Book reviews - non fiction - Ruby Tuesday

Ruby Tuesday Books - books to spark a love of reading and discovery.

Early Years and Key Stage 1

Welcome to the Rainforest (Living Things and Their Habitats) by Honor Head

These new books build on the existing books in the series Living Things and Their habitats, and it's growing into a comprehensive collection of material that covers the curriculum for KS1 on habitats. Discover how all the living things that make the rainforest their home depend on each other and their habitats for survival. "In Living Things and Their Habitats, readers will discover how living things depend on each other and their environment for survival. Packed with facts, core curriculum information and fantastic photographs that support the text, each book takes readers on a mini safari through a habitat. Like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, the reader will discover connections and interactions between the plants, animals, and other living things that make this habitat their home."

Welcome to the Arctic (Living Things and Their Habitats) by Honor Head

The Arctic can seem a bleak environment but the colourful photos in this book also show a very different picture as we see how the Arctic can blossom into life as spring comes. Packed with facts, core-curriculum information, and fantastic photographs that complement the text, travel through the Arctic in its different seasons, meeting the creatures that call it home. The book shows the strong inter-reliance between the habitat and its residents, highlighting the potential fragility and the need to keep nature in balance. The text is well presented for the age group and easy to read, with good labelling on the illustrations and useful fact boxes.

Welcome to the Desert (Living Things and Their Habitats) by Honor Head

Children will enjoy finding the answers to questions such as Why is a hummingbird visiting a spiky cactus? How does a Gila woodpecker help a huge saguaro cactus stay healthy? When a prairie dog family moves to a new house, who takes over their old burrow? And what hairy, eight-legged desert creature uses a hidden trapdoor to catch its meal of beetles? We visit the desert through different seasons and times of day, enjoying the excellent photographs that depict the environment so well. It's good to see that all the books in the series have a contents page and a useful index, so children can start to use these esssential parts of a book effectively from a young age. They also include a useful glossary which explains words shown in bold through the text.

Welcome to the Coral Reef (Living Things and Their Habitats) by Honor Head

Coral reefs are one of the most vulnerable habitats on earth, so it's good to see this habitat included in the series. Excellent photography takes the reader deep beneath the ocean to explore the beauties of a coral reef as they explore and discover how all the living things that make it their home depend on each other and their habitat for survival. Who and what live there? What visitors swim thousands of miles to make and raise their babies at the reef? Readers are drawn through the book by the questions posed at the end of each two-page spread, which are answered overleaf - a clever way to keep readers engaged.

1 2 3 Numbers and Counting: First Words and Pictures by Ruth Owen and others

Specially created to support Early Years teaching, this series encourages young readers to look, read, talk, discover and learn. With simple words, the books are ideal for children learning to read. Familiar objects are used to show numbers from 1 to 10 and what I really like is the variety of images used - it's not just 10 pictures of the same thing but there are 10 different happy monsters and 10 different happy vehicles, making the book really enticing. Questions on each page give plenty of opportunities to practise counting. At the end of the book, there are useful counting activities for adults to use with their child.

A World of Colours: First Words and Pictures by Ruth Owen and others

This series is ideal for children of 2+ and will stimulate a love for books, as the presentation is excellent, with good use of bright colour to ttract and maintain attention and simple text to engage and encourage discussion. This book manages to cover a wide range of topics, with information on individual colours as well as teaching about mixing colours. High quality illustations show a wide range of objects for each colour and these give lots of opportunities for learning and discussion. Each book in the series has some excellent material at the end which offer really good tips and activities to extend learning - perfect for pre-school settings. A range of colour activities are also included, making this a comprehensive book on the topic for young children.

