Book reviews - non fiction ages 5-7 (page 3)

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

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

Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser

Maya Angelou had a troubled childhood, living in a society which treated her cruelly for her race and for being a girl. She rose above this to become a multi-talented woman - singer, actress, civil rights campaigner and, eventually, one of America's most beloved writers; much of this is attributed to her huge love for books. This inspiring and informative biography includes a factual section with photos. The short text is coupled with colourful full page illustrations which set the scene. The Little People, Big Dreams series encourages children to discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream.

Amelia Earhart (Little People, Big Dreams) by Isabel Sanchez Vegara

Amelia Earhart is another inspiring woman, whose strong will and self-belief helped her overcome prejudice and the stereotyping of her era. Not only this, but she also had to overcome technical problems to become the first female flier to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. A two page factual biography with photos concludes the book. This well-written account will engage children's attention An excellent series, ideal for KS1 children, ideal for the curriculum, and a good way to introduce them to the lives of inspiring people - and to show that even children should have big ambitions; with determination, anything is possible.

The Little Pioneer by Adam Hancher

This is the story of a little girl's journey as she discovers the challenges, excitement and danger of America’s frontier. Her papa has died, leaving her and her Ma a new home in California - but it's a long and dangerous journey. A mixed band of travellers sets out, and faces flood, sickness, heat and cold - and the little girl has more than her fair share of drama but the support of Mr Reed sees her through. Eventually, there is a new life - and a new family. This tale is testament to the determination, solidarity and courage of the early pioneers, each chasing their own American Dream, evocatively illustrated to bring a real flavour of the period.

Elephant Man by Mariangela Di Fiore

Victorian society was, in many ways, a cruel society, and making a spectacle of people out of the ordinary was common. This affecting story tells us about the Elephant Man, whose real name is Joseph Merrick. Crowds flock to see strange people, including Joseph. But Joseph is a gentle man, who longs for affection and understanding. Disfigured, rejected by his family, bullied and ridiculed, Joseph seems to encounter misfortune at every turn, but eventually finds friendship with a kind doctor. Joseph died young but left a legacy of finding happiness in hardship and looking on the bright side despite adversary. Powerful illustrations and archival photographs combine with the text to bring a moving true account.

Science in Action: How things work- Electricity by Anna Claybourne

Electricity is a fundamental part of our lives. Children are using it and seeing its effects all the time, so it's important that they know where it comes from and how it works. Supporting the KS1 science curriculum, the book uses clear, simple explanations to explains key topics including what an electric circuit is, how light bulbs work and why static electricity makes your hair stand on end. Throughout the book, simple experiments show children how electricity works. These combine with simple explanations and engaging photos to help children to think about how things work, while taking their first steps into scientific discovery - an important element of learning.

Science in Action: How things work- Light & Dark by Anna Claybourne

This series is perfect to support KS1 science. Light and dark covers all that children will need to know to fulfil the requirements of the KS1 science curriculum. Each topic, for example shadows, bending light, night on Earth and shadow clock, has a two page spread which includes simple straightforward text. Photographs and diagrams illustrate the concepts and throughout the book there are plenty of experiments so children can see the science in action - the best way to learn and remember. Key words are explained in the glossary, and there is a comprehensive index. Ideal for inquisitive young learners, with its child-friendly approach.

The Great Big Body Book by Mary Hoffman

Starting with birth, the book looks at how bodies grow and how very different we all are - it makes a real feature of diversity. It shows how bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that change is a never-ending process throughout life. All sorts of topics are covered - growing and learning, big and small, keeping fit, breaks and bruises, the five senses, using our minds, how we are the same and how we are different – and lots more. The book is illustrated with cartoon-style illustrations and is packed with amusing facts and jokes to keep children's attention engaged; the tabby cat who pops up everywhere has plenty to add! The explanations are perfect for young children, using language they will understand and remember. 'The Great Big...' is an excellent series from Frances Lincoln which takes a light-hearted yet highly informative look at a range of topics.

My Little Book Of Tractors by Rod Green

I love this series of fact books for KS1 children - it's great to see high-quality non-fiction for this age group and a good way to encourage children who are not keen on fiction. The simple, easy-to-understand text is combined with excellent photography to provide an excellent introduction to tractors. The book outlines the history of tractors and shows the variety of jobs they do on the farm. It also looks at tractors with tracks and a range of tractors used for a variety of jobs; all-in-all, it is very informative and wide-ranging.

