Book reviews - Raintree Books (page 3)

The range of books published by Raintree Publishers just has to be seen to be believed. Below are reviews for just some of the books published from 2011 to 2019 - generally, one example from a series is reviewed. To see the full range, please visit the Raintree site. 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 contain fact boxes clearly laid out to make reading a pleasure. Every non-fiction book includes a contents page, glossary and index thereby helping pupils develop good study skills. This page also includes a small selection of Raintree fiction books ideal for classroom use. Some more Raintree fiction, including their imprint Curious Fox, can be found on our fiction pages. Most of the Raintree books I have reviewed are on this page, but please see our Olympics/sport page for more reviews.

Raintree Books - Early Learning and Picture Books



Raintree Books - Key Stage 1 (KS1)

Save the Giant Panda (Animal SOS) by Angela Royston

Writing for this age group, the important attribute for authors is to know just what level to pitch books at and the language and approach to use - Raintree's use of experienced authors produces books that perfectly match the age group and the curriculum. Giant pandas are instantly appealing, yet they are under threat of extinction. Why? Find out all about giant pandas, the threats that they face, what is being done to try and save them and how you can help to answer their SOS call. A topical book to capture children's interest.

Buzzing Bees (Little Explorer) by Melissa Higgins

Everything KS1 children need to know about bees is in this attractive and well illustrated book. It highlights specific bee families and groups, and teaches about key scientific themes such as classification, animal behaviour and life cycles, introducing appropriate scientific language which is explained in the glossary. The presentation and layout is exceptionally clear and easy to follow.

Harry Kane (Influential People) by Ben Hubbard

Reading about popular sportspeople is an excellent way to encourage reading, as children love to share information about their favourites. Harry Kane rose to stardom as a professional Premier League football player. Readers will learn about the teams he has played for and his key role in playing for England in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The index and glossary teach early research skills.

Exploring Canals (Young Explorer) by Daniel Nunn

Canals are fascinating places and they hold the key to much of our industrial heritage, so they are well worth studying as part of local and social history. From the history of how canals were built and used, up to their modern day leisure use, this is a clear and informative book. Readers will learn about how they were built, what locks are and how they work, and canal boats and the people who might live on them. Case studies feature the larger canal systems in Britain. The glossary is an essential part of this book, as there are many unfamiliar words - they are clearly shown in bold. There is also differentiated text to help readers. The photos are excellent and really capture the world of the waterways in this informative book. Book Band level Gold.

What is Light? (Science Basics) by Mark Weakland

Light is all around us, but how much do children really know about it? This simple introduction explains how it works and what it does. We know it makes plants grow. Light pours from the sun and from glowing light bulbs. But we can't touch it, or hold it. What is light? Clear explanations and excellent diagrams helpo children learn about this science basic. Aftyer, they can get hands-on with a practical experiment that will light up the classroom. It's useful to see that Raintree put the Book Band level - this is Gold - on the books, so they can be incorporated into reading schemes as well as providing valuable non-fiction sources.

Meghan Markle (Bright Idea Books: Influential People)​ by Golriz Golkar

When people are much in the news, it's good for children to read a factual accurate account. Meghan Markle joined the royal family when she married Prince Harry. She had already experienced fame through her successful acting career. Children can read about her career, her human rights work and her path to royalty in this well illustrated simple book.

The Royal Family (Young Explorer) by Helen Cox Cannons

In this fact-filled book, children will learn many unusual facts as well as more common ones. Where does the Queen live? Who will be the next king? Does Prince George have any pets? Find the answers and much more in this concise introduction to the royal family, covering the most senior royals, how they are related, their homes and much more. You'll also discover some cool facts about the family. Find out who Prince Philip once called "a plum pudding" and which royal was in the Olympics!

The World's Worst Wildfires (Blazers: World's Worst Natural Disasters) by Tracy Nelson Mauer

There are books about many natural disasters, but few about wildfires for this age group, so this is really useful in highlighting this, which seems to be an increasing occurrence. Wind blows dry, tall grass. A storm brews. Lightning strikes the ground, and soon, flames spread across the grassland. It's a wildfire! A dramatic and realistic account with useful and succinct facts, a glossary and further activities.

Gross Jobs Working with Rubbish ​by Nikki Bruno

This will intrigue children! Covering an amazing range of jobs, from roadkill collectors to landfill gas operators, these workers get dirty to keep us healthy and safe. Readers will explore some of the most disgusting waste-related jobs, down to the dirty details. They'll enjoy this high-interest topic so much they won't realise they're learning important information about STEM jobs. It's a good way to bring the problems of waste disposal to children's attention too - a very topical and important subject.

Raintree Books - Key Stage 2 (KS2)

The Ancient Greeks (Analysing Ancient Civilisations) by Louise Spilsbury

Written by an experienced author of children's non-fiction, the particular strength of this book lies in the fact that it encourages children to interpret facts and draw their own conclusions. The book answers questions about who the Ancient Greeks were and how they lived. Using their powers of analysis, children will work out what primary sources tell us about this ancient civilization - this develops an important early learning skill. The high quality illustrative material can be used to achieve the same end - that of interpretation.