All About Families: First Words and Pictures by Ruth Owen and others

The excellent colour photos introduce children to a wide range of families from around the world, showing their similarities and differences and encouraging discussion through questions. AS with the rest of the series, there are practical and really useful tips, ieas and activities to extend the learning value of the book. Perfect for supporting Early Years' studies of the family. The books’ topics are linked to the EYFS areas of learning and development: • Communication and language • Physical development • Personal, social and emotional development • Literacy • Mathematics • Understanding the World • Expressive arts and design

My Busy Day: First Words and Pictures by Ruth Owen and others

Full of familiar activities and objects, the colourful layout and simple text labels will encourage children to talk about their own day as they follow other children through their day. The photos are excellent, clear and simply preented in an uncluttered way which is perfect for the age group. This is an excellent series and brilliant to see non-fiction of this high quality for young children. As young readers turn the pages, they will have lots of opportunities to: • Make comments and ask questions • Make descriptions • Discuss their own lives and experiences • Gain confidence and skills in expressing themselves • Read and understand words and simple sentences • Improve their skills in counting, understanding and using numbers • Find out about people, places, technology and the environment

Everyday Materials (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Materials are all around us, and this well-illustrated book shows children the different types of materials and encourages them to observe the world around them, to see what materials they can spot. This excellent new 10-book series from Ruby Tuesday Books covers the entire programme of study for science at Key Stage 1. That makes it perfect for school and home use. The series is supported with free downloadable teacher resources; these are excellent for use at home too, whether to extend learning done in school, or for home educators. You can spot these as you go through the books - a clear icon shows where there is a downloadable resource; I think this is really useful as it saves time wondering if there is a supporting download; you know immediately. Perfect to help with lesson planning.
Don't miss the excellent free resources to support FUNdamental Science - download from the Ruby Tuesday site.

Growing and Changing: All About Life Cycles (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Each book in the series This book gives young readers an overview of life cycles by looking at blackbirds and swans. It them covers the lifecycles of frogs, insects and sheep, with additional information on mammals and the human lifecycle. The book includes fascinating explanations of natural phenomena and hands-on opportunities to observe and investigate the world around us, which will have readers excited and curious to do more and more science! It is this hands-on approach which shines through in the series; on virtually every page, there are questions for children to answer, encouraging them to reason on what they have learnt.

Habitats and Food Chains (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Like all the books in the series, the book very much focuses on the science children can see around them; this is the ideal approach, as it means children can see the relevance of what they are learning, and observe science all around them. The book features a range of habitats, with the gr=arden as foremost - most of what can be seen/observed in the garden is also applicable to school grounds and parks, meaning all children have the opportunity to see habitats and food chains for themselves. Features of all the books are:
• High-interest, accessible text
• Brings STEM to life for young students
• Striking and beautiful images
• Close picture and text match
• Age-appropriate, informative diagrams
• High impact design

What's the Season? (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

This colourful book takes young readers on a fact-filled journey through the seasons, with beautiful illustrations that will encourage children to get outside to see what they can spot. To capture children's attention, books must be attractive from the outset; the covers are really eye-catching and the excellent photos reflect the content of the book. Visually, the books are very appealing; brightly coloured backgrounds are used for every page and these set off the superb photographs to perfection. The photos themselves are carefully selected to really add value, to be relevant to the text, and to explain the topics. Fact boxes and labels are used effectively to make the pages easy to read.

Is It Living on Non-Living? (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Like all the books in the series, children's learning is developed through observation as they find out the answers for themselves. Encourage children to investigate their world as they look at the things around them, observe them, and ask questions that will distinguish between living and non-living things. The book opens up with seven key questions for children to ask; as they move through the book, these questions can be applied to a range of living and non-living things so children can make up their own minds. The approach is friendly and informal but successfully covers all that children need on the topic.