My Little Book About Me by Angela Royston

Perfect for supporting KS1 learning about the human body and ourselves, this well-illustrated book answers questions such as 'What happens when I eat?', 'What is a muscle?' and 'How do my ears work?'. The layout is excellent for young readers, with good use made of varying fonts, well labelled diagrams and images set within colourful circles. The facts are simple and informative. Words in bold are explained in the glossary and there is an excellent and very comprehensive index. Another good example of a non-fiction book.

The Queen and her Family from DK

Children who are learning to read will enjoy finding out more about our Royal Family in this colourful, fact-packed book which celebrates our longest-reigning monarch. From how to greet the Queen to the newest additions to the Royal Family, this friendly and approachable book is written in a way that young children will thoroughly enjoy. It explains what the Queen does, shows children the palaces and castles she lives in, and reveals the amazing crown jewels. It also tells them about her relatives - the princes, princesses, dukes and duchesses that make up her family. There's a quiz at the end of the book to test children's understanding of the book. "DK's innovative range of graded readers combines a highly visual approach with non-fiction narratives that children will want to read. DK Reader Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family is a level 2 reader, offering narratives for children beginning to read fluently with support. Images complement the text, providing visual clues to build vocabulary and confidence."

Would You Rather: Dine with a Dung Beetle or Lunch with a Maggot? by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Would you rather live with a snail, a family of termites, a bookworm or a tick? Make your choice, then turn the page to find out just what you have let yourself in for as you discover the revolting eating habits of bugs. The illustrations by Mel Howells are lively and engaging, with lovely insect characters along with a somewhat perplexed looking child - and who wouldn't be, given the questions he has to answer? It's an amusing way to look at facts, with lots of learning value, consolidated by a page of fun activities at the end.With no wrong or right answer, there are endless possibilities for discussion and extra facts and notes at the end of book encourage the reader to come up with their own questions. A really good approach which makes the most of children's natural inquisitiveness and encourages thought and discussion. Great fun.

My Little Book Of Trains by Rod Green

I love to encourage children to read non-fiction as well as fiction - and many children, especially boys, really enjoy reading factual books. Trains fascinate children and here they can find out about all sorts, from underground trains to giant freight trains. Trains have changed hugely, from the start of the steam age to the world’s most advanced mass transport systems, and they are all described in simple language and a clear font which is ideal for young readers. Every page has a full-page colour photo as its background, as well as smaller photos; the effect is most appealing. Packed with interesting and unusual facts, this is an excellent example of a good non-fiction title; the glossary and index help learning.

Cora Caterpillar by Emma Tranter

Follow the life cycle of a caterpillar, right the way round until we meet another caterpillar. Cora Caterpillar takes readers on a journey through the life of a monarch caterpillar, explaining all the details of how it lives. With a clear narrative, friendly characters, fascinating facts, clearly explained and understanding enhanced with graphic illustrations, this is a fun and informative introduction to animal life cycles. Children will enjoy the speech bubbles which give us Cora's view of things. The book is based on Nosy Crow's Rounds, an innovative new series of multimedia, interactive life-science/non-fiction apps based on circular characters whose real life stories start where they end. The presentation is excellent, with very clear illustrations and easy-to-follow text which gives lots of information.

My Little Book of Emergency Vehicles by Claudia Martin

Children, even reluctant readers, will be instantly drawn to the big colourful pictures of emergency vehicles - there are fire engines, police cars, ambulances and may not so well known vehicles, from all around the world. What does a tow truck do? How does an ambulance work? When do we use firetrains? My Little Book of Emergency Vehicles answers all of these questions and many more. Simple, easy-to-understand text is perfect for KS1 children to read alone or with a little help; more detailed information is given in fact boxes. The contents page is usefully divided into sections; words in bold are explained in the glossary and there is a comprehensive index - all good features to help children learn to find their way around books. They will see hard-working vehicles in the action-packed pictures and also learn about unusual rescue vehicles such as amphibious trucks and firefighting aircraft.

