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Book reviews - Hachette books (page 2)

Hachette Books publish a wide range of books under the imprints of Wayland, Franklin Watts, Hodder and Orchard plus Wren and Rook, a new imprint for 2017.. Below are reviews for just some of the books published from 2014 to date - generally, one example from a series is reviewed. Older books are reviewed on the general book review pages. To see the full range, please visit the Hachette Children's website. The books are ideal for schools and for libraries, or for children who are particularly interested in a specific topic. They are all fully illustrated and each non fiction book includes a contents page, glossary and index thereby helping pupils develop good study skills.  

Key stage 1 (KS1)

I am Josephine - and I am a Living Thing by Jan Thornhill

Children are expected to learn about classification as part of their science learning. It can seem a complex topic, but I love the approach this book takes, which is friendly yet informative, and perfectly pitched to capture children's interest. Josephine is a little girl, a big sister and a human being. She's also a mammal, an animal and a living thing; this book helps young scientists understand how we all fit into various classifications. Inspired by science and nature writer Jan Thornhill's many school visits, this book is intended to help children recognise themselves as part of the natural world, with an emphasis on how all living things share similarities. The simple text combines with informative illustrations bring us an unusual and extremely effective book.

Look at that Building: A First Book of Structures by Scot Ritchie

Sally's dad has built her a new treehouse, but when she and her friends realise that Max the dog can't climb up to it, they decide to build him a kennel - and they need to find out about buildings to do that. So they set out on a fascinating quest to find out all they can about buildings and how they are constructed. By checking out structures, both big and small, Sally and her four friends (and Max and Ollie the cat!) learn about how buildings are made, what makes them strong and how they stay standing. After a fun day of exploring they are ready to build Max the best doghouse around! The book relies heavily on the excellent illustrations to convey much of the information and these, coupled with the informative and easily understood text, make the book a really good read.

Horse (Farm Animals) by Katie Dicker

This is one in a series of books on farm animals which is perfect for young readers of 5+. They will learn all about what horses need to keep them happy and healthy, and the generous number of excellent photos will interest children as they show how horses are cared for. There is a list of useful words and a simple index to introduce reference skills. These simple, friendly books look at some of the most common farm animals, showing how they live, what they eat, how they are cared for and why they are important to us. Each book takes on animal and explains its life cycle and its place on the farm

The Moon (Our Solar System) by Mary-Jane Wilkins

It's easy to interest children in learning more about the moon, as they will be used to seeing it and will want to know more about why we can see it sometimes and not others, and why its shape changes. The book explains, in simple language with plenty of clear illustrations, how Earth's Moon formed and what it is made from. Discover how the Moon changes, what happens during an eclipse, and how spacecraft and astronauts have explored the Moon. It is one in the Our Solar System series of books that explore the exciting topic of space and are specially written for younger readers. With stunning photographs and explanatory artwork, the books are the perfect introduction to our solar system. Other titles in the series: Asteroids, Comets and Meteors; Earth; The Inner Planets; The Outer Planets and The Sun

Minibeasts (Creature Crafts) by Annalees Lim

This book is a great combination of mini-beast facts and activities - it will be perfect for KS1 studies of this very popular topic. There are easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions to make spiders, beetles, dragonflies, termites and many more. The finished creatures will be perfect for a topic display in the classroom. Whether at home or at school, the materials are easy to source. It is a very good way to introduce children to a range of crafting techniques, including cutting out, tracing, papier-mâché and painting. A useful additional feature is the inclusion of QR codes that link to step-by-step videos, showing how some of the crafts are made. Colourful and engaging, these are great crafts.

My Friends (Our Special World) by Liz Lennon

Perfect for use in any Early Years setting, this simple yet effective book is written and child-friendly language that is perfect for stimulating discussion on one of the most important things children will be learning - how to make friends. It explores different sorts of friends and includes topics such as playing together, being kind, sharing and having fun. The colourful photos can be used as a basic for discussion, and there are questions to help engage readers. Our Special World is a series of books offering a simple text and photographs that help young children learn about the world around them. The books seek to show the diverse nature of the world with lots of photographs of children with a disability and from different ethnic backgrounds. Each book includes questions to promote speaking and listening skills. They are perfect for early years learning.

Mapping a School by Jen Green

Maps can be complex for children to understand but this straightforward hands-on book makes it easy for children to understand a range of maps and ways to use them. At the same time children will learn about the features of a school, so this would make an excellent topic basis for the start of school. It covers a range of topics including a bird's eye map, symbols, compass points, plan maps, scale, land use maps, grid references and street maps. There are clear diagrams to show the various concepts, with explanatory text that is easy to follow. With a good glossary and index, this is an excellent way to introduce a skill that children will find helpful throughout life.

Rainforests (What Animals Live Here?) by M J Knight

This colourful book with its excellent photos and easy-to-read text is the ideal introduction to rainforests - a topic that will crop up again for most children during their school career, so it's good to get them interested early. Single and two page spreads feature a range of animals including frogs, orang-utans and jaguars, all beautifully photographed and set out on attractive yellow and green backgrounds, with main text and fact boxes. Simple rainforest facts are found at the end of the book. What Animals Live Here? is a series of four books that explore four of the Earth's most interesting biomes and the variety of animals that live in them. Readers will encounter some familiar and some strange mammals, fish, reptiles, birds, insects and other invertebrates and learn about some of their incredible adaptations that mean they can survive in these environments. Short and simple blocks of text make these perfect books to dip into at random or read from cover-to-cover for readers aged 5+.

