Book reviews - non fiction ages 7-11 (page 1)

Turner Whistler Monet by Catherine du Duve

This is a fascinating way to encourage children to investigate great paintings, as they look at the works of Turner, Whistler and Monet. The similarities between the artists are highlighted, with some of their common themes illustrated - reflections, blue, moonlight and steam are just some. The reader is encouraged to look at the paintings, to identify small parts and then to create their own artworks - drawing the Carnival in Venice, or a factory landscape, for example. The book is produced on glossy paper, with high quality reproductions of the paintings. 2 930382 01 5.

The Little Cezanne by Catherine du Duve

Another super book to get children really studying the work of a famous artist - this time, they take a journey with Paul Cezanne.Discover his region of Provence, its blue sky, its green pine-trees, its red and ochre earth. Draw the Mont Sainte-Victoire and take time for a game of cards. There are lots of activities designed to engender a real interest in art in children and I think this is an excellent concept, as it will also encourage children to create their own masterpieces. 9 782930 382791

Pop Stars (Celebrity Secrets) by Liz Gogerly

Children always love to have an insight into the lives of their favourite pop stars, so this fascinating title will be thoroughly enjoyed. It reveals the lives of some of the world's most popular stars in depth - the ninesix stars include Lady Gaga, Dizzy Rascal and Justin Bieber. Their backgrounds, personal lives and career highlights are explored, and key questions and answers will intrigue the young reader. The book also features six mini-biographies of other celebrities.

In the First World War (Men, Women and Children) by Philip Steele

This is the story of everyday lives and the impact the war had on ordinary people.  It draws on historical evidence that reveals the lives of the men, women and children during the First World War and is lavishly illustrated with contemporary photos and atrefacts. It examines how people lived, fought, studied, worked, worshipped and played - and what happened when war ended.. There are also short stories about real people who lived during this period of history, such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Charlie Chaplin, Wilfred Owen, Marie Curie and Harry Patch (the last 'Tommy'). 

Made on Earth by Wolfgang Korn

One single item - a red fleece manufactured in Bangladesh forms the basis for this fascinating book which traces the history of one piece of clothing, from the initial order through to shipping, recycling, and eventually landfill.  Made on Earth shows how many people are involved in just one simple item of clothing and how all our lives are intertwined in today's world. Ethical and environmental trading concerns are highlighted and there are many interesting discussion topics raised in this book.  The complex topic of globalisation is simply and engagingly presented in this informative and highly readable book..

Treasury of Horses from Dorling Kindersley

A striking cover sets the scene for this superb book. Beautifully produced on glossy paper it is packed with information about horses - early horses, native ponies, working horses, horses on show, sporting horses and keeping a pony - so every equine aspect is covered. The variety is what really appeals to me with this book - it is more comprehensive in its coverage than many. There is plenty of history here, which shows the importance of the horse to man, and much detail about the way horses are used in different countries. Lots of interesting snippets of information will fascinate the reader. Colour photos are generously used, as well as diagrams, maps and drawings. The book is attractively laid out - it's easy to dip into or to read cover-to-cover. Good for all youngsters interested in horses and interesting for adults too.

Bugs (Discover More) by Penelope Arlon and Tory Gordon-Harris

Children love weird and wonderful facts and here is a book that's packed full of them!These fascinating facts are combined with stunning close-up images which give a 360 degree view of the natural history, history, and human impact of mini-beasts. It covers more than just insects, featuring other land invertebrates such as spiders, centipedes, worms, and snails. The book even takes us right back to prehistory to show the ancient, giant ancestors of today’s creatures. Beautifully presented, and packed with facts that will make the young reader marvel at the wonders of our world. There's lots of variety in the presentation too, which increases the appeal even more - it's a great way to inspire an interest in nature.

Wild Town: Wildlife on Your Doorstep by Mike Dilger 

This is the book that proves that you don't have to go into the country to enjoy wildlife. It's a wonderful insight into the secret world of wildlife in our towns and cities - I was amazed at the right variety of wildlife to be found. The book is packed with eye-catching photography (with many stunning full page photos) which shows the creatures at their best as well as giving a colourful portrayal of urban life. There's plenty of information about each creature and its habitat, so we can learn what we need to provide to encourage wildlife and also find out where are the best palces for wildlife spotting. A lovely way to encourage an interest in nature and a beautifully produced book - one to treasure.

