorough indexes included in the books - these really help children find the facts they want. A super series and excellent value too. The books are well produced, on good quality paper and with excellent graphics and layout.

Such Stuff: A Story-maker's Inspiration by Michael Morpurgo

This is totally absorbing - find out how one of our greatest storytellers gets his inspiration. This collection of essays gives a revealing insight into how writing works and where stories begin; it's a brilliant way to inspire children to write. The book combines essays from Michael Morpurgo about over twenty of his most popular novels including War Horse, Kensuke's Kingdom, The Butterfly Lion and Private Peaceful. The essays are combined with extracts from books - these give an excellent introduction the the full book, as the sections chosen are really good extracts. To complete the picture, there is historical context and illuminating background information from Michael's brother Mark. Stunning illustrations from - of course - Michael Foreman, as well as photographs and facsimiles complete the immersive experience. This is a superb book which really takes the reader inside the author's mind, showing just how he came to write such great novels, and what inspired him. A brilliant classroom resource and a good read for any age.

Pop-up Kings and Queens by Rachael Saunders

Fascinating facts bring history alive for children - they will enjoy finding out through the interesting snippets of information in this whistle-stop tour of the British monarchy from 1066 to today. Which king starved to death? Why did Elizabeth I refuse to get married? Why did Charles I wear two shirts to his execution? Which queen spoke Urdu and Hindi but never went to India? Find out all in this in this fun pop-up book, full of flaps and fascinating facts, as well as delightful illustrations with a nice touch of humour. A great way to give children an overview of history, so they can see who ruled when, and what happened during the reign.

Voices from the Second World War: Witnesses share their stories with the children of today

A powerful, moving collection of first-person accounts of the Second World War; a timely book which shows us the horror of war from a human standpoint; of course there are stories of courage and of remarkable achievement, but all brought about by war. Read the accounts of a rear gunner who took part in sixty bombing raids, a Jewish woman who played in the orchestra at Auschwitz, a Japanese man who survived Hiroshima, a wireless operator evacuated from Dunkirk, a land girl who help feed Britain and Sir Nicholas Winton, who saved 669 children by setting up the Kindertransport program from Czechoslovakia. The diversity is exceptional and gives us an excellent picture from so many aspects. Many of the interviews were conducted by children, and it's interesting to read their views on what they learnt. The book is published in association with First News, the award-winning weekly national newspaper for children aged 7 - 14. Adult or child, this is a significant and exceptional book from which we can all learn. A must-read.

This or That 4: Even More Wacky Choices to Reveal the Hidden You (National Geographic Kids) by Michelle Harris and Julie Beer

We all know that our choices reflect our personality; now you can find out just what those choices say about you. Would you choose to fly a plane or ride a camel? Do you have your head in the clouds or focus on the details? Will you collect comic books or rare coins? Make your choices then read the fascinating and humorous insights about what your answers mean by Dr. Matt Bellace at the end of every chapter. This fourth book in the series features 10 awesome categories: outer space, amazing animals, festivals from around the world, amazing inventions, music, silly stats, and more! A fascinating collection of weird and wacky information, presented in a way that will really appeal to children.

Atlas (Angry Birds Playgrounds) from National Geographic Kids

The ever-popular Angry Birds have found a mysterious book washed up on the shores of Piggy Island and they are off on an exciting journey around the world. As they travel, they meet the people, learn about the places and gain plenty of knowledge about the world in which we live. Jazzy presentation with superb colour photographs grabs children's interest. As they share the journey, there are questions to answer and activities to do to involve them in the book. Packed with learning exercises and fun activities, the Angry Birds Playground: Atlas will transform kids into explorers and leave them wanting more adventure. Not to detract from the excellence of the book, but I would not have used the word 'atlas' in the title - an atlas would have a far higher proportion of maps; despite that niggle though, the book is informative and engaging.

Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest from National Geographic Kids

The rainforest is studied at KS2, and this is a great book to encourage children to take an interest in the topic. The Angry Birds characters are on a mission to stop the Pesky Pigs from ruining Piffy Island's precious rain forest. They must learn all about the rain forest so they can protect it from those bad piggies - and as they learn, so will your child. Readers analyse and explore the most diverse ecosystem in the world, learning how vital it is and how delicate the balance. as they build basic skills. Packed with learning exercises and fun activities, Angry Birds Playground: Rain Forest will transform children into adventurers and leave them wanting more. The highly visual presentation and the Angry Birds characters combine to bring us books that really appeal to children, instilling in them a love for geography and a desire to know more about our world.

Angry Birds Playground: Animals from National Geographic Kids

The Angry Birds have lost their eggs - and they need the reader's help to find them. Join them on an amazing journey around the world, taking in the grasslands of Africa and Australia, the Pacific Ocean, the Mojave Desert and many more habitats which show children the superb diversity of our world. Throughout the books, the Angry Birds talk to each other and this will engage children's attention. They make good use of factboxes too, to present information concisely and factually. Superb photography is a key element of all National Geographic books, and this couples with colourful presentation to produce books that will attract the most reluctant of readers.

Machines: Gears, Levers, Pulleys, Engines (Exploring Science) by Chris Oxlade

Support children's KS2 science learning with hands-on experiments that explain just how gears, levers, pulleys and engines work. The book covers all the basics of how things work and these are further explained by photographs of machines in action and cut-away diagrams; then children can try things for themselves with 20 experiments. The screw, the wedge, the lever and the sloping ramp are the foundations of much more complicated machines; find out how they work and the impact they have had over hundreds of years of history. The book is very well illustrated, with photos and diagrams attractively laid out within the text. Complex topics are clearly explained and the book is excellent for home and school use.

All About Politics (Big Questions) from DK

If children are encouraged to take an early interest in politics, they will be far better informed when they reach voting age. This book is the ideal way to encourage that interest - it's relevant, topical and accessible. From ancient Greek philosophy to modern governments, learn how and why politics and forms of government have evolved. The book shows how different systems and beliefs have developed, the ways in which laws are made, what happens behind the scenes in parliament, and how young people can get involved. It also explains the terminology and definitions with bright graphics and clever illustrations that kids will love. From famous leaders to great speeches, revolutions to age-old traditions, your child will discover all about the really big political issues in the world today. The book really encourages children to think about politics, about the impact they have on our lives, and about the role they can play. Of course, being a DK book, the presentation is excellent, with a high visual content including many diagrams to aid understanding.

The Rock and Gem Book (DK) by Dan Green

Marvel at the beauty of rocks, minerals, gems, fossils and shells in this superbly photographed book, which has as its subtitle '... and other treasures of the natural world'. This encyclopedia, which is written for children but which is certainly informative enough for most adults to enjoy, shows 1,200 full-colour specimens, from sapphires and rubies to silver and pearl, revealing the unique qualities of each material and how it is used in industry, architecture, art and science. Both the original form and artefacts are illustrated, showcasing natural wonders and the beautiful objects made with them. Including precious metals, rare fossils, tiny gemstones and giant shells, The Rock and Gem Book gives a complete overview of the Earth's naturally occurring marvels and the beautiful objects created from them. The layout, glossary and index make it easy to find and identify finds you might be lucky enough to make. A book to enjoy browsing through, as you marvel at natural beauty and the amazing variety depicted.

The Great Fire of London: 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of 1666 by Emma Adams

This commemorative book, which marks the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, is a stunning hardback that will fascinate people of all ages. James Weston Lewis' graphic drawings and the informative text follow the development of the fire, explaining why the city was so vulnerable to fire, starting with Thomas Farriner's bakery and that burning oven and following the progress of the fire as it ravaged the city. This day-by-day account is really dramatic and shows the immensity of the fire and its impact on Londoners and their homes and businesses, as well as their frantic efforts to stem the fire. The illustrations are absolutely fascinating in their detail, and the quotes from Pepys give a vivid picture of events. The book concludes by showing how gradual changes took place in firefighting methods, and also introduces some key characters. This is a superb book that will really engage readers with the story of the Great Fire of London.