My Little Book Of Rocks, Minerals and Gems by Claudia Martin

Children in Reception and Key Stage 1 are fascinated by the world around them and have lots of questions. This excellent series from QED covers a wide range of subjects in a lively and informative manner, perfectly written for this age group. This title explains how rocks are formed, how they are used, looks at many different forms of rock and shows how to identify gem stones. The photos which accompany the text are excellent and are well labelled to help children's understanding; the layout facilitates reading and the book will interest children who prefer to read non fiction. There is a very good glossary to extend learning plus a comprehensive index.

My Little Book Of Weather by Claudia Martin

Weather impacts on so many of the things we do, so children will enjoy learning about the various types of weather and why our weather is so changeable. It's the extreme weather that really excites children and lightning, blizzards, hurricanes and hailstorms are all explained as well as how our climate and the atmosphere work and how we can predict the weather. Differentiated text makes the books accessible for a range of readers, and the clear layout and excellent use of labels, fact boxes and diagrams mean the information is clear and easy to understand. The useful glossary means children can learn the correct terminology and the index will help them locate specific facts. An excellent series.

Mr. Men Adventure with Dinosaurs (Mr. Men and Little Miss Adventures) by Roger Hargreaves


  Young children are inquisitive about the world around us, so this new series which features the ever-popular Mr Men and Little Misses is bound to garner an appreciative audience. In this story, Little Miss Curious has found a footprint; the biggest footprint she has ever seen. So she asks Mr Clever what it is and so begins a Mr Men hunt to find the dinosaurs with some extraordinary encounters between the two. The story has got all the fun we expect from these popular characters, plus lots of dinosaur facts to learn. The books are ideal for children of 2+, and the larger format gives plenty of scope for some lovely illustrations.

Mr. Men Adventure in Egypt (Mr. Men and Little Miss Adventures) by Roger Hargreaves

Little Miss Splendid is on holiday in Egypt with her friends where she dreams of being Queen Splendid of the Nile. Will the mummies have more bandages than Mr Bump and how will they find their way out when they get lost inside a pyramid? Another very enjoyable story with all the humour we associate with these characters, plus plenty of facts about Ancient Egypt. It includes the hieroglyphic alphabet, so children can learn to write their name in hieroglyphics. Sadly, Roger Hargreaves died in 1988, but his son Adam has taken over the series so we can continue to enjoy these much-loved characters, as well as meeting some new ones. An exciting new series which is perfect to introduce young children to factual books but with a strong story element to keep their attention.

Science in Action: The Senses - Touch by Sally Hewitt

Hands-on science is the best way for children to understand the concepts, and this excellent series is full of ideas that can help learning. "The ideal first introduction to the five senses, Science in Action explores the human body using fun experiments and activities. Senses provide all sorts of information about what is going on around us. The activities in Science In Action encourage young readers to understand how each of their senses work, for example by making their own sound waves or trying a series of optical illusions. Clear and simple text helps explain tricky scientific topics such as how the tongue tastes different flavours and how our eyes work." This book will answer common questions such as 'How sensitive are your fingertips?', 'Why is touch important?' and 'What happens when we feel hot?'. Simple activities, such as describing the feel of a range of objects, encourage children to think about the sense of touch and how we use it in our daily lives.

Science in Action: The Senses - Smell by Sally Hewitt

Two page spreads cover each topic, and there are plenty of illustrations to help children learn and understand. The layout is excellent, with clear page titles and labels on the pictures where appropriate. The font is clear and accessible for young children and will help with learning to read. Throughout the book, children are encouraged to think about what they are learning. The informative text in each book in the series is complemented by a glossary to explain tricky terms in simple easy-to-understand language.

Science in Action: The Senses - Hearing by Sally Hewitt

'What do your eardrums do?', 'Why do you have two ears?' and 'What are sound waves?'. These are just the sort of questions children ask and they will be fascinated to learn more about their bodies. The books are perfect for supporting KS1 science and the presentation will really appeal to children and encourage them to enjoy learning. In each book, 'Next Steps' are parents and teachers' notes to help take the learning further. The books are equally useful at school and at home, especially for home educators.

Science in Action: The Senses - Taste by Sally Hewitt

I really like this series, which adopts a very child-friendly approach to which children will respond well. The presentation is excellent, and the contents page and easy-to-use indexes are perfect for leaching children to use non-fiction books for reference. In this series, each of the five senses is explored using simple scientific explanations; these help children to use the correct scientific language from the start of their learning and this will stand them in good stead as their learning progresses.