How To Change the World With a Ball of String by Tim Cooke

An attention-grabbing title which is as full of fascinating facts as you would expect. Who said history was dull and boring? This would be the prefect gift to give any child who thinks that history is boring and hopefully will really stimulate an interest in finding out more. Fascinating facts from the ancient world right up to the modern day are complemented by plenty of experiments and lots of fact boxes. The information is presented in a humorous way that will really appeal to children and ensure the facts stick in the memory. Brightly coloured and plenty of pictures make this an attractive book. Leave a copy around the house or classroom and I am sure children (and adults!) will be dipping in to it.

I Wonder Why... Pirates Wore Earrings by Pat Jacobs

I have always liked this series, with its question and answer format, so it's great to see a new title in this long-running series. The format makes it easy and enjoyable for children to find out more and they find the approach appealing and the information easily manageable - the titles are bound to intrigue children too. This is the history of pirates and smugglers, from ancient times right up to the present day - young readers might be surprised to learn that there are still pirates today, albeit not in the traditional garb. Readers will learn all about life on board a pirate ship, the jobs that pirates did, how they attacked other ships and stole their cargo, and how they were caught and punished. Packed with detailed illustrations, this is a fascinating read - and now I know why pirates wore earrings! Find out more about the series at .

Boris's Body: A First Book About Your Body by Spike Gerrell

Children will be immediately drawn to this by its eye-catching lenticular cover - one minute it's Boris, then it's just his skeleton! Through the course of a day in Boris' life, children are introduced to many aspects of the human body, with the aid of flaps to lift, wheels to turn and tabs to pull. There's even a fold-out skeleton. Child-friendly langiage makes this an excellent book to introduce children to the wonders of the human body - with some help from Spike the dog! A fascinating interactive book.

Really Really Big Questions About Me by Stephen Law

Where did I come from? How does my brain work? What am I made of? Why do I like chocolate? This is an unusual and fun introduction to science and philosophy that explores life's important, weird and previously unanswered questions in a way that children will find easy to understand.  Optical illusions, mind-teasers and funky illustrations make this philosophic journey unforgettably fun! Each page answers one knotty question, and gives children the information they need to make their own decisions. Delightfully illlustrated, there are plenty of starting points for discussion here.

Don't Flush: Lifting the Lid on the Science of Poo and Wee by Richard Platt

What child will be able to resist a book with this title? Yes, it is light-hearted,  - did you know that the lawns of the White House are fertilised with sewage? A series of friendly characters including Sidney Sewers the rat and 'Sniffer' Jenkins the dog take the reader on a fascinating exploration. These pages show you how, and tell you some fascinating stories at the same time. The reader will meet wizards using ‘magical urine’, soldiers fighting with exploding piles of dung, wee-wielding beauty therapists and much more. It's a very informative book and I can guarantee that not only children, but adults too will learn things they never knew about poo and wee! Packed with cartoon style illustrations, it's an attractive and highly readable book. Produced in association with the Science Museum.

Discover the Awesome World by Amanda Askew

This is a truly striking book which promises hours and hours of fascinating reading - definitely a book to keep by you and to dip into and learn many fascinating things. It's beautifully produced and one of the key elements is the variety of ways in which information is presented - there are stunning photos, fact boxes galore, comic strips and more - all keep the interest alive. The book is produced in association with Discovery Channel and makes us appreciate just how truly awesome our world is. From Earth's majestic features and nature's great events to the amazing feats of risk takers and incredible archeological discoveries, the dramatic, action-packed text and dynamic design concepts provide a thrilling reading experience for both adults and children. I have reviewed many Miles Kelly books and been very impressed by them, but this one is exceptional. It's beautifully produced, with glossy paper, and is a book to treasure.

Start a Blog! (Find Your Talent) by Matt Anniss

Blogs seem 10 a penny nowadays, so this is the book to explain it all and to show young people the best way to go about blogging. Got something interesting to say? Find out how to make your blogging voice stand out from the crowd with this brilliant book. Packed with hints, skills and tips to get you noticed, this book will help you to focus all of that creative energy. Planning a blog, setting it up, choosing a host, design and much more are all clearly explained and illustrated. The books in this series are equally good for those who enjoy the topic as a hobby and for those thinking of making a career of it - and one can easily lead to the other!

Take Great Photos (Find Your Talent) by Adam Sutherland

A colourful introduction to the nedless possibilities of photography. It's full of simple ideas to help everyone get the best out of their camera - how to compose a picture, the differences between taking portratits and landscape photography, how to edit and share photos and more. It's up to date and packed with exaqmples of great photos for the reader to emulate. This is a super series to encourage young people's creativity and to inspire them to develop their natural talents - these are the rest of the books in the series: Start a Band! (Find Your Talent) Make a Podcast! (Find Your Talent), Make a Film! (Find Your Talent) and Make an Animation! (Find Your Talent).