Explore 360 the Tomb of Tutankhamun by Peter Chrisp

This stunning book really does justice to all the wonder that is the tomb of Tutankhamun. This book takes the reader back to the land of King Tut, allowing you to explore the temples, tombs, and monuments of Ancient Egypt in breathtaking detail. As you explore each monument, you'll discover just what it looked like in ancient times with the superb artwork. The book comes with a downloadable app that includes amazing 3D graphics which show the marvels of Tutankhamun's tomb and all of the treasures found there in vivid detail. It also includes other awe-inspiring sites such as the Great Pyramid and Karnak Temple. There is also a spectacular fold-out artwork of the tomb plus fold-out spreads with even more amazing detail. It is all put into context by the historical review of Ancient Egypt, which includes life along the mighty Nile and the discovery of the tomb by Harold Carter in 1922. A treasure trove of a book which should be in the library of everyone interested in Tutankhamun.

I Am NOT a Dinosaur! (American Museum of Natural History) by Will Lach

Not every prehistoric creature was a dinosaur - there were many other strange beasts who roamed our Earth, as this enlightening book shows. This lovely picture book, based on the fossil halls at the renowned American Museum of Natural History, takes a light-hearted but highly informative approach which gives us a new perspective on long-extinct creatures. Fun, fact-filled verses introduce 16 animals - 11 that are not dinosaurs, five that are. Can you guess? There is one real surprise to be had. Meet the Smilodon (a sabre-toothed cat), the woolly mammoth, the prehistoric shark and other creatures. Then find out more facts at the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book with its refreshing and unusual approach. Published by Sterling, May 2016, ISBN 978-1454914914.

I is for India (World Alphabet) by Prodeepta Das

This is a superb series - it's been a while since the first title was published, but the standard has remained consistently high. This title was originally published in 1996 and it has now been updated with new photos and a new cover. The book is produced in landscape format and this allows the stunning photos to be shown to best effect. There's a page for nearly every letter of the alphabet (some share a page) and this includes a photo and explanatory text. From Bollywood to Peacock, from Namaskar to Tea, this photographic alphabet is a celebration of India in all its vast and colourful diversity. Prodeepta Das, who was born in India, explores India's customs, religions and culture, bringing us a real sense of what it's like to live in India. A beautiful book.

I is for Israel (World Alphabet) by Gili Bar-Hillel

This is a new title in this series. The landscape format has been retained but the layout is crisper and more modern - you may or may not prefer this. What hasn't changed is the inclusion of excellent photos that illustrate each letter of the alphabet - from A for alphabet to Z for zodiac, the book is a visual treat, complemented by informative text. The book was written and photographed in Israel. If you want to give children a picture of what everyday life in like in Israel, then you couldn't do better than give them a copy of this book - and that applies right across this exceptional series.

The Awesome Body Book by Adam Frost

Children are just going to love this book, which is packed with weird and wacky facts, and answers to questions that most adults wouldn't even think to ask. How much poo do you produce in a lifetime? What's the heaviest weight held by a beard? Which creature uses its eyes to help it swallow? Why do women cry more? These are just a tiny proportion of the questions about the body answered in this book. It's jazzy presentation, appealing illustrations and plethora of facts is bound to engage and inform - and children will be learning plenty of facts that will help with their studies too, even if they don't realise it! A truly awesome book.

23 Ways to Be an Eco Hero: A Step-By-Step Guide to Creative Ways You Can Save the World by Isabel Thomas

We all have our part to play in protecting our world for future generations, and here's a book to inspire our young people to play their part. The book is full of step-by-step projects to help creative children reuse and recycle everyday objects. The projects range from the relatively simple - making a stool from corrugated card or cooking with past-its-best fruit - to the challenging such as creating a garden pond or making a bug hotel. The activities are well explained, with plenty of illustrations to keep children on the right track; and they will all heighten awareness of the need to conserve our precious resources. Children will learn how to create new objects from scrap materials, make their homes more eco-friendly, and turn even the smallest outdoor space into a wildlife haven. A book which offers hours of useful and creative fun.

Otters Love to Play by Jonathan London

Part picture book, part fact book, I choose to put this book here because it does contain lots of information about the otter and its life-cycle. A litter of baby otters are safe and warm in their snug den by the river, but the coming of spring means the pups are ready to explore the riverside. Enjoy the antics of these fun-loving creatures as they play... and play... and play through the seasons. The beautiful illustrations by Meilo So show just how much fun the otters have. A fascinating look at a very charismatic animal.

What's So Special about Dickens? by Michael Rosen

This highly readable account of the life of one of our best-loved authors is a great way to introduce children to the great man and his works. The approach is light-hearted but very informative and the lively illustrations will enhance children's enjoyment. During Dickens's lifetime, his novels sold in their thousands, and his touring one-man show was an international hit; his fame just went on growing and his books are read all over the world, and have been adapted for both stage and screen. The book gives us a richly detailed summary of Dickens's childhood and career, a witty recap of his best-known novels (a great way to get an overview of the stories), and lively black-and-white illustrations from Sarah Nayler, this book is the perfect introduction to the work and world of Charles Dickens.

A Journey Through the Weather by Steve Parker

Weather is fascinating and it has a huge impact on our daily lives. From sunshine to snow, rain to hurricanes, find out how weather works and how it shapes our planet. The readers can test their knowledge with the quiz included at the back of the book, readers can test themselves on the knowledge they have learned! It's ideal for a newly confident reader to read alone, or for adult and child to share and use the opportunity to discuss the weather in more detail. With colourful illustrations throughout, this is an engaging look at all sorts of weather from around the world. Open out the cover for a poster depicting all sorts of weather - a great talking point

Ultimate Mapping Guide for Kids by Justin Miles

With satnavs and maps on phones, we don't want to let map-reading become a thing of the past - it can be so enjoyable. With this practical book, children will learn to understand maps, make their own cartographic creations, and set out to find their own way around - there's even a compass included. I was fascinated by the plethora of facts included in the page margins, with with topical references for easy navigation and fascinating facts, such as "The Babylonians first mapped the stars over 2,500 years ago." The book is excellent for supporting KS2/KS3 geography, with explanations of topics including longitude and latitude, satellite navigation, bathymetric maps, how to read grid maps, and how to make a scale map of your house and yard. There are plenty of illustrations and diagrams to make it all clear, plus step-by-step guides to a range of projects. It's a great way to encourage children to get outdoors, and to explore - and don't forget that modern technology which will be a great backup to reassure parents that their children will navigate their way home.

100 Things to Know Before You Grow Up by Lisa M. Gerry

This is just the sort of book I love to leave around for children to dip into, whether at home or in the school library. It's jam-packed with tips, tricks, and skills that will be great for everyone to know before turning 18. It's totally fascinating, with a huge range of tips and tricks, how-tos and hints on things including map-reading, planting, doing the laundry, packing a suitcase, handling an emergency... the awesome list of topics goes on and on. It's written in friendly accessible language and illustrated throughout; it comes complete with expert advice from real life explorers, adventurers, and masters of their craft, and it's perfect for jump-starting an amazing life!

Creep and Flutter: The Secret World of Insects and Spiders by Jim Arnosky

Is your child (or maybe you are!) wary of spiders and other creepy-crawlies? Take a look inside this book and they (or you) will see these amazing creatures from a totally different perspective and, hopefully, will learn to appreciate them rather than running away from them - or worse, squashing them. Acclaimed naturalist and illustrator Jim Arnosky brings out the beauty of insects and spiders through superlative illustrations, both colour and black and white drawings. Eight spectacular gatefolds show moths and mosquitoes, butterflies and beetles, spiders and silverfish life-size, up close and personal. A beautiful book which really makes us appreciate the wonders of these creatures.

