Book reviews - Hachette books (page 3)

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)

 

 When Planet Earth was New by James Gladstone

This is a title to intrigue young readers, as they exploration of Earth's evolution, right from uninhabitable beginnings upto the present day. It's an interesting journey, going back much further than children's books commonly do. What was it like on Earth before humans. Before mammals and dinosaurs. Before insects, plants, and even bacteria? A fascinating journey, full of surprises, and superbly illustrated with glorious artwork by Katherine Diemert which really helps children's understanding and appreciation. 

 

  If Polar Bears Disappeared by Lily Williams

An interesting concept - but why is it important? The point being made is that the disappearance of polar bears would herald singificant changes in our world. The Arctic is home to many different kinds of animals and now their habitat is melting at an alarming rate. As the Arctic ice melts, polar bears are threatened with extinction. What are the terrible consequences if polar bears truly disappeared? Outstanding artwork by artist and writer Lily Williams explores how such a loss would affect other environments and animals across the planet . It's a book to make children think about climate change, conservation and the importance of ecosystems.

KS2

Habitats (Outdoor Science) by Sonya Newland

Perfect for forest schools and other outdoor classroom applications, this series is ideal to engage children with the outside world while at the same time supporting the KS2 science curriculum. From making a pond to going on a minibeast hunt, there are plenty of simple activities which use easily found inexpensive equipment. The hands-on ideas help children's learning about food chains, amazing adaptations, classification keys, as well as habitats such as ponds, rock pools in a far more memorable way than indoor-based learning. 'Spot it' ideas encourage observation and 'hands on' ideas are practical. The series features excellent colour photos to aid identification and these are well labelled for clarity. Also in the Outdoor Science series is Animals (Outdoor Science)which teaches children about the different types of animals and their habitats, with lots of hands-on activities and excellent graphics to give the book appeal. Good indexes enhance useability. Learning outdoors creates lasting memories, helps build a greater awareness of the environment, provides more opportunities to think independently, and gets children feeling challenged and excited by learning.

Powerful Forces (Extreme Science) by Rob Colson and Jon Richards

Science is awesome and even more so when we look at the extremes of science, which is the theme of this series. Children will be amazed by the way things have evolved and adapted to reach their extreme state, and this will heighten their appreciation for even everyday things. Support upper KS2 science studies by learning about what it takes to move at extreme speeds, what g-force does to the human body, how forces are affected by shape, how to stop things moving, and much more. The explanations are clearly illustrated with plenty of diagrams to appeal to visual learners and learning about extreme science underpins everyday science. This series looks at extreme qualities and experiences, and how and how we can identify scientific information from this. In-depth glossary explanations enhance children's knowledge.

Insects, Bugs and Other Invertebrates (Prehistoric Life)​ by Clare Hibbert and Rudolf Farkas

When children think about prehistoris life, they think about dinosaurs but tiny creatures were also an essential part of early life, so this book gives an interesting new perspective. Hundreds of millions of years before humans, our planet was already teeming with an amazing variety of life. Imagine - giant sea scorpions as big as a lion, enormous millipedes. Fact files give more details about each. The illustrations are an outstanding feature of this book - full page, detailed and colourful, they really do give an excellent imnpression of these creatures and the world they inhabited.

The Big Countdown by Paul Rockett

This is definitely a book to dip into and marvel over - a great one for number crunchers! It explores the world through numbers, huge and tiny,from 70 sextillion to 0.01. On the way it looks at numbers all around the universe - rainforests, outer space, oceans, the animal kingdom, nature, the human body and much more. It could be dry and boring but far from it - it brings facts and figures to life with illustrations, fun infographics and photographs, increasing our appreciation for the wonders of our world. It's a fascinating way to back up studies of specific subjects, such as science, history, geography and more. An excellent glossary and index complete the book.

We're All Equal (I’m a Global Citizen) by Georgia Amson-Bradshaw

Today's children, more than ever before, will grow up to be global citizens, so this is a timely series. This book explores inequality around the world, from how resources are unfairly shared to why race and gender matter and more, and shows ways we can challenge inequality. The I'm a Global Citizen series explores the concept of 'Global Citizenship',recognising that the world we live in is unfair and unequal, but promoting individual and collective action to challenge and change this. Each book has information, fun activities, challenges, case studies and ideas for group and individual action presented with fun illustrations. Also in the series is Culture and Diversity (I’m a Global Citizen), which explores current issues around diversity from the positives around multiculturalism to prejudice, racism and discrimination. It features a case study on Apartheid and ideas for how we can activate against racism. The books promote the idea that we have power as individuals: each of us can change things, and each of us has choices about how we behave. They encourage children aged 8+ to counter ignorance and intolerance?.The books are made accessible by the use of comparisons to which children can easily relate, and by encouraging them to put themselves into the place of others.