Ocean Animals from Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick

The unusual presentation of this book will excite children's curiosity. On one two page spread, there's a picture of part of an animal with a question to see if children can identify it; flip the page, to find the complete creature along with explanatory text which is simple, informative and engaging. Discover a variety of ocean animals, from a hammerhead shark's head to a seahorse's tail, in this interactive picture book with plenty of learning for the very young.

Farm Animals (Tadpoles Learners) by Annabelle Lynch

Bright colourful photos are accompanied by a simple text for young readers. The book is Book Band 4 Blue. Tadpoles Learners are an ideal introduction to non-fiction for beginner readers, blending accessible text with big, striking photos.

Food Chains (Fact Cat: Science) by Izzi Howell

Fact Cat is a great series for KS1 readers; the books offer plenty of information, making them ideal for homework help and topics. The lively approach is colourful and enticing, with excellent photos, informative text and good use of text labels and text boxes. Fact Cat Facts add even more knowledge. Which animal only eats fifty times a year? Where is a starfish's mouth? How do plants make food under water? Just a few of the questions answered as young learners find out about food chains and how plants and animals depend on each other for food. They will discover the diets of carnivores, omnivores and herbivores and see what food chains look like in different habitats in this good introduction to the subject. A simple fun picture quiz helps readers to recall what they have read, and the glossary adds to learning value.

KS2

Bronze Age (Britain in the Past) by Moira Butterfield

Children will study the Bronze Age in KS2 history and the emphasis in this book on how people lived and the artefacts they used will really encourage young readers to imagine themselves taking part in life in the Bronze Age, from around 2500 BCE until 800 BCE. A useful glossary and comprehensive index help children's understanding. Britain in the Past aims to give younger children (Years 3 and 4) an understanding of everyday life in Britain for both rich and poor through fact-filled text, exciting illustrations and photographs of artefacts and re-enactors. Feature boxes, maps and lists complete the picture.

Bronze Age (Found!) by Moira Butterfield

This book follows on very well from the book reviewed above, being ideal for readers of 9+. Many artefacts have been found from this prolific era in history, and these really inform our knowledge of Bronze Age life and culture. All of these objects can tell us a lot about ancient people. We know about the animals they kept from burials of animal bones. We know about the tools they used from axes, swords and arrowheads that have been found, and we know about their everyday life and culture from the remains of the homes they lived in, objects dug out of graves, the boats they built and the sacred objects they threw into lakes and rivers. All over Britain, Bronze Age artefacts have been Found!. Uncover the stories of thirteen incredible finds, what they can tell us about life back then and how they might relate to your life today. These in-depth accounts are really informative and give a new dimension to history. Found! is a series of six books that span British archaeological finds from the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages, Roman Britain, the Viking Age and the Anglo Saxons. Ideal for readers aged 9+ studying history topics at Key Stage 2.

Greek (Stars of Mythology) by Nancy Dickmann

The presentation of this book is bound to capture children's interest - it's been very well thought out, to entice children into the book. From daring heroes to scheming gods and goddesses and terrible monsters such as cyclops, there are exciting adventures, betrayals and incredible stories to read. The book is structured as a 'Who's Who' of the culture's myths and legends and has a gossipy, informal tone, allowing the characters' personalities to come through. It's just as if they are talking directly to the reader. The chapters begin with a spread featuring fact files of two characters. Each of these has an "In His Own Words" section, where the character himself (or herself) gives fast facts such as parents, powers, crowning achievements, and "Not to be confused with...". This is followed by a myth re-relling, presented in a magazine-style, featuring the two characters. In total there are six spreads of fact files (12 characters total) and six different re-tellings. Excellent - the book would form a really good basis for classroom work based on the individual characters.

Dog (Pet Pals) by Pat Jacobs

If they don't already have a dog, be warned! This book, with its photos of lots of adorable dogs, is bound to make children want a dog! From where they sleep to what they eat, and how you can make them feel safe and at home, this book provides all the basic pet care advice children need. They will find out how dogs communicate, the games they like to play and the treats they like to eat, as well as how to care for them. The colourful layout incorporates plenty of photos of dogs, and of owners caring for them, and these are explained through the fact boxes. The information is clearly presented and there's a good index to guide readers to specific information.

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 from Hachette's new imprint Wren and Rook.

Ground Control to Major Tim: The Space Adventures of Major Tim Peake by Clive Gifford

A multitude of children will have been inspired by Tim Peake, and now they can learn more about this intrepid and inspirational character. Major Tim Peake became the first British astronaut to live and work on the International Space Station. During his time on board the ISS, Tim Peake carried out experiments, performed a crucial spacewalk and took some awesome photographs. He also found time to run a marathon, present an award to Adele and read a bedtime story to children listening 400km below him on Earth. Packed with amazing photographs, this book reveals how Major Tim's fascination with flight and science began and how his career as an astronaut developed, documenting his inspirational journey into space. It's a fascinating read which really shows what life is like on the International Space Station, with lots of insightful photos to reveal what happens.