How Hot Is Lava?: And Other Questions about Volcanoes (Good Question! series) by Kelly Smith

I like the approach of this series, which takes questions commonly asked by children and gives clear factual answers. What exactly is a volcano? How hot is lava? How many different ways can a volcano blow its top? What were the biggest volcanic eruptions in history? Are there volcanoes on other planets? Each topic is covered in a two page spread with excellent colour illustrations that help to explain the topic. There is also a timeline of major eruptions. A fascinating look at a topic that intrigues children. Published by Sterling, April 2016, ISBN 978-1454916017.

National Geographic Kids Mission: Shark Rescue by Ruth A. Musgrave

This book is subtitled "All About Sharks and How to Save Them" and it is packed with facts about these wonderful creatures. Of course, as the title shows, the emphasis is on how to save sharks; the informative nature of the book really helps children to see what needs to be done to help sharks. This compelling narrative combines fun and amazing adventure stories, gorgeous photography, hands-on activities, fascinating information and more, giving a varied approach that will appeal to many different kinds of readers. Meet real-life sharks, the people who work with them and learn about their habitats, challenges, and successes, plus learn how YOU can take action and save these amazing endangered creatures. The photos are a stand-out feature of the book and include many superb images. It's an enthralling look at all aspects of the shark and its life.

National Geographic Kids Mission by Kitson Jazynka

Just like the preceding book, this takes an in-depth look and shows children how they can play a part in supporting animal life - this time, we look at the world of the giant panda. The mission of this book is to get up close to giant pandas to learn all about their lives, the challenges they face, and what can be done to help save them. Discover a true story about a panda in the wild, amazing adventure stories from real-life explorers in the field, and hands-on rescue activities for ideas on how YOU can take action to help save these amazing creatures. The outstanding feature of these books is the use of wonderful photography, drawing on all the extensive resources of National Geographic - this is a real plus and, of course, the giant panda is one of the most photogenic of creatures. The practical aspect of these books is excellent, putting children at the centre of ways to protect endangered species.

The Amazing Dinosaur Detectives by Maggie Li

Subtitled 'Amazing Facts, Myths and Quirks of the Dinosaur World' this is a fascinating and unusual look at the world of dinosaurs; the approach means this book is a welcome addition to the market. It abounds with facts and dispels some of the myths surrounding these amazing creatures. The highly visual approach makes the concepts easy to understand and one example of this is the first two page spread which shows the layers of earth and how bones and fossils came to be buried. Facts are clearly superimposed on colourful backgrounds with plenty of questions to stimulate children and get them thinking. The excellent diagrams and layout make the book really enjoyable to read and the approach is very child-friendly.

Safe Social Networking (Fact Finders) by Heather E Schwartz

Our children are using social networking sites from an ever-younger age and the dangers are well publicised. An interesting point I was reminded of recently is the fact that our children are no longer always protected by parental controls as they are increasingly using mobile phones away from the security of home, and social networking is a big part of this. So it's absolutely vital that we teach children how to be safe and this clear and practical book will be a valuable resource for parents and teachers. If a stranger asks your child to be their online friend, do they know what to do? This book is here to help, giving tech-savvy ways to keep your social net-working sites safe sites without taking away all the fun. Given all the well-known dangers of social networking, I would be been inclined to use the word 'safer' rather than 'safe' in the title. But that doesn't detract from the value of this excellent guide, though.

Splat!: The most exciting artists of all time by Mary Richards

This exciting book traces art history through its key turning points and helps to map important art movements from the Renaissance and Impressionism to Surrealism and contemporary art. A timeline at the beginning puts it all into context and then brief sections explore the stories of significant artists including Michelangelo, Bruegel, Manet, Caravaggio, Jan Vermeer, Henri Rousseau, Vincent Van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky and Frida Kahlo. It's a wide-ranging look across the centuries and every artist is explained in enough detail to stimulate further discovery; there are plenty of reproductions of famous works too, mainly full page. The book gives an excellent insight into what makes each artist great; the style makes it enjoyable to read and he achievements of these artists and the challenges, difficulties and dangers they faced are excitingly brought to life.

Discover... The Ancient Egyptians by Imogen Greenberg

Ancient civilisations are a key history topic at KS2, so this new series from Frances Lincoln which takes a fresh look at the subject is very welcome. Each spread explores a different theme or topic specific to Ancient Egyptian culture, including pharaohs, mummies, pyramids, gods, sacred animals, the Nile and hieroglyphs plus a timeline. The books are presented as comic strips which offer a fresh and accessible entry point to core educational topics for children 8+. It's an approach which is bound to be popular and it's an excellent way to engage children with reading non-fiction. The unusual format of the book works well with this approach and there's plenty of information to be learnt.

Discover... The Roman Empire by Imogen Greenberg

Following the same unusual and effective format as The Ancient Egyptians, this book gives KS2 children a unique insight into the world of Ancient Rome. They follow Roman Octavia and an archaeologist through the pages of the book, finding out about emperors, the Roman army, religion, inventions, buildings, everyday life and much more. Speech bubbles, fact boxes and cartoon-style illustrations plus a fold-out timeline and map interweave to give us an engaging as well as informative book. It's a way of presenting information that will really capture children's interest; there are plenty of touches of humour to keep children's attention and what could be a dry subject is vividly brought to life.

Queen Elizabeth II: Crowns, Horses and Corgis (Very Peculiar History) by David Arscott

This enjoyable and light-hearted look at the reign of our Queen is full of lesser-known facts and gives us an insight into the life of Elizabeth II, her personality and the private tragedies and triumphs that have marked her time on the throne.. The entertaining and enlightening text recounts the tumultuous historical periods that have coincided with her reign, and help us to put the events into historical context. It shows how the monarchy has adapted over the years and how it has kept its strength and place in the British people's affection despite the upheavals and problems. An enjoyable read.

You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Vegetables! by Alex Woolf

Is your child reluctant to eat vegetables? Encourage them to read this interesting book and they may well change their mind! Vegetables provide us with vitamins that make us healthier and are used to make things like dyes and adhesives. You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Vegetables! is part of a brand-new science and technology strand within the internationally acclaimed You Wouldn't Want to Be series; I love this series which takes a light-hearted yet extremely informative approach to the subjects children need to know about. The presentation is excellent - plenty of facts and lively illustrations to answer the question which is posed on each two page spread. There's even a vegetable timeline.

The Egyptian Mummy Embalmer's Handbook (Chronicles) by Jacqueline Morley

This is the fascinating story of Egyptian priestess Henutmehyt, whose coffin is in the British Museum. The book goes into great detail about the way in which she was mummified after her death and shows the high level of craftsmanship involved. Excellent illustrations and diagrams accompany the text and show the process in depth - you will be amazed at how much is involved! The book also contains a guide to Egyptian coffins and a spectacular gatefold image of the River Nile. Overall, the book gives a good insight into Ancient Egypt and the beliefs and customs of the people.

An Ancient African Town (Spectacular Visual Guides) by Fiona Macdonald

The billing of this book as 'spectacular' is certainly justified. As with all Book House books, it is the visual aspect that really makes it stand out and the superb quality of the illustrations makes the book highly attractive and very informative. The book takes the reader on an incredible tour through an African Town, exploring its relevance to the people who built it and the lives that they lead. Stunning cut-away illustrations and a clear, concise writing style help lead the reader through the often complex social and historical context; it's a great way to gain a deeper understanding of a place and time less familiar to readers.

Pocket Eyewitness Cars from DK

This pocket-sized book is perfect to take out and about, with plenty of fun facts for children to enjoy. It's full of bite-sized chunks of information that make learning about cars even more fun, and the succinct approach is perfect for children who are not too keen on reading. Learn all about the history of cars from the first automobiles ever made right up to to record-breaking vehicles and supercars. Read about the many different types of cars that exist today, from hatchbacks and saloons to hybrids and vintage cars, and even explore the exhilarating sport of car racing. With amazing encyclopaedic stats, engaging photographs and genius gem facts, DK Pocket Eyewitness Cars will help you explore cool cars from every era. Of course, there are plenty of photos to help children recognise the various cars and the fascinating facts will keep them enthralled for hours.