From a Tiny Seed to a Mighty Tree: How Plants Grow (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

 
Encourage children's wonder at and knowledge of the natural world with this stimulating overview of the way tiny seeds grow into mighty plants; the acorn and oak tree is just one of the examples which is clearly explained in well-chosen language, ideal for KS1 pupils. Each book includes box features:
• Imaginative ideas for hands-on activities
• Experiments and investigations
• Discussion topics
• Critical thinking questions

Wings, Paws, Scales and Claws: All About Animal Bodies (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Children will learn a multitude of fascinating facts about all sorts of animals from the very small, like moths, to the huge, like gorillas. The book is arranged by topic, with two page sections on each. 'Be a Scientist' and 'Let's Investigate activities really help children to undertake their own learning and provide an excellent foundation for future science studies, where they will increasingly be expected to discover and record things for themselves. Each book in the series gives readers the opportunity to:
• Observe and experience
• Ask questions
• Perform tests
• Use simple scientific equipment
• Use their maths knowledge
• Collect, record and analyse data
• Communicate their ideas
• Build their scientific vocabulary

My Senses (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

This is another attractively laid out book which really encourages children to read and learn. The practical approach, which is a theme throughout the series, really does help children understand and remember. There are plenty of hands-on ideas, such as using a magnifying glass to examine objects, which will stimulate further discovery; these are clearly explained and well-illustrated, encouraging children to work independently

Roots, Stems, Leaves and Flowers: All About Plant Parts (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Each part of the plant is discussed in turn,with descriptive text and well-labelled illustrations. Children are encouraged to reason on what they are learning, with questions such as "How do you think plants take in the water they need?". The questions are then answered on the following page. The practical activities continue this learning process, by giving children the chance to find out for themselves. As with all the books in the series, there is a brief glossary at the end which explains words which are highlighted in the text; there is also an index to help children find their way around the book. These are both useful way to teach children good research skills.

Keeping Me Healthy: My Body and What it Needs (Fundamental Science KS1) by Ruth Owen

Finally, for my reviews of this exceptional series, a very important topic, and one that needs to be thoroughly understood by all children if they are to lead active, healthy lives. The book takes a good look at various aspects of keeping healthy, including how the body is made up, exercise and food. As ever, the illustrations are appropriate, there are plenty of hands-on activities and the explanations are clear and appropriate. This really is an excellent series, covering the whole KS1 science curriculum. The whole set of 10 books can be purchased in one good value bundle - Fundamental Science Key Stage 1 2016

Welcome to the Rock Pool (Living Things & Their Habitats) by Ruth Owen

This series, which comes to us from new publishers Ruby Tuesday Books, is the perfect way to introduce KS1 children to the wonders of the living world around us. Each book is written in child-friendly language, with plenty of information to fascinate children and to encourage them to explore further. Rock pools are fascinating mini-worlds and children love to explore them. This book explains what happens in a rock pool, who lives there and the part it plays in our world. The facts are clearly laid out, simply and clearly explained. Each page has a full colour photographic background; the text always remains easy to read, either by being on a pale background or in fact boxes. It is informative and appealing and perfect to take out for a day exploring. This really is an exceptional series - it's informative and visually appealing, perfectly complementing the KS1 curriculum.

Welcome to the Woodland (Living Things & Their Habitats) by Ruth Owen

Children can learn about the woodland and all the plants and animals that call it home. Like all the books in the series, every double page includes a question to stimulate thinking and discussion - for example, 'What do the woodland trees produce in summer?'; this will be very useful for classroom discussion. The photography is superb and really helps children in their identification of plants and animals. "In Living Things and Their Habitats, readers will discover how living things depend on each other and their environment for survival. Packed with facts, core curriculum information and fantastic photographs that support the text, each book takes readers on a mini safari through a habitat. Like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle, the reader will discover connections and interactions between the plants, animals, and other living things that make this habitat their home."

Welcome to the Garden (Living Things and Their Habitats) by Ruth Owen

Children always have questions about the world around them, and this book answers questions such as 'how do worms help plants to grow in the garden?' and what garden residents will become a wriggly dinner for robins?'. The explanations are clear and easy to follow and the superb photography is a stand-out feature of the series. The books make good use of a variety of information boxes which make the knowledge easy to assimilate. As we well know, many children prefer to read non-fiction and this series is ideal for that - the text has been developed by literacy experts to ensure that it is age-appropriate, with controlled vocabulary, grammar and sentence structure. The inclusion of a glossary ensures that children can find and learn unfamiliar words.