 Our Island Story by H E Marshall

This is a reissue of a classic history book, which covers the history of our island from the very earliest days up to the death of Queen Victoria. The narrative style of the book makes it (perhaps surprisingly, given its age) an extremely readable book. Children can find it hard to put history in context as so much teaching today is by topic rather than chronological  - this is an excellent way to overcome that difficulty. Short chapters and vivid use of language are ideal to complement history teaching and to give a rounded picture. THey are excellent to read aloud and hopefully children will pick up on the author's love of history and be encouraged to widen out in their studies. The book is produced on good quality paper with traditional illustrations which are a joy to see. A super book to treasure.

Cover to Cover: How a Book is Made by Rob Lewis

I found this book fascinating!  With the help of his sheep, Rob takes us through the whole process of making a book, from the author's original ideaI  to the book being delivered to the reader's home (a tiny caveat - the book does show a bookshop, but it would have been nice if a bookshop had been the place to buy the book...). All the people involved are encountered through the book and their role shown in photos and lovely cartoon style drawings. We see the modern technology that goes into making a book. Altogether, an enlightening and enjoyable read for any age. I think it would make a really good basis for library skills lessons, as the more that children understand the complex processes that go into producing a book, the better they will appreciate books.

In the Forest by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud

I didn't expect this to be a pop up book! It is extremely effective - as you go through the book, the same pop up is used but gradually, the forest is disappearing, destroyed by man's greed. WE follow the story of one little slumbering sloth - will he wake up in time to escape? After the destruction comes hope, as slowly the forest regrows and then pops up again, more beautiful and full of life than ever before.THere are many things for children to spot and plenty of ideas for discussion.  It is a thought-provoking book, wonderfully engineered and a brilliant way to convey a powerful message.

Light and Sound (Little Science Stars) by Clint Twist

A colourful introduction to Light and Sound which will work well for early KS2 children. Each two page spread take a key question and answers it in simple but informative language, with plenty of lively and entertaining photos and fact boxes to break up the text. Questions posed on each spread help children reason on what they are learning.. THe glossary is a useful feature, as is the index - both encourage children's reference skills. There are many more topics covered in this useful series.

Cleopatra: the Last Pharaoh (Notebooks) by Clint Twist

Once again Templar have produced an outstanding and fsascinating book - one of an exceptional series. This time, we learn about Egypt's last pharaoh - yes, Cleopatra.  Her remarkable life is chronicled through text and a series of fld outs, such as maps and mini books. From her royal childhood to her relationships with Caesar and Mark Antony, through Roman civil war to the mysterious events of her death and the legend that lives on today, this is an intriguing look at an intriguing character. Beautifully illustrated with an unusual and eye-catching presentation, yet retaining authority and accuracy in a highly readable format.

Tyrannosaurus Rex (Animal Diaries) by Steve Parker

Children will enjoy the format of this book, which is written in the first person - a young T-rex who is exploring his new world. As he grows, we find out what he eats, about his family group, about the other creatures and much more. The book is beautifully presented, with full colour throughout and many intriguingly detailed illustrations. Fact boxes give the reader information about other creatures. Beware - the ending is, inevitably, rather sad.  This series covers a wonderful range across the animal kingdom, from Spider (Animal Diaries), to Shark (Animal Diaries) to Elephant (Animal Diaries)

William Shakespeare - A Very Peculiar History by Jacqueline Morley

I love this highly collectable series, with its old fashioned style, attractive endpapers, and chunky size - the books are a great adornment for any bookshelf! But they are more than just good looks - this book looks at the life and works of Shakespeare in a way that will interest everyone. It sets out to answer many of the frequently debated questions about Shakespeare's family and childhood, and what has made his work so durable. It's packed with information and enlivened with quirky illustrations and great design. I recommend you give it to any child or young adult who is reluctant to study Shakespeare because he is boring - this will change their minds!

Trouble with Science (The Danger Zone) created by David Salariya

This is a fascinating insight into the lives of some of the people who created the inventions we take for granted in our modern world - the reader is taken right into the inventors' lives. But life wasn't always easy for them - they took many risks to bring their inventions to fruition. Trouble with Science is packed with details about the inventions and the science behind them. Everything is clearly explained and it makes great reading - even if you find science a mystery! There are lots of activities to try out, and doing these will help children understand the underlying principles. Packed with intriguing illustrations, it's a facsinating and engaging book for all ages to enjoy.