A Beginner's Guide to Electricity and Magnetism by Gill Arbuthnott

Just imagine a world without electricity - but just 150 years ago, there was no electricity. Perfect to support KS2 science, in this engrossing book, children will learn about the history of electricity, how it gets from its original source to your plug socket and what might happen in the future. Electricity and magnetism are closely connected, and this book clearly explains how they are interwoven. The presentation is excellent, with lots of diagrams to make the explanations clear, as well as engaging cartoon-style illustrations. The explanations are clear and easy to follow and written in a friendly approachable way that will engage children's interest. Packed full of brilliant full colour illustrations, amazing photos and fascinating facts, this is the perfect first introduction to the mysterious world of electricity and magnetism.

Little Explorers: Outer Space by Ruth Martin

Your little explorer will love this series of books which engages them by offering lots of flaps to life and explore. These are combined with simple and informative text and colourful child-friendly illustrations. Together, they offer an excellent way to encourage children to explore space and learn about our solar system. Children will find out about black holes, what else floats around in space, the environments of planets in different universes, how we landed on the moon, and much, much more. Light-hearted touches such as the friendly faces drawn on the planets, and touches of humour, make learning fun and encourage children to keep on reading

Little Explorers: The Animal World by Ruth Martin

This is a lively introduction to all types of animals and the environments they live in. Although the presentation is really geared to KS1 children, I have chosen to put these books under KS2 because of the level of the text - this is a personal decision and younger children will love to share these books with adults as they can lift the flaps and explore whilst having the text read to them. Young readers will be amazed as they find out all about the fastest animals in the world, the rarest animals in the wild, animals living in the deepest parts of the ocean, and much, much more. There over 30 sturdy flaps to lift, along with accessible artwork (the pictures are lovely, with their friendly animals) that introduces new concepts and vocabulary in a simple and accessible way. The presentation is excellent and the book is very informative with plenty of information for children to enjoy.

Super Science: Experiments by Tom Adams

This exciting novelty book is full of simple science experiments for children to try at home - with a bit of help from adults. It's given added value by the flaps to lift and pop-ups to enjoy. It covers elements from Key Stage 2 and 3 of the school science curriculum in a fun and accessible way, with a range of experiments that use easily found items from around the house including mentos, cola, honey, eggs and sugar. They are nearly all things that are readily to hand, so there's nothing to stop children from trying out the simple experiments straightaway - and they will gain an understanding of science in a practical way that will help with their learning. Many of the experiments could be done easily in the classroom too; they are quick and easy to set up and carry out. Every experiment is accompanied by a simple explanation of the science involved, and there are plenty of illustrations to further understanding. This is an excellent book, perfect to have at home when you want some fun activities.

Head to Head: Record-Breaking Animals by Anna Brett

Infographics are a popular and successful way to present information for children - they have immediate impact and appeal especially to visual learners or those who are reluctant or struggling readers. This fact-filled book makes good use of the concept and adds excellent presentation methods of its own. The split pages enable readers to compare the key statistics for each animal (each animal is included on the upper and lower pages). Facts given include where they live, what they eat, how big they are, how fast they run, how many offspring they have, how long they live, and much more - there are some incredible facts given. More than 50 of the planet's most incredible record-breaking animals are profiled, with helpful locator maps and a wealth of easy-to-understand infographics. It's a shame there is no index, though. The jazzy colourful presentation has immediate impact and the ability to compare is great fun - a good way to encourage reading.

Mind-Boggling Science: What Came Before the Big Bang? by Simon Holland

Children are naturally inquisitive - they love to ask difficult questions and perhaps catch adults out. This is the first title in a new series of science question-and-answer books which will each provide the lowdown on more than 50 of the most intriguing questions. How about these questions to encourage you to buy the book? 'Why do parachutes have holes in them? Why do onions make us cry? Why do dustbins seem to smell the same? Each conversational answer is packed with humour, eye-opening asides; there's sometimes more than one answer, encouraging children to think for themselves and giving them the tools to question what they read and what their teachers tell them. The concept is excellent and the friendly tone of the answers is just like having a conversation. A book that both children and adults will dip into over and over again, and come up with strange and interesting facts.

Eyewonder Weather from DK

Weather has a major impact on our daily lives and this book looks at all the various forms of weather children may encounter and explains how they occur. Hands-on learning is always helpful, so the fun educational activities and themed stickers will support the facts. When they have read the book, children can answer true or false questions, answer questions to reach Antarctica, identify close-ups and more. Every sort of weather is here - thunder and lightning, wind and rain, snow and ice, all seen from a worldwide perspective. Of course, being DK, there are superb photos throughout and a clear and attractive layout with fact boxes for additional information. There's a good glossary too. Excellent to support KS2 science homework or projects, or simply for general knowledge.

Space: Ultimate Factivity Collection from DK

This is an excellent blend of factual information and engaging activities; children respond well to this approach and it's amazing how much knowledge they acquire while enjoying the activities. The book is packed with amazing facts and fun activities based on the stars, planets and galaxies - read and create; draw and learn; fact challenge; test your knowledge and over 500 stickers. Find out about the night sky, what a black hole is, learn about shooting stars and explore the depths of outer space through facts and activities that will firmly embed those facts in children's minds. With DK's fabulous use of photos, illustrations and layout, children are guaranteed hours of enjoyment and they will be well informed about space by the time they have finished the book - and amazed by its marvels. It would be great to have to hand for school holidays as it will keep them occupied happily for hours.

100 Events That Made History from DK

It's hard to define history by just 100 events, but DK have made an excellent selection that will provide a springboard for children to explore more and deeper. The book takes and engaging and gently humorous look at major moments of the past in a way that will really capture children's interest. This is not dull, dry history but history brought to life by exciting text and superb illustrations. Learn why Ivan became so terrible, why a sandwich was fatal for Archduke Ferdinand, the fact that plague still occurs today and more of history's key moments. By expanding on each of the 100 topics and looking at surrounding events, the book manages to be far more wide-ranging than the title suggests. This would be a perfect book for a home reference library as it gives enough information to support homework and stimulates further interest.

50 Things You Should Know About: Wild Weather by Anna Claybourne

Weather has always fascinated people - especially the British! Never more so than now, when we are experiencing more and more instances of extreme weather. This book shows and explains how our weather works, how it affects our lives and how it shapes our planet. It discusses weather all around the world, with sections on the power of the sun, wild wind, the world of water and freezing cold. Infographics, diagram and photographs combine to make an enticing book; a book which will leave the reader with a far better understanding of the weather around us, how it originates and the effects it has on our lives. A fascinating read with good explanations and informative for us all, not just children.

Tony Robinson's Weird World of Wonders: Pets

Take an unusual trip through history - as seen through the eyes of pets - with the aid of the Curiosity Crew. It starts at the beginning (of course!) with man's oldest and best friend, the dog and then introduces the cat, who had a useful role to play. Not all animals were looked after though - the Ancient Romans enjoyed a baked parrot, or a baked flamingo if parrots were unavailable! It's this sort of weird and wacky fact that children will revel in, and the book is full of them. There are horses, guinea pigs (they made a tasty snack too!) and mice. The book continues in the same vein, exploring the various ways man has used (and abused) animals throughout history. It's written in a lively, tongue-in-cheek fashion that children will love, there are lots of illustrations and plenty of strange facts to engross the reader.

Why Space Matters To Me by Colin Stuart

Space surrounds us and children will be fascinated to explore the ways in which it impacts on our lives. In this eye-opening and revealing journey, astrophysicist Colin Stuart answers the questions about space that intrigue and puzzle children about space; he makes a complex subject easy to understand and writes in a way that appeals to children. Including everyday topics to which children will readily relate, such as stardust, weather, seasons, tides, navigation and more, the book explains the many ways in which space is linked to life on Earth. It's an unusual approach and one that will appeal to children's natural inquisitiveness. The book is packed with facts presented in a visually appealing variety of ways including good use of diagrams and fact boxes; it's well illustrated throughout, too. An excellent book.