Welcome to the Pond (Living Things & Their Habitats) by Ruth Owen

Pond dipping is a favourite activity. Enjoy this colourful book with children before going pond dipping and then come back to it on your return to learn more about the creatures you found. Good use is made of labelling on the photos, ensuring that children learn the correct terminology. Each book includes a table of contents, glossary, index and a link to learn more online, which takes readers to an appropriate online source of additional information. This is one of the best series for KS1 pupils that I have seen recently; every aspect has been well designed and the overall impact is really attractive.

Time for School (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

I am always on the look-out for good quality non fiction books for KS1 pupils, so I was thrilled to be sent this selection of books from Ruby Tuesday Books, which will be brilliant for classroom, library and home use. Time for School is a colourful look at a variety of schools around the world, from a tiny island school in Scotland to a school for refugees in Syria. The exceptional photographs are a real feature of the books; many are full page or nearly so and they show children in many different circumstances. It's a fascinating look at many different schools and it will help children to understand the many different ways children around the world learn - and hopefully, to appreciate their own learning environment. The topic ties in perfectly with the KS1 curriculum too.

Time to Play (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

Find out how children around the world spend their leisure time in this easy to read book. The text is well set out and the book (like all in the series) makes good use of differing fonts and layouts to make the text accessible. As well as the main text, fact circles carry more specific information and the photos are labelled where necessary. In this book, children will discover games that children play with coconut shells, rubber bands and even old tyres - perhaps they will gain inspiration for their own games! They will find out different ways children make footballs and learn about wooden bicycles. It's fascinating reading and children will really learn about the way others live from the detailed photos. All the books are available in hardback and paperback - the hardbacks are ideal for school and library use, and the paperbacks are well priced for the home market.

Celebrations and Special Days (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

Another title perfect for the KS1 curriculum, this is a colourful look at a colourful topic. Children will be fascinated to see how other children celebrate their important days, including the Up Helly Aa in Shetland, Holi in India, cherry blossom time in Japan and the cattle crossing in Mali; it's a wide ranging selection with many festivals that will be new to children. It would make an excellent basis for school topic work. "Each title from the My World Your World series introduces young readers to the lives of children from many different countries and cultures. The series highlights the diversity of children's lives, but also celebrates and examines the ways in which children worldwide are very much alike. In each title, the accessible, lively text is supported by stunning photographs. The topics included in each book are thought provoking and often challenging and young readers will love finding out about the many different ways in which children around the world live their lives."

A Place to Call Home (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

As the series title suggests, these books encourage children to compare what happens in different parts of the world. It's an excellent way to show children how other cultures live and, in many cases, to appreciate what they have. In this book, children will learn about many different homes, including a house made from mud and cow dung, a village that floats on a lake and even a home that can be carried on the back of a camel. The presentation of the series is exceptionally good; the superb photos are well laid out on pastel backgrounds, with clear headings and fact boxes. Each book has a colourful contents page with coloured backgrounds for each subject; the colour is repeated in the page headers and this is a good way to help children navigate the books.

The Clothes We Wear (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

Children will learn about the wide variety of clothes worn by children all around the world in this attractive book full of photos. They will learn why people dress as they do, and be able to enjoy looking at all the different ways people dress. Each book in the series has a very useful world map which shows, in pictorial form, exactly where in the world each of the photos featured comes from. This is excellent to help children put things into their geographical context; using the books together will add another dimension to the value of this, as children relate, for example, homes and clothing. These books have been well thought out to be excellent first reference books for young children. Each book includes a glossary which explains words in bold in the text. There is also a simple index to help children learn this key skill. Each book is supported by additional information which can be found on the Ruby Tuesday website - this is really valuable, especially for teachers looking for supplementary information to support their teaching.

The Food We Eat (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

Among many other interesting things, children will learn about how rice is grown, how people find food in the Amazon rainforests, how sweets are made for Diwali and what the Japanese put in their lunchboxes. The books are an excellent way to stimulate discussion and to raise awareness about how others live, including those less fortunate than children in this country. Even before opening the books, children will be attracted to them because the front cover of each features a colourful photo from the book - stimulate children's interest by discussing this before you even open the book; it's a good way to get them thinking and talking about what they see.