Refugees and Migrants (Children in Our World) by Ceri Roberts

Words and pictures combine to excellent effect in this book which discusses a topical issue of which all our children need to be aware. It is told in the form of a story, but it is no less effective for that; it really brings home the plight of these people in a way that reaches the heart. By reading the book, children can begin to understand who refugees and migrants are, why they've left their homes, where they live and what readers can do to help those in need. An excellent way to develop empathy and understanding. The Children in Our World picture book series helps children make sense of the larger issues and crises that dominate the news in a sensitive and appropriate manner. With relatable comparisons, carefully researched text and striking illustrations. The series forms an excellent cross-curricular resource that looks at refugees, war, poverty and racism making them ideal for tying into Refugee Week and current affairs discussions.

Mayans (History in Infographics) by Jon Richards

Infographics are an excellent way to present information for children; the visual format makes facts easier to memorise, and it will appeal to visual learners and those who don't find reading easy. This book encourages children to explore the Mayan civilisation in a new way, making the book an excellent addition to the school or class library, with its different perspective. KS2 pupils will enjoy finding out how people lived, what they ate, what they wore, how they were ruled, the games they played and how the civilisation died out. The bright presentation and eye-catching layout will really engage readers, and it's surprising just how much information can be presented through infographics with carefully selected linked text.

The Vikings (Discover Through Craft) by Anita Ganeri

Books which encourage children to create artefacts linked with a history topic are an excellent way to support learning. Not only does it extend interest (and provide teachers with some excellent resources for displays), it also gives children a hands-on feel for the way people lived. The Vikings were fearsome warriors as well as being sailors, traders and craftspeople. Readers will discover how Vikings lived, worked, created and celebrated during this fascinating period in history each topic has a craft to create and these are clearly shown with step-by-step instructions and pictures. Quick facts, quizzes and 'have a go' features all help to make these books really interactive and promote further learning. It is far more than just a craft book - plenty of factual information is included, clearly laid out and well illustrated. This is one of the 12-part series Discover Through Craft, which explores key curriculum topics using a mixture of activities, quizzes, facts and crafts. For children aged 7-9.

The Top Secret History of Codes and Code Breaking by Roy Apps

Codes are fascinating and they are also extraordinary and unexpected - how about The Haircut Code, used by the Persians to convey messages in war? Codes are all around us and have a key part to play in history, from Ancient Hebrew ciphers and pictorial codes of the Egyptians Mayans to ciphers used in Tudor England and the key part code-breaking played in World War II. Find out about modern-day codes, such as tennis players Laura Robson and Heather Watson's 'back slang' when playing doubles and computer codes in the 21st century including the safety of passwords. Children will enjoy the practical activities and the chance to break a range of codes themselves in Code Breaker's Corners.

With Hands and Feet (Let's Make Art) by Susie Brooks

Equally useful at home and school, this inspiring book has a range of activities that can all be done with minimal outlay. They promote reuse and recycling, and make good use of objects that would otherwise be discarded - a good way to encourage children to think about recycling. Attractively designed, the book is clearly and appealingly illustrated with step-by-step instructions and engaging artwork that shows children what can be achieved. Each activity is straightforward and achievable, as well as being great fun to do. They are relatively simple, with good results almost guaranteed, making them ideal as a form of therapy for stressed or anxious children, allowing them to make things by themselves, and to have confidence in their own abilities. Activities include a fingerprint sweetshop, fist-print fish, a thumb-print circus, a handprint zoo, a footprint space rocket and more.

Spartans (Fearless Warriors) by Rupert Matthews

The Spartans' amazing fighting ability came from their strict training - they were prepared for battle from the age of five. No wonder they were so fearsome! Learn all about what makes a great Spartan in Fearless Warriors: Spartans. Discover the customs and traditions, the training and the stars of the most intrepid warriors of Ancient Greece. This is one in a series which examines some of history's most fearless fighters. It looks at their training, weapons and fighting methods, as well as examining some of their most famous battles and fiercest warriors. Each title has sections focusing on aspects of their training, their battles or biographies of individual warriors. A useful timeline and a quiz to test knowledge are at the back of each book. Ideal for readers aged 9 and up, and excellent classroom resources.

Our Universe (Infographic How It Works) by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins

To be of real value to the reader, infographics books need to be backed by plenty of text and other informative material, and this book succeeds in that - in fact, the infographic element is rather underplayed. It is attractively laid out and the information is presented in a range of formats to help learning. Readers will learn, among many other facts, how stars are born, how black holes are made and how the Sun shines. There are Try This challenges on every two-page spread, and these will help children appreciate the wonders of space. Both the glossary and the index are exceptionally comprehensive; really good features of the book.

Alex Ferguson (Real-life Stories) by Sarah Eason

This is an excellent way to get even reluctant readers to engage with books, as reading about a football legend is a great incentive. The vibrant approach of the book is good too, as it will really appeal with its use of bright colours and stand-out headers. The information is clearly set out in information boxes which use a range of styles. Alex Ferguson has had an amazing career in the beautiful game. He is famed for his dedication to Manchester United, his passion for football and his determination to win. Today, he is widely credited as the most successful coach in English football history.