Walter Tull's Scrapbook by Michaela Morgan

Kentish born Walter Tull was one of Tottenham Hotspurs' top players, who joined the Footballers' Battalion during the First World War - and of course, was one of those who played in the famed Christmas Day football. He was a courageous and inspirational leader - a black officer at a time when  the rule book stated that only white men could become officers. This book is based on his personal writings, photos and pictures and gives a fascinating insight into a man who broke across boundaries. In an age when we still find prejudice on and off the playing field, this book conveys an important message - one we must heed. The atmosphere of the First World War is vividly evoked and this book will complement studies of the period by giving a personal view of events. Sadly, Walter Tull died on the Somme. 

Did It All Start With a Snowball Fight? (Good Question) by Mary Kay Carson

The American Revolution may not be studied at KS2, but it is nonetheless an interesting topic and it is good for children to widen their horizons. Did a snowball fight really set off the American Revolution? It's a fascinating look at an interesting topic, well presented with excellent paintings, photos and maps which together bring the period to life. It answers questions such as 'How long did it take a minuteman to join the fight?' and 'Were Yankee Doodles really dandy?'. Attractive and interesting reading.

Fantastic Mr Dahl by Michael Rosen 

Now children have the chance to read for themselves all about one of their favourite authors. In a lively and easy to read biography, Michael Rosen answers some of the many questions children have about Roald Dahl - how did he start writing; where did his ideas come from; and what was he like when he was writing? It's full of stories and funny anecdotes about Roald Dahl's life, and we are left with an enduring picture of this wonderful author, which helps us to see how he became the great writer he was. Of course, the illustrations are by Quentin Blake!

Science Crazy by Steve Parker and Raman Prinja

When children can see how what they are learning applies to everyday life - their life - they are so much more enthusiastic and learn so much better. Through animation and fact bubbles, science can be easily accessible to all. There are over 20 activities, all carefully planned to be simple and safe to carry out at home, and these back up the information pages on topics covered in KS2. It is brightly illustrated, with excellent use of colour to capture a child's attention. The book is full of fascinating facts, everyday applications of science and snippets of information to intrigue children.

The Usborne Complete Book of the Microscope by Kirsteen Rogers

Children are fascinated by the wonderful worlds that the microscope lets us explore - I well remember my wonderment when I was given a microscope (and I still have it!). This fascinating book features stunning photography showing a huge range of subjects  - bed bugs, hair, watery minibeasts and more. There are lots of practical suggestions for children to undertake their own investigations - cheek cells, crystal samples and growing bacteria are just a few. It offers practical information on buying and taking care of microscopes.  Internet links list sites featuring photographs, slide presentations and movies of views that are inaccessible to the naked eye. The wide range of this book shows so well just how much there is to explore through the mircoscope and how wonderful, awe inspiring and beautiful the things around us are.

The Usborne Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt by Gill Harvey and Struan Reid

Ancient Egypt has long fascinated explorers and archaeologists, and its pull is just as stromg today. This is (as we expect from Usborne) a stunningly illustrated and presented book, which is deserving of a place on any bookshelf, not just for children - I found it quite fascinating. .There is a huge amount of detail, all presented clearly and interestingly and well supported by the detailed drawings and photos.  It includes a comprehensive factfinder featuring a time chart, a list of who's who and details of recent archaeological finds, showing there is still much to learn and discover. It includes internet links so that children can extend their explorations and support their KS2 history studies.

Tudors and Stuarts (Usborne History of Britain) by Fiona Patchett and others

This is one in Usborne's History of Britain series, a really attractively produced series packed with fascinating facts plus contemporary and modern illustrations and perfect to support KS2 history. The book covers the political events and everyday life, thus giving an excellent overview of the period. The narrative style makes the book easy and interesting to read and the layout and design are exceptional. The detail in the pictures is intriguing - just one example is the cutaway of a cloth merchant's house which gives a real feel for life at the time. Once children's appetites have been whetted by this enjoyable book, they can use the internet inks which are included, listing recommended websites.

How We Make Stuff by Christiane Dorion illus by Beverley Young

Some publishers excel in the field of novelty books, and Templar Books is certainly one of these. The pop-ups really enhance understanding of how things are made, they are not just a gimic. We take so many things for granted, and this book explores the fascinating stories that lie behind the way they are made. Take a burger, for example - find out where all the ingredients come from and then enjoy reading a (very) brief history of farming in the pop out book. Factories, chocolate, paper, clothes and more all enjoy the same interesting treatment, with lots of pictures and fact boxes to enjoy. There are also some interesting activities - I fancy making my own plastic! We find out the many ways in which we use the world's resources and this will encourage us to think about and to take care of them. Take a look at for interactivity to support the book.