Everybody Needs Water (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

Another topical topic which links well to the KS1 curriculum. These books really do have everything that makes a good early non fiction book, with easy to read text, colourful photos to inform and to stimulate discussion, a good contents page and index, plus a glossary to extend learning, understanding and vocabulary. In this book, children can explore the uses of water and the way people in different countries collect and store this vital resource.

How We Get Around (My World Your World) by Ellen Lawrence

The last book in the series of reviews is a topic that children will really enjoy - the different ways people around the world use to get around. They will be intrigued by a tiny school bus pulled by a bicycle and doctors who arrive by plane. The books in the series really do an excellent job of showing the variety of ways people live around the world and they will give children a good idea of the different ways in which other people live. Ruby Tuesday say their books are "Books to spark a love of reading and discovery" - from what I have seen so far, they certainly do that. I am very impressed with Ruby Tuesday books and I am really looking forward to seeing what else they have to offer.

Key Stage 2

Megaladon: Prehistoric Beasts Uncovered - The Largest Shark That Ever Lived by Dougal Dixon

Ruby Tuesday Books have an instant and striking appeal, due to their bright covers and stunning photos hich adon them - and this series is an excellent example. You will really feel you ant to look further - and will be well rewarded. The series is perfect for supporting STEM learning which is so high profile at the moment. The. dramatic beginning, when a pod of whales is attacked by the fearsome megaladon will capture children's attention. The book goes on to introduce other prehistoric killers of the deep and then gives detailed attention to the megaladon. The layout is easy to follow and there are lots of facts to learn, alongside enjoying the dramatic ilustrations.

 

Tyrannosaurus Rex: Prehistoric Beasts Uncovered - King of the Dinosaurs

Another fascinating account, this time of perhaps the best-known of these magnificent creatures - the book focuses exclusively on T-Rex and it packed ith easy-to-follow information. The layout makes good use of colour and fact boxes to help children to learn and to make the book appealing. Each of the books features a 'Science in Action' section which shows how scientists carry out their investigations - this ties in particularly well with STEM learning. As with all the books in the series, there is a useful glossary and a comprehensive index - learning features that I am really pleased to see, as they help children develop their research skills and learn to find out for themselves.

The Titanosaurs: Prehistoric Beasts Uncovered - The Giant Earth Shaking Dinosaur by Dougal Dixon

Learn how these huge beasts lived alongside other mammoth creatures, and ho they ere, before moving on to more specific information; it's a good way to put creatures into context and see how they relate to one another. These books are so well produced, with high quality illustrations on shiny paper which sets them off in a really eye-catching way to encourage reading and study. The text is written at just the right level for KS2 pupils, it's easy to follow and very informative.The books make good use of diagrams to help understanding and these will be useful for project work.

Triceratops: Prehistoric Beasts Uncovered - The Dinosaur Built to Do Battle by Dougal Dixon

This formidable beast wwas definitely built for battle as the book well shows. With all the positive attributes of the books reviewed above, this is an engaging and informative look at another amazing creature, which will have children thoroughly engrossed as they learn new facts and enjoy the illustrations. Ruby Tuesday tell us:"Drawing on the latest research and most recent discoveries worldwide, this fantastic new dinosaur series uncovers and explores the lives of some of the biggest, fiercest and most incredible beasts ever to live on Earth. Readers will get to indulge their love of all things dinosaur with page after page of specially commissioned artworks, diagrams and facts. Each book also contains a Science in Action section where readers can discover how paleontologists and other scientists discovered the information featured in the book. From digging up fossils in scorching deserts to creating CGI reconstructions, each book will bring STEM to life for young readers, showing just how science, maths and technology are helping us uncover the world of the dinosaurs!" An excellent series.