Aircraft (Technology Timelines) by Tom Jackson

I really like the way this series puts events into their historical context for students; it makes things so much more meaningful. From the first hot air balloons to military supercraft, this book follows man's never ending quest to fly. A host of famous flying machines throughout history show how inventors and engineers have developed and improved on technology to make aircraft such an important part of human history. This book also dissects some major developments, such as the jet engine and wing shapes and also explains what happens in a sonic boom and how thrust, gravity lift and weight are all crucial to flight to give a rounded picture of these amazing machines. Detailed diagrams show the technology, and the timeline flows right through the book, on the bottom of every page, and includes a good level of detail. Technology Timelines is a series of six book aimed at upper KS2 and early KS3 readers, tracing the development of specific technologies through the ages.

Origami Crafts (10 Minute Crafts) by Annalees Lim

As well as being a useful book to have on hand at home when there is a little time to fill, this will also be useful for busy teachers, as the activities can be easily slotted in at the end of a lesson, or used as part of after-school activity sessions. These are easy, fun and exciting projects for children aged 5+, who can craft their way through this book, creating models by closely following the detailed step-by-step instructions and photos, or improvising as they go. They can make a cute origami kitten, a litter of puppies, fold a delicious ice cream cone and create colouring pencils from paper - just a few of the ideas. Using readily available materials, the 10 Minute Crafts series is packed full of fun crafts for special occasions. The perfect tool for teachers looking for original ideas as well as parents looking for fun ways to keep kids entertained. A great way to develop creativity, easy to start and minimal clearing up - and all that is needed is a pack of paper and perhaps some crayons.

Royals, Rebels and Horrible Headchoppers: A bloodthirsty history of the terrifying Tudors! (Awfully Ancient) by Peter Hepplewhite

The Tudors were certainly a bloodthirsty crew! Find out all about their dastardly deeds in this exciting history book. In a similar vein to Horrible Histories but with the benefit of being in full colour, discover everything about the terrifying Tudors: from horrible King Henry and the perilous plague to roasting the religious. Why did doctors wear beak masks? Why were cats buried under Tudor homes? What did Tudor tennis involve? Dip into these annals of Tudor times and find out the answers to all these intriguing imponderables and many more... It's a great way to really engage children with history, as they will love the approach.

Mad About Art by Judith Heneghan

Introduce children to the history of art in a simple but very effective way. Help them discover the relevance of art to them - what it means, how it can be made, and what it has meant for people throughout history. This book is packed with top tips to spark kids' creative imaginations and is packed with ideas that can be used in teaching. It shows children how to find inspiration and introduces the idea that art can be a powerful way to communicate. It explains some key art movements and artistic techniques, from pencil drawing and papier mache to watercolour, oil and acrylic painting, giving kids the confidence to express themselves through art. It's wide-ranging and well written.

Ancient Greece (The Best and Worst Jobs) by Clive Gifford

Just imagine you are job-hunting in Ancient Greece; here's the definitive guide to the jobs you would and would not want to do. What sort of work could job-hunters in Ancient Greece expect to find? Throughout the book, job adverts give an idea of the qualities and skills needed for each role and there's a verdict at the end to evaluate whether it was one of the best or worst jobs available. Architect, slave, sportsman, politician, market trader... every job is described and evaluated in this lively book which gives an excellent picture of daily life in Ancient Greece. Photographs of artefacts from the period are married with humorous artwork to bring the workers of the era to life. The book includes quiz questions, and an extensive glossary and index.

Your Breathtaking Lungs and Rocking Respiratory System (Your Brilliant Body) by Paul Mason

This attention-grabbing book is well designed to ensure children's interest is immediately captured by the amazing science facts that introduce each topic. It then goes on to explain how scientifically this is possible. The illustrative matter is good, with detailed diagrams and superb photos. The book looks in depth at the structure of the lungs and the process of breathing. The Your Brilliant Body series includes: 'See for Yourself' features - practical activities that help readers understand key ideas; amazing fact panels to intrigue the reader; advice on keeping in good shape, and warnings about common health problems.

Emmeline Pankhurst (History VIPs) by Kay Barnham

The life of Emmeline Pankhurst is fascinating - and how much we owe her. She attended her first women's rights demonstration at the age of 10 and that was the start of a lifetime's work. The book takes readers from her early campaigns for the rights of women to vote, through the formation of the Women's Social and Political Union, to the triumph following the First World War of the granting of rights for women. The wider role played by women in Victorian and Edwardian society is shown by the book. Key to the presentation is the fact that children will learn to draw conclusions from the evidence provided - a great basis for classroom discussion. History VIP biographies each look at the life of a famous Briton telling the stories of these Very Important People with clear, lively text. Amazing facts are added with feature panels and graphic-style illustrations give visual information of the time and society the VIP lived in. With these key biographies students learn how individual people's actions have shaped the course of history.

Manchester United (Big Business) by Adam Sutherland

This is bound to capture children's interest and they will enjoy the insight this gives into such a well-known brand. This title takes an in-depth look at Manchester United and the business behind one of the most well-known football brands in the industry. From small beginnings, this club has found international success and a global fan base. the book shows how the business came into being, the successes and failures over the years, key facts about the industry and its impact on the global market. It's a really interesting read and a good way to show children that business can be fascinating. Ideal for budding young entrepreneurs with an eye for opportunity! A brilliant read for Manchester United and football fans keen to find out how the business behind the brand works.

Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education by Elizabeth Suneby

This book is an excellent way to stimulate discussion and to show children how fortunate they are to receive a good education. It is the story of Razia's dream of getting an education and attending a new school in her village in Afghanistan. She must persuade her father and brother it is a good idea? When she learns that a girls' school is being built just down the road from her home, she is filled with hope... Exploring the themes of education, war, poverty and cultural traditions, this is a compelling story of one girl's aspirations to go to school in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. It is a moving account of how she finally persuades her father and older brother to let her go. It's touching and perceptive and really brings home to us the value of things we accept as our right.

Where on Earth? Rainforests by Susie Brooks

This colourful and picture-filled book really makes geography interesting, with succinctly presented information and plenty of fascinating facts. Find out where you can drive through a tree; which is the only animal that can crack a Brazil nut and where to find the world's stinkiest flower. Go on a journey through the world's rainforests, from the Amazon rainforest to Costa Rica, answering questions such as why on Earth does it rain so much? Where are there forests in the clouds? And how can a tree cure disease? Many of the facts are presented in fact boxes, which makes for an attractive layout that is easily read and remembered. There's an excellent index and glossary as well a a useful further information section.

Vincent van Gogh (In the Picture With) by Iain Zaczek

This title looks at the life and works of Vincent van Gogh; it's good size means that the many reproductions of his paintings are generously sized so children can really appreciate these masterpieces. The paintings discussed include Sunflowers, Starry Night, The Artist's Bedroom in Arles, The Night Café, The Potato Eaters, Portrait of Père Tanguy and Self Portrait with Bandaged Ear. It looks at the techniques and colour palette that van Gogh used in these works, encouraging readers to look more closely at the interesting elements of each painting. It also includes a timeline of his life, information on museums and galleries where his work is currently displayed and a chance for readers to use what they have learned to make their own painting in the style of Vincent van Gogh. The approach is friendly and accessible and the layout is extremely attractive, making the book a real pleasure to read.

Bonkers Boffins, Inventors & other Eccentric Eggheads (Barmy Biogs) by Paul Mason

Children will really enjoy this humorous and light-hearted approach which introduces some very strange characters from history. Find out which world-famous inventor's last breath has been captured in a test tube, which boffin loved nothing more than a roasted armadillo for lunch, and which scientist fell in love with a pigeon. It's all very entertaining and along the way, children will pick up plenty of useful factual information. The books in the Barmy Biogs series are full of the facts that history books don't mention about some of the most famously crackpot characters in world history! Read them and history will never be the same again...

Child Soldier: When boys and girls are used in war by Jessica Dee Humphreys

This exceptional book really brings home to us the plight of children forced to take part in wars which they do not understand. Michel Chikwanine was only five-years-old when he was abducted from outside his school by rebel soldiers in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Child Soldier tells the story of his happy life before the abduction, his time with the rebel militia, his escape from their clutches and finally the worsening situation and growing unrest for Michel and his family and his eventual immigration to Canada with his mother. By discussing this story and the accompanying information, we can help our children understand and take their stand against war in the future. It's very well told, and the personal perspective has a big impact.

Science (Amazing Jobs) by Colin Hynson

This is one in an excellent series that encourages children in KS2 to look at the range of jobs that may be open to them in the future; they provide a good incentive for children to make the most of their learning opportunities. Readers will discover the amazing array of jobs within the field of science that they never knew existed. From the exoplanet hunters who use powerful telescopes to look for planets orbiting stars, to the forensic scientists who help detectives by using forensic chemistry to link suspects to crime scenes. Read about the academic and vocational routes you can take to reach these jobs and how to get ahead in these exciting professions whilst you are at school and college. I really like the way this series is ideal for younger readers than the average 'career' book - and it certainly puts the world of work in an excellent light!

Infomania: Awesome records, top 10s and facts by Jon Richards

Totally fascinating! This excellently laid out book makes the most of infographics, colour and clear layout techniques to bring us a book which is jam-packed with information so well presented that it never becomes overwhelming. From awesome record-breakers to amazing Top 10s and fascinating facts on the fastest, tallest and most exciting things out there, Infomania has it all. Includes information on an amazing array of topics, including the biggest bugs, longest sleepers, killer creature, longest survivors, super strong, iconic art, melodic music, driest places, oldest buildings, biggest bridges, distant worlds and size of the Universe, to name just a few topics in this fact-filled book. I love the presentation, which makes the book really addictive - children will want to read just one more page... It's a good way to encourage children to investigate school and homework topics in more detail.

Get the Measure: Units and measurements (Maths is Everywhere) by Rob Colson

This book is an excellent way to help children put measurements of all types into context. It explores many aspects of measurement from the size of an atom or how to calculate a country's coastline to finding out the speed limit of the universe or how a computer tells the time. It explores all the different measures we use for lengths, areas, volumes and speeds, and shows how to calculate them. By putting measurements into real-life situations, children will understand more easily, and it's a fun way to approach what could be a rather dry maths topic. A great way to stimulate interest. The book is part of the Maths is Everywhere series, which demystifies all aspects of maths and shows how it relates to your everyday world with fun, colourful graphics. These are fantastic books for children aged nine plus who are studying maths, or for anyone who wants to get to grips with maths in a fun way.