Molecule Mayhem! (Super Science) by Tom Adams illus by Thomas Flintham

This new science series is a wonderful way to encourage children to engage with science. It explains why things happen around us, and manages to be really relevant to everyday life, so children can see exactly how science works for us and how important it is. The first page grabs the attention, with lots of ascinating facts. There are some wonderful pop ups, flaps to lift and things to pull - all these work together to make the book fun and the facts memorable. There are also seven experiments to create chemical reactions, which can be done at home.It's a really well thought out book which will provide hours of learning fun and hopefully will inspire young scientists. Look out for Super Science: Feel the Force too.

My Pop-Up World Atlas by Anita Ganeri and Stephen Waterhouse

Looking at the world through the medium of an atlas is a wonderful way for children to find out and discover. If you interest them in atlases through this exciting pop-up book, then hopefully they will be hooked for life. Starting off with a spread on the world, the book moves on to give each continent its own double page, with pop-ups, flaps, little fact-filled booklets, and  pull-tabs introducing the world’s countries, inhabitants, and famous landmarks. The pop-ups are particularly clever, as famous landmarks pop out of the maps of the Americas, Africa and Australasia. The detail included is phenomenal - there will be something new for your child every time they open the book. Highly recommended!

Spacecraft and the Journey Into Space

A perennially fascinating topic, brought to life in an investigative manner which will really help the reader see inside the wonders of space. The inclusion of projects for the reader to try out, such as making a balloon rocket and finding out about super hearing, both adds interest and stimulates understanding and learning. This is one in a new series which is ideally suited for today's young readers, and which also includes Galaxies and the Runaway Universe (The Universe Rocks) and To the Planets and Beyond (The Universe Rocks).

Inside Plants (Discovery Explore Your World) by Steve Parker

The natural world is absolutely phenomenal and books like this, with their superb photography, really help us to appreciate it. The miracles of nature are shown with cutaways and exploded views to help the reader understand every concept. Clear text accompanies each topic, along with annotations and snippets of extra information. Photographs are used to place subjects in context and more difficult concepts are explained through the use of hand-drawn colour diagrams. It is an excellent book to support KS2 and KS3 science and will help to encourage students to enjoy the topic.

Active Earth (Discovery Explore Your World) by Belinda Gallagher

This colourful series of books which looks at the wonders of our world is produced in association with the Discovery Channel. The action packed text is just the thing to appeal to readers who prefer non fiction to fiction - it's just as exciting as the best adventure story! The busy pages are packed with facts, photos and illustrations, with enough detail and information to interest adults as well as children. Fantastic facts educate, intrigue and inform - did you know that the Amazon deposits 3 million cubic metres of sediment into the ocean every day?

 I Am a Frog (Animal Planet) by Camilla de la Bedoyere

A colourful introduction to the life of a frog for young readers - and ideal for those school projects! That's because this contains, not just lots of facts, but a story with stickers to illustrate it (plus some spares - perhaps these will encourage your child to write his own story), how to draw a frog and puzzles to do. All that and then there's a frog mask to make and a colourful poster too! The pages are colourful, well laid out and full of information. An excellent resource. 

Creepy Crawlies - A Pocket Pop Up from Walker Books

Those creepy crawlies spring to life in this chunky little pop up book which will delight children - when unfolded, there are one and a half metres of creepy crawlies to relish. 12 weied and wonderful creatures - the European Praying Mantis, the Asian Giant Hornet, the Arizona Bark Scorpion, the Stag Beetle, the Mexican Red-kneed Tarantula, the Army Ant, the American Cockroach, the Atlas Moth, the Anopheles Mosquito, the North American Millipede, the Giant Weta and the Pill Woodlouse. The vivid illustrations will delight children as they open up this novel book.

Weather (Mini Encyclopedia) by Sarah Phillips

It may be a small book but it manages to pack in a great deal of information plus plenty of photographs and diagrams. It's an ideal introduction to the fascinating topic of weather and just the right amount of information to support KS2 science. Explanations are clear and the labelling makes the subject easy to understand. There is a useful glossary, and the length of the index shows just how much is covered in this book.

 Polar Animals (Ready to Read) by Wade Cooper

Many children prefer to read non fiction and it's a great way to encourage reading, by giving children children early reading books which focus on key interests. Lots of stunning polar animals are introduced here, with wonderful colour photos. Children will learn basic facts about these beautiful animals, through simple text which is fun to read.