Ants: Secrets of Their Cooperative Colonies (Fact Finders: Amazing Animal Colonies) by Karen Latcnaha

Kenney Ants are amazing creatures, renowned for their ability to work together - maybe we can learn from them. We see just a fraction of what goes on, but children will be fascinated by this revealing book that shows what is happening under our feet. The queen lays eggs. Worker ants feed the queen and the young. Soldier ants guard the colony from predator attacks. Discover how ants build their nests, communicate and depend on one another to survive in their huge colonies. Excellent illustrations and diagrams, plus useful fact boxes, give an attractive and informative book which has a useful glossary.

Malaria: How a Parasite Changed History (Edge Books: Infected!)​ by Jeanne Marie Ford

The book starts by giving the story of athlete Anyika Onuora, and how she survived malaria - it's a compelling and encouraging introduction. Malaria is spread by infected mosquitoes. Millions of people are infected by malaria each year. Read this book to learn more about the history of this infectious disease. Well illsutrated, with a useful glossary and index, this is informative and not sensationalised, just giving true facts and information.

Amazing Magic Tricks by Norm Barnhart

Beginners and more experienced magicians alike will have fun with this colourful well-explained book, as they practise then show off their skills. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions and photos demonstrate tricks like the Amazing Appearing Ball, the Freaky Mind Weld, The Tricky Lizard, the Escaping Coin, Multiplying Money and many more! Practice the tricks in this book and become a master magician and amaze audiences with sleight of hand.

LGBT Matters (InfoSearch) by Matt Anniss

What exactly does being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender mean? How has the gay rights movement helped to change society's view of the LGBT community during the past century? What is it like to have same-sex parents? How do people "come out" to their friends? What is homophobia? Find out all this and much more. Using real-life case studies, this book gives sensitive insights into what it means to be LGBT in 21st century Britain.

Awesome! by Craig Shuttlewood

True friendship can be tested when one of friends becomes a super-achiever, leaving the other behind. Will that happen to Marvin the moose and Woody the beaver, who have been best friends forever? The rest of the forest animals revere Marvin now, calling on him to help and even building a statue in his honour. Woody feels left out - will Marvin put things right? Children will relate to the theme of this story, and it's a good one for when issues of friendship, jealousy, and forgiveness arise in the classroom, to show children we can all be awesome.

Raintree Books - Key Stage 3 (KS3)



Raintree Books - Fiction

Auto Body Parts (Zone Books: School Bus of Horrors)​ by Michael Dahl

A creepy story that might just put you off ever going on a school bus again! Just a few pupils are on board a strange-looking bus, and a girl hears whining coming from a hatch beneath her seat. Then the driver stops, saying the engine needs a hand... A hand reaches out...Are the body parts reaching for help . . . or do they want something more? aA creepy tale, with equally creepy illustrations to thrill the reader.

The Case of the Empty Crates (Museum Mysteries: Museum Mysteries)​ by Steve Brezenoff

Amal Farah and her friends get to attend a grand opening at the Air and Space Museum. But objects go missing even before it opens. But before the new exhibition goes live, some of the items go missing. Did another museum take it, trying to make up for missing funding? Was it a thief interested in telescopes? Or someone else? Amal and her friends must solve the mystery in this well presented book with plenty of colour illustrations. Factual information, discussion prompts and writing suggestions complement the book, making it a useful resource and a good way to encourage reluctant readers.

Gracie LaRoo at Training Camp​ by Marsha Qualey

Nobody other than Gracie seems interested in the new swimming season. The Water Sprites are, unexpectedly, a team of swimming pigs but they are without focus and without teamwork. Gracie is determined to bring the team together, but will she succeed? The glossary helps extend vocabulary and 'Talk about it' and 'Write about it' have some excellent ideas to follow up. Book Band level Purple.

No More Teasing (Katie Woo)​ by Fran Manushkin

Roddy Rogers always teases Katie Woo. When she falls and scrapes her knee, he calls her a cry baby. When she takes a big bite of pizza and gets some sauce on her cheek, he says she has a goopy face. The teasing upsets Katy, but then she finds a really easy way to make it stop. A good read to give children confidence to face up to bullies, and to encourage discussion. Book Band level Turquoise.

The Green Queen of Mean (Princess Candy)​ by Michael Dahl and Scott Nichol

This graphic novel, with illustrations by Jeff Crowther, will appeal to reluctant readers, with the bright illustrations and minimal text. Halo Nightly has been teamed with Flora, the school's resident treehugger, for the environmental project. But when the evil Doozie Hiss ruins their chances of getting a good mark, Flora changes from happy hippie to eco-terror. With her superpowered sweets, Halo faces off against the Green Queen of Mean. I like the fact that, unlike many graphic novels, the text is lower case, making it more accessible to struggling readers.

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

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