I love this tree: Discover the life, beauty and importance of trees by Anna Claybourne

Trees are vital - they shape our landscape and are inestimably valuable in creating habitats for all sorts of creatures. Help children appreciate their importance through this fascinating book which looks at the life of an old living deciduous tree and through it explores the amazing life of a tree and the creatures that inhabit it. Using a well-planned mixture of photos and artwork the book shows how the tree has changed and how it acts as a habitat for other life. The presentation of the book is superb - it's stunningly laid out and illustrated and the facts are fascinating and absorbing in their level of detail. It will really make young readers appreciate the beauty of trees and would make a super basis for classroom topic work and outdoor activity.

Sewing (Get Into) by Jane Marland

Probably not a particularly popular hobby, but hopefully the colourful and straightforward projects in this book will inspire children. It goes right back to basics with clear well-illustrated instructions and helpful illustrations, showing children how to sew from scratch and create awesome colourful projects. The book includes eleven fantastic sewing projects, from bunting to a cushion cover and even a tote bag. Each project will introduce a new technique for you to practise and includes a variation to try once you've mastered the skill. The Get Into series is designed to get kids excited about being creative. Fun, easy to follow and with colourful illustrations and photography, each book is a comprehensive introduction to a popular hobby. It's a great series for use in school clubs and after school activities.

Children Growing Up With War by Jenny Matthews

Photojournalist Jenny Matthews takes our children on an unforgettable and emotional journey through the lives of children affected by war. This book takes a very personal approach as Jenny recalls some of her most memorable assignments, and the people and children she encountered along the way. The book features photographs with a human and environmental message from some of the world's war-torn hotspots - with a focus on children. The photographs are structured around key themes relating to children's lives and their rights. It really showcases the plight - and, often, the resilience, of these children and it's really important that our children learn about this. The supporting text voices Jenny's reactions to what she has seen and gives information about how children have been affected by war in specific conflicts. It also relates the background to wars and conflicts, case studies, key child-related facts, a map and website links. An excellent way to stimulate discussion - and compassion.

Why Do Zebras Have Stripes? Questions and Answers About Animals (Science FAQs) by Thomas Canavan

Q&A books are a popular approach for children, as they identify the sort of questions children ask, and then respond in a friendly and informative way. And this book is no exception, answering questions such as "Do animals have belly-buttons? Can birds sleep in mid-air? Which animal has the longest teeth?" The lively presentation, bold colours and excellent images combine to make a really appealing book, packed with all sorts of interesting information. Bitesize chunks of information mean this book is full of stuff you've never even thought of on everything that is unique or impressive about the world we live in. Science FAQs is a series of 6 books that answer questions on everything from black holes plant-eating insects in a fun and engaging way.

The Human Body (My Infographic Sticker Activity Book) by Jo Dearden

This interactive journey around the human body is a really good way to help children remember the facts about the body. It includes more than 200 stickers and printed on high-quality paper that's perfect to colour in with felt-tips or crayons.; it's good quality and as well as the stickers and activities, it is full of factual information. Children can build a skeleton out of stickers, discover what goes as fast as a high-speed train, and find out how many supertankers your heart could fill with blood. The book is excellently presented - it's value as an information book is high, and even when the activities are complete, it will serve as a useful reference guide for KS2 science.

Christmas (Origami Festivals) by Robyn Hardyman

Combining information about Christmas and the story behind it with crafts adds an interesting extra dimension. The attractive book shows how people around the world celebrate Christmas both in church and at home. Attractively designed, its simple text combines well with full-colour photos. The origami activities are clearly explained with step-by-step illustrations. Perfect for children to create personal gifts and decorations. The book is part of the Origami Festivals series, which bring religious festivals to life through origami art. Each festival is examined in detail, from its history to its significance today and the manner in which people worldwide celebrate it. Origami craft activities engage the reader in each festival and add a fun art and design element to the series. A religious and interactive craft series for children aged 9+.

Warriors, Exploration and Trade (Discover the Vikings) by John C. Miles

This book explores the Viking world by examining - among other things - longships that were designed especially for fighting, the places they travelled to in order to populate new lands or trade goods such as silver and slaves, and the gods they worshiped to give them victory in battle or ensure a glorious afterlife. It showcases the craftsmanship and ingenuity of the Vikings excellently, helping to give children a real insight into their world. The presentation of the book is particularly attractive, with its crisp, clean layout which really helps the reader navigate the book. The book also invites readers to use their own imaginations to think about what it would be like to live in Viking times. Would you have been brave enough to take part in a battle to capture an enemy town?

Ancient China (Explore!) by Izzi Howell

The Shang dynasty ruled over ancient China for over 500 years. Readers will learn why the Shang changed capital cities, how Shang kings fought in battle, and how the Shang spoke to their gods. There are many other fascinating topics covered in the book, including dynasties and kings; how to make a Shang bronze pot; oracle bones and fortune-telling; the life of a craftsman; burial and the afterlife. Facts are clearly presented, mainly through fact boxes linked to photos and illustrations, which makes the book very appealing.

An Undercover History of Spies and Secret Agents (Blast Through the Past) by Rachel Minay

The new curriculum places emphasis on children finding out for themselves and drawing their own conclusions about historical events. This book really encourages that, with its chronological look at a fascinating variety of spies and secret agents. As they read, they can discover if they would have had what it takes to be a real life James Bond, be a mole who might wait years to become 'active in the field', send covert signals or try and overthrow the queen of England! Blast Through the Past takes a look at some of the weird jobs people in the past had to do and the skills they needed in order to explore new lands, win battles or make amazing breakthroughs in science. Get under the skin of the most famous and infamous, the cleverest and some of the the barmiest people who have shaped history.
 