Robots (Explorers) by Chris Oxlade

I love to find good quality non fiction for younger readers and this is an excellent series for children in Years 2 to 4. Robots takes children into an exploration into the fascinating world of robotics. They will learn how they work, the variety of jobs they can do and about robot exploration underwater, in the air and in space. The writing style is accessible and enjoyable and the layout is excellent, with plenty of colour photos. Especially notable is the good labelling on the photos which really adds to the information value. "Explorers are designed to appeal to all readers aged 6-8: those who are just starting to read alone and more confident readers who are beginning to exercise wider reading and cross-referencing skills. Lively, dramatic artwork scenes draw children into a subject, and each scene is followed by a photographic information spread that gives a wealth of extra detail. As a fun extra element, the reader can follow themed links to access information on related topics." An extensive series - well worth looking out for.

Ancient Worlds: A thrilling adventure through ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome from Kingfisher

This would be an excellent book for a home library, as it will be referred to over and over again through KS2 as children study ancient civilisations. Readers will discover the strangest facts, read incredible information and marvel at the amazing 3D artwork that brings alive the people, places, lives, beliefs, treasures, and battles of the awe-inspiring worlds of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome. The internet links on every page are well worth noting - they guide the reader to a fascinating wealth of online information about these ancient civilizations, and really extend the learning value of the book. Attractively laid out, the book makes good use of visual material to appeal to the reader, and it is packed with information.

The Big Book of Bugs by Yuval Zommer

'Just how slow does a snail go? Are bugs afraid of the dark? Why do ants march in a line?' These are just some of the intriguing questions answered on the over-sized and beautifully illustrated book. The book is divided into key groups of bugs, including beetles, moths, butterflies, ladybirds, stick insects, bees, snails, crickets, grasshoppers, worms, spiders and more. They are all illustrated with scenic compositions which show the bugs against the environments in which they live; these are full of detail. Some spreads approach the world of bugs thematically, for example, bugs that come out at night, baby creepy-crawlies and life cycles, how bugs hide and show off and how some bugs love to live in your home. The text is written in a friendly and accessible manner which will engage children's attention and they will love to read and learn about the wonderful lives of bugs. A lovely book. Publication date 21/03/16.

The First Telephone (DK Reads) from DK

Encourage children to enjoy reading whilst satisfying their thirst for knowledge with this narrative-style non-fiction book. The engaging story is supported by factual material and a wide range of excellent illustrations. There is valuable teaching material including a timeline, glossary and quotes, which make the book a really valuable classroom resource, with its varied approaches to learning - it's an excellent format and one which I really like. 'This book is perfect for children "Reading Alone" who are proficient readers and developing the habit of reading widely for both pleasure and information. DK Reads are levelled into stages to help every child progress their reading skills and become a confident reader. DK Reads feature engaging and highly illustrated topics which appeal to kids. The story is supported with interactive themed pages and questions to encourage children to access information from a range of sources and develop comprehension and reading skills.'

The Little Guide to Science: An Interactive Adventure in the Land of Discoveries by Catherine de Duve

The appealing format of this book is an ideal way to capture children's interest as they are drawn in by the activities and questions. It takes the reader on a whirlwind tour, starting with the the Big Bang. It shows how life began on earth, and teaches children about some of man's greatest discoveries, including the telegraph, the telephone and the dynamo. With succinct facts and a superb range of illustrative material including diagrams, photos and drawings, the book is colourful, informative and engaging. Throughout the book, there are varied activities for children to enjoy and which will enhance their learning and memorising. ISBN 978-2875750792, published March 2016 by Happy Museum.

Little People, Big Dreams: Coco Chanel by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Children in KS1 will study the lives of a wide range of famous people from all walks of life, so this new series from Frances Lincoln is very timely. The theme is the series is that these outstanding people achieved incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream - and so the series encourages children to have high aspirations for themselves. Coco Chanel, then called Gabrielle, was brought up in an orphanage but even then, she liked to be different - and she was a genius with needle and thread. She was a cabaret singer and a hat maker before her success as an international fashion designer. The stylish illustrative style is perfect for the subject and there are extra facts about Coco Chanel at the end of this super book.

Little People, Big Dreams: Frida Kahlo by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Frida Kahlo was always different, but a childhood accident destroyed her dreams. But she began painting from her bedside and produced over 140 works, culminating in a solo exhibition in America. The book tells the story of how she met and fell in love with her husband, and how her paintings reflected her life. It's an inspirational story, well told. The book concludes with extra facts about Frida's life. Once again, the illustrations are perfect for the subject of the book. The whole series is really stylish in its approach - with black spines and bright covers, the books really stand out and are bound to attract children.

Pirates - Ripley Believe It or Not! (Ripley Twists)

The cover of this book tells prospective readers that it is 'a treasure trove of true life tales... it's all pirates with a Ripley twist.' And if you hadn't been assured that it is all true, you may well think some of the amazing facts have been made up! From early times, right up to pirates in today's world, there are facts galore. The jazzy presentation of the book will have instant appeal; there are colourful backgrounds, lots of illustrations and fact boxes liberally sprinkled throughout. There's a vast amount of information here, all presented in short chunks of text and using a variety of fonts. Readers can learn the lingo, find out why pirates have parrots, learn about pirate battles and much, much more. Weird and wonderful - perfect for pirate fans.

Snakes & Reptiles - Ripley's Believe It or Not (Ripley Twists)

The colourful presentation and fascinating facts make this a book to engage readers, even those who are generally reluctant to pick up a book. From scaly snakes and tough alligators, to the largest lizards and oldest turtles, young readers will meet and be amazed by some of the most stunning reptiles that inhabit our earth. The facts seem amazing but they are all true! Fantastic photographs and surprising facts abound on every page. The eye-catching presentation and well-told facts will stimulate and entertain. Children will delight in relating the amazing facts to anyone who will listen, and their awe for the natural world will be increased along with their knowledge.

Factfeed by Penny Arlon

This fascinating book is quite unputdownable! It's a book of lists, but a book with a difference - it's perfectly designed for the YouTube and Buzzfeed generation. The jazzy bright presentation will really appeal and the book makes superb use of layout, fonts, colour and illustration to present an amazing plethora of facts. Children will learn the coolest animal facts, the most unbelievable science info and amazing 'did you know' details about everyday life. It includes the 10 most disgusting parasites - 8 ways that plants 'think' - 10 cool ways your body defends itself - the 10 weirdest bits of space junk - 10 gross lunch boxes from around the world - 10 cool robots - 5 ways social media is rewiring your brain. It's really unusual and children will love it - be prepared to be bombarded with weird and wonderful facts. A brilliant way to widen children's (and adults') general knowledge and inspire an interest in the world around us.

Wicked World Tour (Horrible Geography) by Anita Ganeri

Nothing is too horrible for this book - it's geography with the gritty bits left in! Find out where the world's worst weather is, what it's like holidaying in the desert, learn about some horrible feeding habits and much, much more... It's all here, from the perishing poles to desperate deserts, stormy weather to earth-shattering earthquakes. Bright presentation and plenty of illustrations give an appealing feel to the book. There are health warnings, wicked world facts, teacher teasers and horrible geography guides. The light-hearted format holds a huge amount of information - children will be glued to the book and it will increase their interest in geography. Crammed full of far-out facts, it's the ultimate Horrible Geography guide to the planet. Geography has never been so horrible - or so engrossing!