Winston Churchill (Real Lives) by Harriet Castor

Winston Churchill is such a key figure in British history, that all children should be aware of the story of his life and of his tremendous achievements. Hopefully, they will be familiar with some of his great speeches and this book is the ideal opportunity to fill in the background. Written in narrative form, the story starts with Churchill during the Boer War and comprehensively covers his early political life, giving a really well rounded picture before reaching his well known activities during World War II. Interestingly written, with plenty of dialogue, this is a good read.

Boudica (Real Lives) by Gaby Halberstam

Another iconic figure from British history, showing the wide range of characters covered in this series from AC Black. A fascinating and feisty character in an era dominated by men, Boudica makes for an excellent central figure and the narrative style makes it easy and interesting to learn about her. The story is packed with action and children will be drawn in to the story. Written by authors experienced in writing for children, the series is pitched at just the right level for KS2 children interested in rounding out their history studies.

M is for Mexico by Flor de Maria Cordero

This series makes an excellent introduction to other countries for children. Richly illustrated with high-quality colour photos and printed on glossy paper to make the best of the photos, the book is very well produced and a real pleasure to read. It starts with A for alegria (a crunchy sweet treat) and finishes with Z for zocalo (the main square in a city), and on the way the reader gets an exciting glimpse into the people, culture and geography of this vibrant and exciting country.

RSPB First Book of the Seashore by David Niemann

This series from A & C Black is an excellent way to introduce children to nature. The books are a handy pocket size with durable covers which include flaps to mark the place. Each book introduces 35 common species, each illustrated in full colour and with just enough information and facts to aid identification and whet the appetite for further research. At the end of each book is a spotter's guide to enable a record to be kept.
The Seashore introduces creatures and plants commonly found on beaches around the British Isles. Perfect to take on holiday to encourage children to observe the world around them. The explanations are simple and the pictures detailed enough to make identification sure.

 RSPB First Book of Trees by Derek Niemann

Each tree is illustrated with its shape - such an important part of identification. This is complemented by pictures of the leaves and the fruits and flowers where appropriate. The layout is clear and I like the way that a small picture of each tree appears at the top of each page, so the reader can flick through in search of a particular tree. Useful snippets of information make for an interesting read.

 RSPB First Book of Pond Life by Derek Niemann

An eye-catching cover, as with all the books in the series, immediately attracts the reader to this book. Pond dipping is always popular and this book is the ideal companion. Find out about all the creatures that inhabit our ponds. The detailed colour pictures are clearly labelled, making this a great book to use as a basis for project work.

 RSPB First Book of Butterflies and Moths by David Niemann

People are often surprised at how brightly coloured some moths are - just as colourful as butterflies. 35 moths and butterflies are pictured and described in this book, each shown feeding on a favourite food plant, which is an additional aid to identification. Another colourful and attractive book and an excellent way to encourage young ones to enjoy nature.

Queen Elizabeth II - Her Story by John Malam 

The story of our Queen from her birth and childhood, through the War and onto her accession, her family, homes, duties and events. The book includes a family tree and a useful chronology. The book is generously illustrated and the layout is most attractive, as befits its royal theme. I love the way many of the pictures are 'framed' just like paintings in a gallery.The information is succinct, easily readable and provides an excellent overview of the Queen's momentous reign.

Deadly Dangerous Kings and Queens by Karl Shaw

This is the ideal book to change the minds of any child who thinks history is boring! Packed with facts about the British monarchy from William I to our present Queen, all presented ina witty and entertaining manner - great stuff for trivia quizzes! Chronologically arranged with such intriguing chapter titles as 'The king who was killed by a fish supper' and 'The king who was a waste of space', this is a great book to dip into.

Queen Elizabeth II's Reign: Celebrating 60 years of Britain's History by Jacqui Bailey

How life in Britain has changed over the 60 years of the Queen's reign is the theme of this book. An interesting piece of social history, which will appeal to readers from all age groups. It is brought alive with humourous cartoons and memories from people who have lived through the events and changes of the Queen's reign. It is illustrated with pictures of the Queen and the Royal family, historical photos of life in Britain and this includes pictures of objects through the period. There are panels of facts about the Queen and the Royal Family, and about how everyday life has changed. A fascinating read and a lovely souvenir of this Jubilee year.

The Elements: the Building Blocks of the Universe (Discover More) by Dan Green

All life is founded on the elements (just over 100 of them), so understanding them is crucial to understanding our world. Far more than just a print book, ownership unlocks a free 64-page digital companion book with extra information, photos, and videos! Even for those who find science hard to understand, this book has lots to offer and provides an enlightening read. It explains the tremendous forces of star birth and death that create elements. It chronicles the history of their discovery and the impact of their science on every aspect of our daily lives. The explanations are clear and information given in manageable chunks. The photography is stunning and really adds meaning to the text.I like the subtitle to each element - a great memory aid!