 

KS3

Roller Coaster: In 10 Simple Steps (How to Design the World's Best) by Paul Mason

Ask students to design something they would actually like to use, and they will be much more enthusiastic - and this book does just that. Readers are asked to imagine someone has them given them a sackful of money and told them to build a roller coaster. The book starts with introductory ideas, and then goes on to outline the process in 10 steps - all looking just like a professional brief would. This is excellent, as it shows students how they should present work, whatever they are designing. The book shows how the combination of imaginative ideas and practical research can transform a fantasy design into an actual dream product. The book is very practical, showing how real-world design considerations can be applied, refining the design to make it workable and achievable as it takes shape. Work It Out boxes at every step clarify the research that needs to be done, and these are an excellent practical guide.

Banksy: Art Breaks the Rules by Hettie Bingham

Who is Banksy? Unfortunately, this book can't tell us that, as he has kept his identity a secret ever since his work was first noticed in the 1990s. He is known for his subversive, often political, stencil art and dark sense of humour. Today, he is known around the globe, not only for his art, but also for his exhibitions, film work and books. This neat little hardback book packs in a huge amount of information - Banksy's childhood, what inspires him and how he went from local graffiti artist to global fame. See some of his most iconic imagery, and find out how his art provides clues to his personality and political views. A fascinating and enlightening read about a fascinating and deep personality.

Who are Refugees and Migrants? What Makes People Leave their Homes? And Other Big Questions by Michael Rosen and Annemarie Young

This really topical book is an excellent way to introduce children to the topics of refugees and migration, to ensure that they are informed, unbiased, and can form opinions based on accurate facts. It explores the history of refugees and migration around the world and the effects on people of never-ending war and conflict. It compares the effects on society of diversity and interculturalism with historical attempts to create a racially 'pure' culture. With an international perspective, it offers a range of views from people who have personal experience of migration. The book includes a role-play activity asking readers to imagine themselves in the situation of having to decide whether to leave their homes and seek refuge in a new country. This is really valuable, as it encourages pupils to really think about the implications of war, refugees and immigration. Part of the groundbreaking and important 'And Other Big Questions' series, which offers balanced and considered views on the big issues we face in the world we live in today.

Illustrated Compendium of Birds by Virginie Aladjidi and Emmanuelle Tchoukriel

This lovely book has a definite retro feel to it, and as such, I think it will appeal across the age ranges. It is produced on heavy cream paper with beautifully detailed coloured drawings of over eighty different types of birds from all over the world - some exotic, others more familiar. They are classified by species, which makes it less than ideal for identifying birds, rather it is a book to enjoy to admire the beauty of the natural world. The illustrations recall the style used by naturalists and explorers such as Charles Darwin and John James Audubon. There is detailed text accompanying each bird; this includes their size, their song and a good description. A beautiful book.

20th Century Russia: A Century of Upheaval by Heather Maisner

This book examines the impact of the Russian Revolution in 1917, reflecting on the reasons for the revolution, key people, events and its legacy. Perfect for the KS3 history curriculum, as the curriculum requires, it takes its evidence from archive photography, posters, artefacts and eyewitness accounts, so pupils learn to use and understand source material. The book focuses on, not just political leaders, but also ordinary people, making history seem more relevant to today's students. It explores the roles of the Bolsheviks, the Mensheviks and the secret police, and it also looks at the arts, education, family life, sport, and the revolution's impact on global politics and cultural attitudes. The book discusses change in the context of the many wars that took place, and explores Perestroika and Glasnost and how 21st-century Russia emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union. A comprehensive book, packed with authoritative information.
 

 

Sex and relationships (Healthy for Life) by Anna Claybourne

The information is clearly presented in a factual, matter-of-fact way, which makes the book excellent as the basis for provoking further discussion. It explores what sex is and what it's for, examines sexuality and identity, what healthy relationships are like and tackles modern-day issues that confront teenagers such as sexting and online pornography. The writing style is perfect for young teens - it is down-to-earth, with a real understanding conveyed of the issues faced, and how to manage situations. It is part of the series Healthy for Life, which gives factual information on a range of health issues so teens can get the information they need to be healthy. The books feature fun infographic style illustrations.
 

 

 

 

Minecraft (Big Brands) by Chris Martin

Encourage students to find out how business works by letting them learn about an iconic brand that will be familiar to them. They will learn how Mojang, the makers of Minecraft, grew from a small tech start-up into a gaming company worth $2.5 billion in under 10 years. They will discover some of the brightest business minds behind Mojang's meteoric rise and take a look at what the future might hold for Minecraft under Microsoft's ownership. This is a fascinating look at Mojang, and the gaming industry as a whole. The Big Brands series delves deep into the amazing stories behind the world's most iconic businesses - their business plan and marketing strategy, and how they present themselves to consumers through logos and advertising campaigns. It is an excellent way to show pupils the world of big business.

Stories

Sid's Red Car (Tiddlers) by Hilary Robinson

This lively story with cartoon-style illustrations is a good way to encourage children to enjoy books. Every time that Sid drives off in his car, he hears squeaks. Whatever can be causing all the noise? Perhaps Mummy Cat has an idea! Perfect for children aged 4+ who are reading at book band red. The Tiddlers series features fun stories with a word count of fewer than 50 words for children who are just starting to read. A word list at the beginning of the story allows for a quick check of the reader's ability to read and understand words before reading, and a puzzle at the end of the story encourages rereading for pleasure.