How Machines Work from DK

This wonderful book uses superbly engineered pop-ups and award-winning illustrations to demonstrate the technology of six simple machines. It tells the story of friends Sloth and his side-kick Sengi who are tired of being confined to an enclosure in the zoo. Follow their antics as they try to break out of the zoo with the help of levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges and wheels. Children can explore six simple machines, from bicycles and cranes to hammers and drills, through interactive science, as they lift the flaps, turn the cogs, create a seesaw, turn the wheel and much, much more. The science behind all the machines is clearly explained, and the hands-on activities really aid understanding. The story is entertaining, with plenty of touches of humour, and I like the way it is used to link together the various machines. As well as the activities, there are plenty of diagrams to explain the science and the book ends with a wonderful huge pop-up. Brilliant!

SPEND IT ALL! (The Wealthville Series Book 1) by Annie Chisambo

Annie Chisambo specialises in teaching money matters to children in simple ways that are easy for young minds to understand. $P€ND IT ALL! was written with the intention of encouraging children to learn to manage their money from an early age, through a story. The story, though, features teen children. It has a strong moral about spending money wisely and not owing money to friends. Annie strongly believes in the proverb, train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. She is convinced that the earlier children learn to manage their money, the less likely they are to land in financial trouble, when older. These are excellent tenets and it's good to encourage children to learn to manage their money from an early age.

Tree Matters by Gita Wolf

This attractive and unusual book introduces the Bhil people of Central India, who are amongst the country's oldest indigenous communities. To them, the natural world is not 'a thing apart', but exists in a seamless relationship to their home and the everyday; that unity is celebrated here by Gangu Bai, Bhil artist, who explores this relationship through her own memories. Every story has a tree or trees at its heart round trees; every story relates one of her memories and shows just how trees are interwoven into the Bhil culture. Unusually illustrated, the paintings in this book bring us a universe of brightly coloured dots, lines and shapes that encompasses all living beings, big and small and wise and wonderful. It's a wonderful illustrative style that is full of life and colour; the people fairly dance off the pages. It would make a wonderful basis for an art project for the classroom.

The Great Scientists in Bite-sized Chunks by Meredith MacArdle

As part of the new science curriculum, children will learn about famous scientists, so this book will support that very well, in addition to encouraging children to take an interest in other scientists. The book covers, in chronological order then arranged by discipline, the key discoveries of the most prolific thinkers in each scientific field, including Aristotle, Darwin, da Vinci, Newton, Descartes and Hawking. It also includes interesting insights into the most influential scientists' lives and works. Learn how Ptolemy fixed his results to match his theories; how Freud used cocaine to expand his thinking; how Fleming discovered penicillin by accident; and how Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, was banned from using university computers after being caught hacking. There's plenty here to interest all ages, with interesting information presented in a very readable manner.

Surprising Sharks by Nicola Davies

The last word you want to hear when you're swimming in the warm blue sea is "Shark!" But what if it's a dwarf lantern shark? This little shark, no bigger than a bar of chocolate is no threat (unless you're a shrimp!). And that's just one of the fascinating facts to be learnt in this well-presented book. The presentation is outstanding - the superb artwork by James Croft shows us all about sharks and the world in which they live. The book makes excellent use of really good, well-labelled diagrams too. Every page is in full colour and the engrossing text weaves in and out of the pictures to give the reader a real insight into sharks in all their amazing variety.

National Theatre: All About Theatre

Any stage-struck youngster would be thrilled to receive this enthralling book. Described by Benedict Cumberbatch as "a brilliant introduction to theatre", this fascinating book by the National Theatre shows how plays like War Horse and many others are made. The book is packed with interviews with famous directors and actors, like Lenny Henry, Meera Syal, Julie Walters and Ben Whishaw, and productions like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and One Man, Two Guvnors. Hear from experts at the world-famous National Theatre about every aspect of stagecraft, including prop-making, set building and lighting design, and discover, from first idea to final curtain, how plays are made. Superbly illustrated throughout, with excellent use of photos, diagrams and fact boxes, it's visually highly appealing. The insight it gives will be really valuable in helping students understand how plays are staged and will greatly enhance their appreciation of the plays they study at school. It covers every aspect of the theatre and even offers ideas to try at home; teachers will find it invaluable too. A fantastic way to encourage children to take an interest in the theatre and to encourage them to have a go themselves.

On the Space Station (Shine-A Light Books) by Carron Brown

Children will be intrigued by the novelty of these books - as they hold the pages up to the light, so the picture changes. This pictorial book tells the story of three astronauts who live and work in a space station. Readers will be able to discover how astronauts work, eat and exercise on a space station, and will delight in following a crew from lift-off to touch-down. The innovative see-through feature fulfils a similar function to lift-the-flap books, but has the added interactive dimension of the child being able to see both the surface and the hidden picture at the same time. Alternate pages page feature full colour illustrations, backed with a black and white picture which shows through when a light is shone behind the book. Informative text accompanies the pictures. Through the book, children are asked questions which encourage them to think more deeply about life in space.

On the Plane (Shine-A Light Books) by Carron Brown

If you are planning your child's first plane journey, this book will provide an excellent way for you to explain what happens, from the start of the journey at the airport, through what happens in flight and on to the excitement of reaching your destination. Shine a torch through the pages to see the pictures populated with even more interesting things, and encourage children to think about the questions posed. A useful section at the end describes some of the people and objects met through the book - encourage children to go back and spot the pictures and discuss what they can see. An unusual and engaging series which children will enjoy.

101 Movies to See Before You Grow Up (101 Things) by Suzette Valle

Subtitled 'Be your own movie critic--the must-see movie list for kids', this is a fascinating look at a wide-ranging selection of films that encapsulates the best of movie-making for young people. Classified into six main sections - family, action/adventure/drama, musicals, sports, school and documentary/history, the book goes beyond mainstream films into many you may not have thought of - or even heard of! Children can use the book as an interactive film journal and record when they see the film, their star rating and details about the story. Each page features a single movie with basic information about each, including the director, stars, runtime, rating, and date of release. Attractive presentation is enhanced by the side-bars which give this information - good for quick reference Can you identify every film on the colourful fold-out page at the end? If you are wondering what to watch with your family, then this book may well have the answer - encourage all the family to browse through and choose what they want to watch. A great addition to the family bookshelf.

Welcome To Mars by Buzz Aldrin

Buzz Aldrin invites YOU to join him in being among the first to set up a new community on Mars. It's a fascinating way to learn about the planet as not just an impossibly far-away place but as a possible future home for Earthlings. A combination of informative text, drawings, diagrams and fact boxes alongside stunning photography encourages children to look at and ponder on every aspect of living on Mars, from how to get there, to what they will (and won't) need, what they will eat and what they will find there. Throughout the book, there are practical activities that develop understanding and provide a practical base to learning that is excellent for supporting KS2 science. A novel, lively and engaging presentation, written with great authority and totally engrossing to read.

How to Budget with Your Pocket Money by Annie Chisambo

Even children can learn how to budget and use their money sensibly. Among the questions discussed in the book are - What is a budget? Why should I save money? How do I open a savings account? and Where can I find the cheapest prices? Children may be starting off in a small way, but, as the book shows, it's never to early to start to develop good habits. It could be a dry subject but good use of illustrations, amusing anecdotes and a practical, child-friendly approach make the book easy to read; there's a quiz and a crossword to enjoy too, as well as a helpful glossary. Annie Chisambo is highly experienced in financial matters and in helping young people handle money; this experience shows through in the book with its practical advice and sensible suggestions to set children on a good path that will hopefully stand them in good stead for the future.

Would You Rather: Have the Teeth of a T-Rex or the Armour of an Ankylosaurus? by Camilla de le Bédoyère

This is an excellent series which really encourages children to think about their learning, rather than simply accepting the answers adults give to them - perfectly in keeping with today's teaching methods. Children are given a series of questions on a two-page spread - would you rather ... have teeth like a T-rex, a face like a triceratops, a neck like a mamenchisaurus or armour like an ankylosaurus? Over the page, they will find lots of facts based on the questions, so they can see if they made a good choice and learn more about these fascinating creatures. It's a fun way to present information, well illustrated.