China (Food and Celebrations) by Sylvia Goulding

In our multi-cultural society, it is essential that we all develop an understanding of the customs of others. Food is an important part of any nation and this series explores each country's special relationship with food, and how food ties in with the special occasions the country celebrates. The book starts by introducing the regions of China, then sections on festivals, celebrations and daily life are generously interwoven with recipes that children will find easy to follow and enjoy cooking.

 A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies

A gentle poetic exploration through the changing seasons, this is a book which will make all ages stop and think about the beauty of the world around us, in even the simplest of things. The text and illustrations work wonderfully together, as the pictures frame the text whilst really reflecting the meaning. It's a book to cherish and share, one to keep and reflect upon and to pick up and read when the pressures of life get a bit much. It's a lovely way to encourage children to enjoy the world around them and to make them take note and care for that world.

Scary Sharks (Animal Attack) by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Children love gruesome creatures and they will discover a world of dangerous creatures and come face to face with terrifying animals in this exciting new series from QED Publishing.
I hadn't realised there were quite so many sharks until I read this book! Nine different sharks are described, with full page colour photos, 'Shark Bites' for additional information and a 'Killer Fact'. There are also pages giving general information about sharks. The centrefold opens up to offer a big scary picture of a great white shark. The information is presented in manageable chunks, making all the books in the series accessible for even reluctant readers

Deadly Predators (Animal Attack) by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Another colourful book packed with interesting facts about a wide range of terrifying animals. Among many others, the book includes the secretary bird, vampire bats, electric eels, the Tasmanian devil and piranha fish - a really varied range. The centrefold is a very frightening toger! This series is equally suitable for home or school use, with its excellent colour photos and easily accessible and informative text.

Fearsome Reptiles (Animal Attack) by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Another very attractive book in this series, with its well laid out pages and easy to read and well presented information. The foldout alligator photo shows the creature at its actual size in all its fearsomeness! The pages all have colourful backgrounds which give an impression of the habitat; there are plenty of photos and children will love the 'Killer Facts' which feature on every page. Gila monsters, black caimans and coral snakes are some of the unusual creatures in the book.

Mini Monsters (Animal Attack) by Camilla de la Bedoyere

All those creatures most of us dislike! Spiders, ants, mosquitoes, ticks and scorpions are some of the creatures described. All these do have an important part to play in the world of nature and children will be helped to understand their role and importance when they read the book. Again, colourful and well presented with interesting facts. Minibeasts are a popular topic studied in schools, so this book will be a good resource for Reception and KS1 teachers.

Charles Dickens (An Adventure From History - Facsimile edition) by L du Garde Peach

I clearly remember these books from my childhood, so it is lovely to see them reprinted in these facsimile editions. I am sure they will appeal as much to adults, for nostalgic reasons, as they do children. In this bicentennial anniversary year of Dickens' birth, there is lots of interest in his work and this book gives a succinct and lively account of his life, his writings, and what shaped those writings. With full page colour illustrations throughout, there is pelnty here to interest today's children.

 Brothers at War: A First World War Family History by Sarah Ridley

Three of the four Baker brothers - Lionel, Arthur and Maurice - were soldiers in the First World War. Their story is told in fascinating detail in this book, based on research by Eliza, one of Arthur Baker's great-grandchildren, and her mother, Sarah. The book uses letters sent from the Western Front, a diary written in a prisoner of war camp and other documentary evidence. It's a fascinating and emotional read as we learn about the war through the eyes of these three soldiers.

Titanic: Disaster at Sea by Martin Jenkins

Produced to mark the 100th anniversary of the tragedy,  this book traces the story of the fated ship right from her construction in Belfast. We find out about the great ocean liners and the launch of the Titanic. Find out about the luxury of life on board ship; the safety features she had and how the first voyage began. The final hours are intriguingly pieced together, using the evidence available; finally, we learn about the inquiry and the controversy over the unfair treatment of some groups of passengers. A fascinating insight.

Titanic Unclassified by Alex Stewart

Based in a large part on the wonderful store of material available through the National Archives, this book shows us how things started to go wrong, with wrong decisions being made, right from the beginning of her construction. Life on board ship is vividly brought to life through the use of real-life artefacts and documentation produced at the time of the event. The facts are given and the reader has the opportunity to put the facts together and draw their own conclusions about what really happened. enables readers to build a true and real account of what happened and the causes behind it. There is lots of fascinating detail about life was like on board the ship and how she was built. An engrossing read for all ages.