Science in Action: The Senses - Sight by Sally Hewitt

The range of fun activities will encourage children to think about how their bodies work, and help them to understand the marvel that is the human body. The activities to help with understanding sight include showing how two eyes are really useful; how the pupils expand and contract; and looking at magnified objects (and guessing what they are). These are all really simple to do but very effective in supporting learning. The 'Next Steps' section will be really useful to teachers when planning lessons and looking for progressive work.

Science in Action: Human Body - Your Digestive System by Sally Hewitt

What does your esophagus do? How long is your small intestine? Which part of your body stores the goodness from food? Young readers will learn the answers to these questions and many more in this picture-packed introduction to the digestive system. It starts with the food we eat, shows how the body digests it, and what happens after. It also includes tips on healthy eating. Practical activities help children's understanding. "Covering the key body systems, this series provides an essential introduction to how the human body works. Packed with photographs, artwork and clear, concise text, these titles make complex ideas easy to understand."

Science in Action: Human Body - Your Bones by Sally Hewitt

Children need to understand how their bodies work in order to look after them properly. This series does that very well, and parents and teachers can use the books as a basis for discussion to help understanding. The stimulating activities will also help generate discussion, and they are suitable for use at home and school. The language used is scientific but perfectly adapted to KS1 children, giving them an excellent foundation for future learning.

Science in Action: Human Body - Your Brain by Sally Hewitt

'What does your brain do? How does your brain carry messages to your body? Which foods are good for your brain?' These are just the sort of questions children ask and they can find the answers to these questions and more in this picture packed introduction to the human body. Packed with photographs, artwork and clear, concise text, these titles make complex ideas easy to understand; they are excellently presented and very appealing for children. This is an excellent series, perfect for school and home and perfect to encourage children to enjoy learning.

The River: An Epic Journey to the Sea by Patricia Hegarty

This lyrical book follows a little fish on her epic journey downriver as she travels out into the unknown. With stunning artwork which depicts in fascinating detail the variety of landscapes through which the river passes from Hanako Clulow and gentle rhythmic text which slows as smoothly as the river and a magical 'swimming fish' hologram to see through the die-cut holes on every page, this is a book to treasure and revisit time and again. Beautiful.

Let's See Ireland! by Sarah Bowie

Join Molly and her parents (and not forgetting her cat Mipsy) as they tour Ireland and see all the iconic main sights! Among the places they visit are Dublin Zoo, Christ Church Cathedral, the Rock of Cashel, Hook Lighthouse, Cork City, the Cliffs of Moher, Giant’s Causeway, Titanic Belfast and Newgrange. Lively drawings full of detail offer lots of opportunity to spot and discuss all sorts of things. It's a lovely book that would make a perfect gift to or from young visitors to Ireland.

Busy People: Astronaut by Lucy M. George

Jenny, Chen and Kim are astronauts - join them as they travel to the space station and observe asteroids. It looks as though there's a problem though but soon they fix the jammed hatch - only to find that Robo-bot is making a mess instead of cleaning; he's soon fixed and the crew settle down. The combination of story and facts is perfect for KS1 readers. Each of the Busy People stories fcuses on different character as they go about their daily work; the series fits the curriculum and learning about other people perfectly. Lively illustrations are informative and help children visualise Jenny's work. The informative section at the back of the book gives more detail about Jenny's work and what she wears, as well as introducing other related people. This is all excellent for stimulating discussion and makes the books perfect for the classroom.

Could a Monkey Waterski?... and other questions by Camilla de le Bédoyère

This series from QED has an enjoyable and light-hearted format to which children will respond well. They will join Monkey as she helps with the housework, goes to a hair salon and splashes around at bathtime - and discover all the amazing things she can do along the way. By imagining animals in everyday scenarios, readers can learn about their size, diet and other features. As well as answering the humorous questions, the book packs in plenty of facts. Featuring superb illustrations and an engaging question and answer format, this title is extremely engaging and enjoyable. And could a monkey waterski? Well, you'll have to buy the book to find out!

Could a Tiger Walk a Tightrope?... and other questions by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Just imagine - with the help of this book - what it would be like if a tiger came to stay. He would hoard all the food, pop the bouncy castle and terrify the dentist! Alongside the fun facts, there is plenty more to be learnt, and the way the information is presented will engage children's attention so they remember what they have learnt. Humorously illustrated throughout, and with a map and facts at the end, this is a fun way to learn about animals. Each of the books in the series focuses on a particular jungle animal, so there is a lot to be learnt about each one.