Would you Rather: Shake like a Dog or Climb like a Cat? by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Would you rather picnic with a rat, grab a snack with a snake, nibble with a guinea pig or peck with a hen? Children can make a guess at the answer then turn the page to learn that a rat might bring along some rotting plants but a guinea pig could even bring its own droppings! With plenty of unexpected answers and lots of information, children will enjoy this different approach to presenting information. With no wrong or right answers, there are endless possibilities for discussion with this format; it encourages children to think about their answers. Even more facts and notes at the end of book encourage the reader to come up with their own questions. Amusing, entertaining and informative - a good way to encourage even the most reluctant reader to enjoy books.

A Journey Through Space by Steve Parker

Take an exciting journey through the Solar System, discovering the planets, satellites, comets and asteroids along the way. The dust cover opens up to reveal a generously sized and brightly coloured poster to display, showing some of the things children have learnt about in the book. The text is set against full page illustrations, but clarity has been kept by good use of coloured fonts, carefully chosen to look attractive and still be clear to read. Packed with lively illustrations to reveal our amazing universe, this book is perfect for a parent and child to read together or to explore independently. Full of fascinating facts, this is an ideal introduction to space, covering a wide range of topics which include shapes in the sky, so children can look out for the stars themselves.

A Journey Through the Human Body by Steve Parker

Children will enjoy this light-hearted but informative look at the human body, which is written in a way that will really appeal to children. As children read the book, they are encouraged to look around them and observe different people. Practical illustrations show how different parts of the body work, including the lungs, the heart and the digestive system. Child-friendly illustrations show uncluttered information with clear labelling, perfect for children to copy to reinforce their learning and understanding. The cover folds out to make a poster for display. The book concludes with a quiz and a spot the body parts page, to ensure children have understood what they have read. A colourful and engaging reference book.

Stuff You Should Know! by John Farndon

I found myself quite engrossed in this book and children will definitely enjoy reading it. It answers so many of the questions they ask about the world around them - how does a toilet flush? What is the secret of television? How does a smoke alarm work? How does water get to the tap? These are just a few of the questions that are answered in a lively format with plentiful illustrations. To ensure that the questions are fully answered, many of the topics have fold-out pages with lots more information. Inquisitive children who want to know 'why?' will love this book which is packed with facts presented in a clear, child-friendly way, with background information about our everyday world. An excellent way to encourage children to take an interest in science, which lies behind so many of the things we take for granted; as they enjoy the book they will come to appreciate and understand scientific principles in a way that will support their learning.

50 Things You Should Know about The Human Body by Angela Royston

Perfect to support KS2 science, children will learn and understand about how the body works its magic to help them move, hear, breathe, grow... and much more. Packed with facts, diagrams, info-graphics and photos, this is the perfect introduction to the amazing human body, presented in a lively and colourful way that is bound to engage children's interest. Rather than taking the parts of the body in isolation, the book shows how the parts of the body form a network of systems that work together to keep us alive and active. Each chapter focuses on a different system: Outer Body, Nervous System, Skeleton and Muscles, Breathing System, Heart and Blood, Digestive System, Urinary System, Growing and Changing. Body maps are included to show how organs and systems all function together; these are really good for giving that overall picture. Fact panels provide fascinating snippets of extra information - those bits of information children love to quote. You can flick through the book and see interesting snippets along the page edges, to whet the appetite.

50 Things You Should Know About Prehistoric Britain by Clare Hibbert

Putting a limit on the number of facts can be a limiting way to produce non-fiction but when it is well-handled, as in this series, it provides a good focus and helps to link together related facts. A lively mix of information and picture styles including photographs, reconstructions, fact boxes, drawings and timelines means the book has plenty to interest all children, whatever their preferred learning style. The book looks at prehistoric Britain starting 900,000 years ago when the first humans arrived. Readers will learn how metal was first used, where people were buried and abut their everyday life; much of this is shown by the remains these people left behind them. The new history curriculum requires children to study these early times, and the engaging presentation of facts in this book will really spark their interest and give a good basis for learning.

The Pebble in my Pocket: A History of Our Earth by Meredith Hooper

Children love to pick up pebbles and those of an enquiring mind will wonder where they came from and how they were formed. This book tells the story of a pebble, from its origins in a fiery volcano 480 million years ago, through the ages of dinosaurs and mammoths right up to a busy, modern landscape. The book shows, in a narrative style, the processes of rock formation and erosion that create new pebbles all over the world. The text is superimposed on, or framed by superb pictures which show the evolution of the pebble wonderfully. The book concludes with a timeline that puts it all into context. It's an engaging way to present information and children will respond well to this.

The Drop in my Drink: The Story of Water on Our Planet by Meredith Hooper

Another book which will enthuse children for the topic through its combination of informative pictures and narrative-style text. Follow the story of a drop of water as the author takes us back thousands of years to see where the Earth's water came from, and how life began in the oceans and later moved onto land. She describes the water cycle, the relationship between water and living things and between water and erosion. Environmental issues are discussed and she provides a fascinating collection of water facts. All this is illustrated with remarkable paintings which show water in many guises, along with the creatures which depend on it.

Story of Life: Evolution (Welcome to the Museum) by Katie Scott

Help children to understand the process of evolution with this stunning fold-out book, one of the Big Picture Press' superb Welcome to the Museum series. It starts with the first single-cell organisms, 541 million years ago in the Pre-Cambrian era and ends with modern life forms in the Neocene and Quaternary eras. On the reverse there is information about developments in each period - it's good to see the book doesn't fall into the trap of having the timeline on front and back! It's perfect for classroom display use and will support the now compulsory teaching of evolution at KS2. Beautifully illustrated and full of detail, this really helps put evolution into context. It will stimulate children's interest and encourage them to investigate further.

Tutankhamun's Tomb by Jen Green

Share the excitement of archaeologist Howard Carter on his expedition to the Valley of the Kings, and reveal the incredible discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb as your turn the pages of this superbly illustrated book and enjoy the marvels of the skilled paper engineering. Follow Carter on his journey as he unearths each room in the tomb. On each page, you will be amazed by both the wonders of the discoveries and by the way they are brought alive by pop-ups, pull tabs and peep-throughs. Detailed descriptions accompany photos and pictures; it's all set on a black background which gives an atmospheric and opulent feel in keeping with the riches shown. KS2 pupils study Ancient Egypt and this book is absolutely perfect to stimulate an interest and then to inform their work.

Cars! (Lockable Journal) by Jim Buckley

Packed with facts, this is a book for car enthusiasts; they will thoroughly enjoy the incredible facts, vital statistics, records, quizzes and much, much more. Parents and friends can expect to be bombarded with facts - and it's a good way to reinforce children's memory skills. The book includes facts on the first cars, how engines work, vital statistics on the fastest cars, race cars, parts of a car, and Top-Trumps style car v. car face-offs. Throughout, the book is illustrated with amazing up-to-date photography, and the layout is designed to be appealing and easy to follow. I'm not sure about the padlock though - it seems a bit gimmicky to me and although it will have an initial appeal, I suspect the novelty will soon wear off. Boys, especially, can be drawn into reading through non-fiction books and this is just what they will enjoy.

The Story of Ireland by Richard Brassey and Stewart Ross

For anyone who wants a light-hearted yet instructive history of Ireland, this book is ideal. It's humorous, colourful and easy to read. The pictures, comic strips and jokey captions mean that even reluctant readers will find the book engaging; the illustrations pack in vast amounts of information. From its pictorial endpaper maps to the panels of 'Irish Icons' ranging from Brian Boru to the Abbey Theatre, it is packed with useful and fascinating information. A story that is often complicated and turbulent is told with sensitivity and clarity, from the first legends right up to the present day. It's not easy to compress the entire history of a nation into 32 pages, but the authors have done it brilliantly - all the key topics are covered in a balanced and informative way.