Dinosaurs (Time Trails) by Liz Gogerly and Rob Hunt

It can be hard for children to understand vast periods of time, but Time Trials is an original new series that takes a look back across time in a highly visual way, to give a better understanding. This book takes the reader from over 200 million years ago, when tiny Saltopus hopped around in search of food, and pterosaurs took to the skies, through to huge dinosaurs such as Brachiosaurus and Allosaurus of the late Jurassic Period. They will travel right up to the mass extinction event of the Cretaceous Period, which wiped out three quarters of all life on the planet... A timeline of discovery concludes the book.

Pollution (Ecographics) by Izzi Howell

Nobody can be unaware of the issue of pollution and the way it is destroying our earth. But we can never have too much information - the better informed we are, the more we can do to save the planet. Pollution harms and kills people, animals and plant life and is a major factor in climate change. Almost all pollution is caused by man. Can we reverse the damage caused by pollution before it's too late? This clearly presented book is full of facts and figures, accompanied by simple but effective pictures and diagrams. Ecographics is a series which aims to raise young readers' awareness of these challenges with the latest headline-grabbing facts and stats, pertinent case studies and powerful photos.

The Fall of the Berlin Wall by Pat Levy

The dramatic image on the front cover epitomises one of the landmark events of the last century. And the drama continues in the way the event is depicted through moment-in-time boxes, acting as a freeze frame of people's thoughts, emotions and experiences. This historic event, and the situation that lead to the building of the wall, is described in detail, considering at the history of the Wall, explaining why it was built, and looking at the implications of what happened in the wider context of 20th century history. A fascinating and revealing account.

The Anglo-Saxons: Clever Ideas and Inventions from Past Civilisations​ by Izzi Howell

Learning about the ideas and inventions of past times can show us a lot about history, and further our understanding of earlier civilisations. Children will support KS2 history by doscovering the genius ideas and inventions of the Anglo-Saxons and what we still use from them today. Find out how the Anglo-Saxons farmed their land, built their houses and organised their society. Discover their brilliant developments in defence, law, language and storytelling that have influenced the way we live today. It all helps to bring history alive, showing why it is such a valuable discipline. The information is presented in a variety of forms, making it easy to read and enjoyable.

KS3/4

Transglobal: Transgender then, now and around the world by Honor Head

This book is for young people aged 12+ and it supports the study of the fascinating long history of transgender around the world. The whole concept of gender identity is being increasingly challenged and words such as non-binary, pansexual, transgender, cisgender and gender dysphoria are becoming commonplace. This book explores the cultures and people of the past who have embraced, challenged or quietly subverted society's expectations about gender. It features the current stories of openly transgender people around the world in positions of power and authority, who are helping to increase recognition and acceptance of the trans community. And, as trans people often start their journeys in their teens, the book explores the experiences of some young people just at the start of their journeys. Useful and informative; a tricky issue sensitively handled.

Stories

Coyote the Fire Thief: Independent Reading 15 (Reading Champion) by Mick Gowar and James Rey Sanchez

This is a retelling of a native American myth, thus fulfillimng the requirement to study stories from other cultures. Long ago, animals not humans ruled the world. Coyote was sorry for the helpless humans and steals fire to bring them warmth and comfort. Sadly, the humans were not grateful for her gift and use the fire against Coyote and the natural world, with disastrous consequences. Attractively illustrated, to make reading a pleasure, this chapter book is a perfectly levelled, accessible text for Key stage 2 readers aged 9-10. Reading Champion offers independent reading books for children to practise and reinforce their developing reading skills. Each book has been carefully graded so that it can be matched to a child's reading ability, encouraging reading for pleasure.

Hasan's Idea: Independent Reading 15 (Reading Champion) by Jill Atkins

Hasan's class are learning about food and celebrations and he has a brilliant idea for his friends to learn more about each other's cultures. As well as being a good story, the book helps children learn about different beliefs and cultures, encouraging acceptance and understanding. This first colour chapter book is a perfectly levelled, accessible text for Key stage 2 readers aged 9-10. Reading Champion books are fantastic, original stories are accompanied by engaging artwork and activities to provoke deeper response and encourage writing. These combine to give an excellent all-round resource that can be used across the curriculum.

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