Tickly Minibeast Adventures by Jess French

Minibeasts are a popular topic in school for Early Years and KS1, so this series will be perfect to encourage children's interest. CBeebies presenter Jess French is here to introduce children to a world of creepy-crawlies. Children can find out all about life cycles, how to identify bugs and what makes each one special; the text immediately draws the reader in by encouraging them to explore their house in search of spiders. It continues in the same vein, involving children with the use of 'we'. They will explore the world of woodlice, count how many legs a millipede has, discover how spiders spin their silky webs and then continue their journey with the pop and play minibeast model included with the book. The book is well illustrated, with plenty of explanatory text written at just the right level for the young reader with plenty of facts and activities to encourage children to explore the world around them.

Fluttering Minibeast Adventures by Jess French

Following the same format as the book above, this book encourages children to explore the world of fluttering minibeasts - dragonflies, damselflies, moths, butterflies and more. Each is described and illustrated and there are lots of activities for children to enjoy, and which will help them learn more. There is a comprehensive four page identification guide at the end of the book and this really will help children to spot and record the creatures they see. There is also a useful glossary and an index - encourage children to make good use of these to enhance their research skills. These are lovely books which will really open children's eyes to the world around them and help them learn how to take care of our environment. Excellent examples of good non-fiction books for young children.

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.

My Best-Ever Pop-Up Space Book from DK

Young children are fascinated by books with sounds, pop-ups and flaps; they are fascinated by space too, so this book is bound to be a success. Readers will learn about the sun, moon, stars, the solar system, space travel, astronauts and the earth as they join a friendly robot on an exciting journey - accompanied by spaceship noises from the sound button. On each page, there's a big pop-up to amaze children and the book concludes with a three page fold-out spread with showing the sun and the solar system so children can put it all into context. It's a good mix of superb photography, fun facts and simple text and it will inform and entertain your child; the perfect introduction to space.

River Story by Meredith Hooper

This lyrical story tells of a river's journey from the mountains to the sea. The river begins as a clear stream formed high in the mountains from melted snow. It slips over pebbles, skids round rocks and is fed by other streams, smaller and faster. Gradually, the river grows wider as it flows quietly past meadows, under bridges, through cities ... until, finally, after sliding slowly through mudflats and marshes, fresh water meets salt water to become part of the sea. The book is beautifully illustrated by Bee Willey, with amazing details about the river and creatures found in or near it. At the end, a two page spread summarises the key geographical stages of a river's journey. It's an excellent way to introduce rivers to young children, in Reception and KS1, and a good introduction to the study of rivers in the geography curriculum.

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.

Arctic Animals (Who's That?) by Tad Carpenter

'He has big antlers, runs fast on hoofed feet, and likes to eat plants.' 'Who's that?' Is it a polar bear? A seal? No, it's a reindeer!' Children will love guessing which arctic animal they'll find beneath the flap - the text and pictures give them plenty of clues to help their guesses. The flaps are big sturdy fold-outs, making the book an ideal first non-fiction book for enquiring young minds., including a walrus, fox, and snowy owl. At the end of the book, all the creatures are having a polar party - how many can your child remember? Published by Sterling, December 2015, ISBN 978-1454912279.

When I Grow Up (Who's That?) by Tad Carpenter

In the early years of school, children will learn about the people who help them, and this book will be an ideal introduction to the topic for very young ones, with its sturdy card pages and full size fold-out flaps. They will meet a fireman, a teacher, a vet, a police officer and more - and they are all on the city bus in the last spread. Each picture contains just enough detail to spark conversation and encourage an interest. A good introduction to non-fiction. Published by Sterling, December 2015, ISBN 9781454912286.

Could a Shark do Gymnastics? by Camilla de le Bédoyère

This lively and engaging introduction to the life of a great white shark will fascinate and amaze young children. By taking everyday situations and putting the great white shark into them, children will see just how these fabulous creatures would fit into our world. Just imagine if a shark went to the dentist - he would be there a long time as he has nearly 240 teeth! Readers will learn about the size, diet and other features of the great white shark in a way they will enjoy and find easy to remember. It's a fun approach and will appeal especially to those who prefer to read non-fiction. Look out for more in the series.