Get to Work with Science and Technology: Inventors Get to Work with Science and Technology by Ruth Owen

This series introduces the readers to the real-life applications of STEM subjects and therefore supports both home and school learning perfectly. In this title, which is based very much on present-day inventions and work, readers will discover how inventors get inspiration, design and test their ideas and build prototypes - it's all inspiring practical stuff and showws children how ideas become fully-fledged inventions. The inventions covered are varied,including space and undersea - it's good to see the emphasis on saving our oceans. The explanations are clear and tie in well with the excellent illustrations, diagrams and photographs. A good book to inspire children to make their own discoveries.

The Wild World of a Zoo Vet (Get to Work with Science and Technology) by Ruth Owen

Join with a zoo vet and their exciting and varied world of work. How do you fix a giant tortoise's damaged shell? What could cause a red river hog to unexpectedly lose weight? And how do you perform an eye operation on an elephant? It could all be in a day's work for a busy zoo vet! Wwell narrated and not glossing over the sadder side of the role, this is another well produced and informative book. Ruby Tuesday tell us: "Get to Work with Science and Technology is a fascinating new narrative nonfiction series that introduces readers to the real-world applications of STEM subjects. From analyzing data, to using tools and technology, readers will be excited to see how real-life scientists and engineers solve problems every day using the same scientific techniques that students study and use in the classroom." There are currently (June 2018) 6 titles in the series.

Disguises, Explosions, and Boiling Farts: Bizarre Insect Defenses (Secret Lives of Insects) by Ruth Owen and Ross Piper

You can guarantee that this series will appeal to children, who will be instantly attracted by the titles! And they won't be disappointed, because the series makes for fascinating and engrossing reading. Designed to fit with the KS2 science curriculum, the books in the series will have especial appeal for reluctant readers. "Each book in this new series is packed with truly unbelievable facts about some of the smallest members of the animal kingdom. From wasps that turn spiders into zombies to help them take care of their larvae, to beetles that repel predators with stinking, poisonous, boiling-hot wind." This book is full of bizarre ways insects use to protect themselves, all illustrated in full colour with good text labelling and clear descriptions to provide just enough information. You can find out more at www.rubytuesdaybooks.com/insects.

Intestines, Zombies and Jumping Beans: Extraordinary Insect Life Cycles (The Secret Lives of Insects) by Ruth Owen and Ross Piper

The bright eye-catching covers of these books will immediately gain attention and the high quality graphics continue inside the books. Great attention has been paid to providing a layout that is bright and fun, yet which is easy to read and navigate. The inclusion of a contents page, index and glossary is always an important feature, so children can learn to navigate their way around books; the glossaries in this series are satifsyingly detailed. We are accustomed to children being taught the 'usual' insect life cycles, but they will be fascinated and amazed by the weird life cycles of a range of insects, including the jumping bean moth, the chigoe flea and the oil beetle. Fascinating!

Blood, Poo and Dead Skin: The Things Insects Eat (The Secret Lives of Insects) by Ruth Owen and Ross Piper

Insects are al around us and all the time they are hunting, foraging and eating. But have you ever wondered just what they eat? YOu may wish you had never asked... Readers will learn about the extraordinary lengths some insects go to to eat the very specific foods they need. Each page includes 'The Science Stuff' which gives additional facts to support the rest of the information. CLearly labelled photos are an important part of the book, and the layout is clear and appealing. A wide range of insects are covered, and many will be unfamiliar to children - but not for long! A fascinating look at what is sometimes a somewhat revolting world - but children will lap it up!

Corpses, Cats and Mouldy Cheese; The Places Insects Live (The Secret Lives of Insects) by Ruth Owen and Ross Piper

Yes, these are indeed some of the places insects live - and there are plenty more gruesome things to discover inside the book... including, of course, the insects that live on... us. Insects from all around the world feature in this bookm including the whistling thorn ant from Africa and the cheese fly from Sicily whose maggots feed on the Casu Marzu cheese... and then people eat it! Most foods are less bizarre, though, and this is a good look at the lives of insects and how they survive in a hostile world. A fascinating book, packed with information that children will love.

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