Ninja (EDGE HERO: Immortals) by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore

Just imagine that you are a highly trained ninja and when your village is attacked by a warlord called Raiden, only you can stop him. Well, with this interactive book, the reader really does put themselves in that position. In this action-packed series of books, the reader makes choices all the way through that affect how the story progresses. It's an excellent way to get children - and especially reluctant readers - to really engage with books. It also ensures that they are reading and understanding what they read.

The Lion and the Mouse (Must Know Stories: Level 1) by Jackie Walter

When Mouse wakes up Lion, Lion is about to eat him up, but Mouse convinces Lion to let him go. The Lion did not believe that Mouse could ever help him, but one day, Lion really needs Mouse. This beautifully illustrated retelling of a favourite Aesop fable is told in carefully selected language and it's a great way to introduce children to the story. Must Know Stories includes favourite tales, celebrating the diversity of our literary heritage. Level 1 stories are told in under 500 words, for children to read independently. The series perfectly fulfils the curriculum requirement of reading stories from different cultures, and reading fables and traditional tales.

Aye-Aye Captain! Pirates Can Be Polite (Pirates to the Rescue) by Tom Easton

When Captain Cod decides he has had enough of his crew's rudeness, they find that they have to change their ways if they want help to avoid the ship being overrun by a band of Rotten Pirates. All it needs is one word, and the Captain comes to their rescue with a very clever idea. The notes for discussion at the end of the book are excellent and give a good opening for making sure children appreciate the importance of good manners. Learning it from a lively and humorous story like this is ideal. The books in the 'Pirates to the Rescue' series are designed to help children to recognise the virtues of generosity, honesty, politeness and kindness. Reading these books with children will help them to understand that their actions and behaviour have a real effect on people around them. The books will help young readers to recognise what is right and wrong and what to do when faced with difficult choices. An excellent series, pitched perfectly for its audience.

Cactus Joe's Cowboy Caper (Race Ahead With Reading) by Sam Hay

This fun and engaging story with its lively full colour illustrations, is ideal to show children just how enjoyable reading is. When giant tumbleweeds blow into town, Cactus Joe and his friend Little Bo have lots of fun playing dodgeball. But then Little Bo gets trapped in a tumbleweed and it takes off! Cactus Joe knows he needs help to rescue Little Bo - so he asks his Uncle for some magic cactus juice - the problem is you never know quite what it's going to do! It's a really lovely story - children are bound to enjoy it! Race Ahead with Reading is the perfect introduction to reading chapters with brand new page turning reads in five short bite size chapters, to encourage children to take the driving seat with their reading. An excellent series.

The Terrifying Teacher (Race Further with Reading) by Claire O'Brien

Horrible Histories meets Wimpy Kid in these really funny stories which mismatch characters with careers. The stories are colour chapter books perfect for the independent reader. Mr Bloodaxe is not like any other teacher at school, he is quite simply, terrifying! He has a marked resemblance to a famous Viking of the same name and his lessons are definitely strange! A hilarious story which will be really enjoyed by children. Race Further with Reading is a series designed to build reading confidence with illustrated stories in manageable bite-size chapters, which encourage a sense of achievement at completing each one. They follow on a level from the Race Ahead with Reading series with stories of 2,000 words. The books are perfect for children aged 6-8 or who read book band 11.

Monster Movie (EDGE: Monsters Like Us) by Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore

Another fun book from popular pairing Steve Barlow and Steve Skidmore, who really do know just what will appeal to children. Classmates Sam, Lin and Danny are making a monster movie and they want it to be really scary... and they certainly succeed! The graphic style of this book is ideal for reluctant and struggling readers, with its high ratio of picture to text; the colourful illustrations really capture the attention and go a long way towards telling the story.

Aesop: The Hare and the Tortoise & The Fox and the Goat (First Graphic Readers)

This hardback book is an excellent introduction to Aesop's Fables, with its simple text and vibrantly coloured pictures. It will really enthuse children for the fables and encourage them to progress to more detailed re-tellings in the future. Who will have the last laugh in The Hare and the Tortoise? Plus find out why trusting too easily can cause problems in The Fox and the Goat. First Graphic Readers is an original approach to well known fables,for very young readers. Here are much loved, read again stories in a form proven to entice emergent readers. Beautiful artwork accompanies clear narrative text in art panels and direct speech in speech bubble, giving readers an introduction to reading in comic form. Each book contains two stories and has two different illustration styles to help differentiate the stories and give a compendium feel. The books also include puzzles and a story quiz.

Night of the Toddlers (EDGE: Tommy Donbavand's Funny Shorts)

A mad scientist called Professor Troppy has invented 'Born Again' cream, which promised to keep people young... but it turns out to make them a bit TOO young! And it's very catching! What are you going to do when your parents become toddlers? Phone the police - they're toddlers. Call the army - they're toddlers. Even the Royal Family are toddlers! Luckily, Bobby and Gail, are so unloved that nobody has hugged them so they haven't been affected... A hilarious story. Tommy Donbavand's Funny Shorts is a series of colour illustrated, chapter-based readers published by Franklin Watts EDGE designed to get kids reading with confidence.

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