Could a Whale Swim to the Moon? by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Children come up with some really odd questions sometimes and we marvel at the way their minds work. Often, there is a basis of fact behind what they ask and this intriguing series of books takes really child-friendly look at the world around us and answers many strange questions. The engaging presentation allows readers to imagine animals in everyday scenarios - in this case, the blue whale, allowing them to learn about their size, diet and other features. The question and answer format will keep young readers entertained and help them to understand and retain animal facts. Amusing illustrations are perfectly matched to the pictures - so we see the whale in a swimming cap and blowing up 250 balloons with one breath! It's great fun but it's also factual; there's a map to show where the blue whale lives too.

Busy People: Doctor by Lucy M. George

Brilliant! Really simple non-fiction books are few and far between and always something to be warmly welcomed. This excellent series from QED will be perfect for Reception and KS1 children learning about people who help us - a key element in the curriculum. Children are invited to step inside the life of Doctor Miranda and discover the challenges that each day brings. From sending a child for an x-ray to writing a prescription for medicine for a little boy with a chest infection, children will learn about the busy and varied life of a doctor. It's a good way to introduce children to the idea of going to the doctor, to inform and reassure them.

Busy People: Teacher by Lucy M. George

Miss Betts is a very busy teacher - children can learn about all the different things she does during a day. A very special guest is due to arrive later in the day, - it's Kelly Jones, the 100m gold medallist and she tells them what it's like being a sportsperson. Each book in the series introduces other people the main person works with, so in this book, we meet a classroom assistant, a head teacher, a crossing patrol person and a lunchtime monitor. Use the book with your child to prepare them for starting school, as it (and all the rest of the series) is full of talking points and ideas to stimulate discussion.

Busy People: Firefighter by Lucy M. George

It's a busy day at the fire station! Frank the Firefighter and the rest of the crew are off to the primary school where a fire has broken out. The children are all safely lined up in the playground, but the firefighters must rescue Gerald the guinea pig. Each book includes more information presented in a factual form to complement the stories - here we learn about the other things Frank does, including rescuing cats from trees and teaching people about fire safety; we also learn what he needs and this includes a torch and fireproof boots. Each book in the series presents a well-rounded look at the topic for young children, with an interesting story combined with factual information and discussion points.

Busy People: Vet by Lucy M. George

Mike the vet is another busy person - he's out and about, helping a sheep give birth, bandaging a dog's paw and checking on the farm animals. The illustrations contribute in a major way to the appeal of the books - each page holds a well-sized and informative picture to stimulate interest and discussion. At the end of each book there is a valuable page of ideas for next steps - teachers will welcome this for their planning. This book suggests talking about children's pets, discussing farms and finding out about other people Mike works with. A super series for home and school.

Splash by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Young children will really enjoy the superb photographs in this book - they capture each creature in motion with wonderful close-ups which freeze the water in action, giving a really dynamic feel to the pictures. Each photograph is accompanied by informative facts about the animal and how they use water, whether it's for food, to travel, to breed or simply for fun. There are some very unusual creatures included. The easy-to-read text makes this book ideal for young readers. I would like to see a contents page and/or an index though.

Would an Elephant Enjoy the Seaside? (What if a...) by Camilla de le Bédoyère

This engaging series is bound to get children interested - and it's perfect for answering those questions that children seem to come up with from nowhere! It can be hard for children to realise the size of these creatures, unless they have seen them in a zoo or wildlife park, so by putting them in everyday situations, the author helps children visualise them. There's plenty of information about lifestyles to be learnt - elephants will drink lots of milk and eat amazing numbers of apples. Their dexterous trunks mean they could join in with an art class too. A brilliant way to encourage inquisitive children.

Could a Crocodile Play Basketball? (What if a...) by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Another hilarious book which takes an unusual look at the crocodile. Just imagine - what would happen if a crocodile left the jungle and came to stay? How about taking him to the funfair, to a castle or to play crazy golf - you'd be surprised at what he could do! It may be a struggle to feed him though; and did you know crocodiles swallow stones to help grind up the food in their stomachs? These are the sort of facts children love, so this series is an excellent way to get them interested and help them learn. With humorous pictures throughout as well, this is a super series which makes learning fun.
 

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