See Inside: The Human Body by Anna Claybourne

Children will be intrigued and fascinated by this model/book combination. The book explains, in a clear and factual way, how the various systems of the body function. They they can explore the model of the body and examine the articulated skeleton. After that, they work their way through the book, using the knowledge gained to correctly position the primary organs, slot together the vascular and muscular systems, and complete the model. The pack includes a stand-up card model of the muscular and circulatory systems; a 15-piece skeleton; a see-through body model and a 48-page illustrated book to explain it all. It will be a great asset to pupils in KS2 learning about the human body, and will be equally beneficial at home and in school. Well thought-out and carefully planned to be a really helpful learning aid.

Fling Sling and Battle your Way to Victory (Book and Model) by Philip Steele

Hands-on history to bring learning to life. In medieval times, powerful nobles controlled the land around them and supplied armies ride out to attack the enemy. Find out about the armour and weapons used by medieval knights and soldiers, and how opposing armies attacked on foot and on horseback. The weapons used may be crude by today's standards, but they must have been terrifying when brought to bear on people and buildings. Join the progress of a siege as spread is introduced with a diary entry, alternately from the attackers and defenders. It's hugely informative with plenty of detailed and clearly labelled illustrations to increase knowledge and understanding. The pack includes a mangonel catapult and three targets to build. What a superb way to make history enjoyable; it would be an excellent basis for a classroom display or topic.

Super Skills: How to Play Guitar in 10 Easy Lessons by Dan Holton

Got your first guitar and don't know how to start? Whatever age you are, this book, with its easy-to-follow explanations accompanied by clear, step-by-step graphics throughout will give you the confidence to progress from explaining the parts of a guitar right up to playing your first solo. The book doesn't fall into the trap of giving just a two-page spread to each topic but ensures each of the 10 topics is covered in sufficient detail to give confidence and mastery. The text is supported by exclusive internet backing tracks and audio examples. The spiral binding is ideal, as the book stays flat during use. With useful tips, good illustrative material and plenty of hands-on practice, this is a good introduction.

Children's Animal Atlas by Barbara Taylor

Encourage children to enjoy using atlases with this colourful interactive atlas. All the key geographical information they need, including countries, mountains, rivers and lakes, is here and then this is complemented by information about the animals found in the region. This combination of information is excellent because the geography of a country explains its animal life. To make the book truly engaging, there are more than 250 stickers, as well as six postcards and a personalised spotter’s guide; these all store neatly in a pocket at the front. Fact files, descriptions of habitats and plenty of animal pictures combine to make an enjoyable and informative book. The comprehensive index means children can search for specific animals, then locate them on the maps.

The Epic Book of Epicness by Adam Frost

Infographics are a very popular way of conveying information and they work really well in a book like this, where the information is presented in a succinct form which suits infographics perfectly. It's the sort of book that children will love - packed with fascinating facts that they will love to share with everyone around them, all presented in a colourful and easy to remember format. Did you know that in 1900 there were 250,000 blue whales; and that now there are just 5,000? Or did you know that dogs bark in different languages? It's one of those books that everyone will love to dip into.

Factfile Cymru: Place Names of Wales by Catrin Stevens

These are the latest books in a really excellent series about Wales. It goes way beyond being just a book of place names though. It gives lots of fascinating information - for example, the page Colourful Names tells us about the places with colours in their names, and also has photos of the places and associated things (may flowers for white). There are also interesting snippets of information, such as where the name came from for Llanelli's new rugby stadium. Nature, people, places, farms and much more... It's an excellent way to learn more about Wales, the Welsh and their culture.

Factfile Cymru: Welsh Sports by Alun Wyn Bevan

This colourful, well presented factfile is packed with bite-sized information about Welsh sport and includes chapters about rugby, golf, football, cricket, tennis, athletics, swimming, cycling, hockey, climbing, horse racing and boxing. Did you know the medals for the 2012 Olympic Games were produced in Wales? Or that a Welshman invented lawn tennis? It will interest anyone with an interest in sport - These books have plenty for everyone - Welsh people who want to know more about their country, anyone visiting Wales, and everyone who wants to learn about one of the countries that make up the UK. Well worth a read - I find them engrossing.

The Hot Book (World of Discovery) by Miranda Smith and Dr Mike Goldsmith

Children with a thirst for knowledge will love these two new titles from Red Shed. They will learn about all the ways in which we need and use heat, in all its various forms. Elephants, hot air balloons, fireworks, chillies, volcanoes, deserts and solar panels are all here - and that's just on the first pages! Discover heat-related facts about exploding volcanoes, sizzling stars, fire-breathing dragons, rivers of fire, hot-air balloons and camels. The information is succinctly presented in information boxes, all of which are found against a background of superlative photography which really illustrates the power and beauty of heat. There are some amazing facts to be learnt, such as the fact that plants in the Amazon rainforest produce over 20% of the world's oxygen. The book is an ideal cross-curricular resource, covering science, geography and history as well as other subjects. a really engaging and informative book.

The Cold Book (World of Discovery) by Miranda Smith and Dr Mike Goldsmith

This book is the perfect complement to The Hot Book - you really should buy both to get the overall picture and to be amazed by the wonders of cold and heat; even the stunning covers are a perfect reflection of the contrast. Now it's time to learn about ship-sinking icebergs, frozen planets and the Abominable Snowman. Both the books would make excellent foundations for classroom topic work - teachers could give each child one of the subjects to research and produce some very informative material at the end, all based on the book, which is an ideal one to stimulate interest and a desire to know more. Both books include a quiz, further reading, a glossary and a comprehensive index, making them ideal reference books. The information is engagingly presented and the photos are superb. Red Shed is Egmont Books' non fiction imprint, and they produce many excellent books.

To the Edge of the Universe by Raman Prinja

This is a fantastic way to help children put our world into context in the wider universe. The 36-page book folds out to 9 connected double-page spreads, taking you from the Earth's surface to the edge of the universe as a single, highly illustrated panorama. And there's more - once you have completed your journey to the outer limits of the universe, turn over the fold-out to reveal stunning infographics explaining facts and statistics about the universe in a simple and beautiful way. The book could be read just like an ordinary book as well, but that really misses the point. It's superb to spread the pages out and then discuss the wonders of the universe with children, helping them to appreciate its immensity and how everything inter-relates. The turn it over and find all sorts of fascinating facts, presented through attractive infographics. Try it for a classroom display background too. A wonderful book.

Diary of a Time Traveller by David Long

Augustus finds history boring - so boring, he falls asleep in class. That will all change when Professor Tempo decides to show him that history is not at all boring. She gives him a blank book and tells him he can go anywhere he chooses; together, they drop in on history through the ages and meet some of the great people of the past and learn about the history surrounding them. The book starts in Africa, 1 million BC and takes us on a fascinating whirlwind tour up to man landing on the moon in 1969. Each double page spread in this generously sized book introduces a different time and place, with an introductory text from Augustus explaining the sights and sounds, and accompanying captions from the Professor which provide key facts. The facts are succinctly presented and really easy to remember. A timeline puts events into context and a comprehensive index facilitates research. The detailed illustrations are full of information (can you spot Augustus and the Professor taking their place in each one?) as well as being stylish and engaging. It's a beautiful book, one that will appeal to all ages; a brilliant way to prove that history is far from boring.

The Book for Clever Kids from Buster Books

This is an absolutely fascinating book which has plenty to engage adults as well as children - great as part of a family library for everyone to dip into. Brimful of fascinating facts that will astound and amaze, this irreverent but intelligent guide to the weird, wild and wonderful explores the bizarre truth about the world around us, and is the essential companion for clever and curious kids. It's full of talking points and you're bound to learn lots of new things to amuse and amaze friends and family. Hugely wide-ranging, topics include Roman banquets, real-life pirates, making a balloon sword, the history of skateboarding... you need a copy of the book to find out what else! It's a great way to learn too and much of the information will be helpful for school topics and homework.
 

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