 The Queen by Richard Brassey

Richard Brassey's trademark style is brought to bear on the life of our Queen, with his mix of anecdotes, fun facts and quirky illustrations. Did you know that, when her parents returned from a royal tour, Princess Elizabeth received three tons of toys which they had been given for her? The friendly and approachable style is great to capture children's attention and they will love the caricatures. Hide the names and see how many people they can identify! There is a surprising amount of information packed into this slim book, and the illustrations are packed with intriguing detail. A lovely memento for the Jubilee year.

Oceans (Basher Science) by Dan Green

This unique series is guaranteed to capture children's attention. Discover the secrets of the oceans in a compelling insight into an underwater world that makes up almost three-quarters of our special planet. The fact that the book is written in the first person draws the reader in, encourages a different way of thinking and stimulates the imagination. The colourful and often comical pictures will appeal to younger children, who will enjoy sharing the book with parents; for older children, there is plenty of information. There's a poster at the back too. It's an interesting approach which is an excellent complement to other books on oceans.

Heave! Forces and How They Move Things (The Real Scientist) by Peter Riley

THis is a series which reallly makes science both enjoyable and easy to understand for children. Forces is one of the topics studied during KS2 and this book is an excellent complement to school work. It is packed with simple experiments which explain the science behind movement - among the things to make are a water wheel, a submarine and a parachute. Tests to try include the strength of a bridge and friction. There are clear explanations about the science behind forces, plus sources of further information.

Clothes by Liz Gogerly

Reading this fascinating book made me realise how lucky we are today with our realtively simple clothing! Clothes charts the development and changes in clothes and the textile industry over the Victorian Age. The book explores the fashions over the era, that influences that affected their change and the key people who altered the way the Victorians dressed. The text will chronicle the features and characteristics of the Victorian age to explore the effect of social and economic changes on the lives of the different social classes and genders.

Titanic (Eyewitness) by Simon Adams

Eyewitness Titanic is a fully revised edition for the anniversary year. It is a spectacular and informative guide to one of the most dramatic stories in maritime history, with all the features we have come to expect from Dorling Kindersley. Amazing colour photographs offer everyone - child or adult - a unique "eyewitness" view of the lTitanic. Explore the wonders of the ship and relive the horror of the sinking. Find out about the discovery of the wreck and the wonderful treasures uncovered. Packed with detail, this is a fascinating and emotional read. There's a colourful poster too.

The Most Explosive Science Book in the Universe by Claire Watts 

The amount of information packed into this book is quite amazing! It's definitely one to dip into, rather than read cover to cover. Find out about the science that makes us, the world and the universe with the Brainwaves who shrink down to atomic level to explore the basic building blocks of science. Each topic - including What's the Matter; Mixing It Up and Endless Energy - is covered in a busy two page spread which explains the background science in an entertaining but factual way. This would be a great book to encourage any children who find science boring or hard to grasp.

Nature Adventures by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

An inspirational book which I hope will encourage parents and children to get out and enjoy the beauties of the world around us. Whatever habitat is near you - park, seaside, woodland, moorland, river or lake - and whatever time of year, there is something here for YOU . Each habitat is illustrated with a plethora of identification drawings and the layout should inspire children to create their own nature record book. Get your child involved through the suggested activities - identifying  insects, plants, mammals and birds, looking for tracks, feathers, droppings, making plastercasts of tracks, collecting and displaying seeds, leaves and fruit and nuts. The authors of this book have produced many exceptional books together and their unique style is refreshing and motivating. The inclusion of quotes from famous writers is another interesting concept, and another idea to inspire young nature lovers. A wonderful way to get children to observe the world around them.

Space Vehicles (Machines Close-Up) by Daniel Gilpin

Children ( and especially boys) are always fascinated by what goes on inside machines, and what makes them work. From the Apollo Moon Lander to the International Space Station, this book takes the reader right inside some of the most incredible machines of our time. The internal workings are clearly depicted through the amazing exploded illustrations of Alex Pang - packed with detail and clearly labelled, these will fascinate readers..Also in the series, and with all the same great features is Military Fighting Machines (Machines Close-up) - an excellent way to bring to life things heard about on the news.

Campaigners (20th Century Lives) by Philip Steele

This book includes some of the world's most dynamic and influential campaigners, from Emmeline Pankhurst to Nelson Mandela and Mohandas Ghandi to Bob Geldof. Just enough information to whet the appetite and hopefully to encourage children to continue on to do some more in-depth research.  It provides a fascinating insight into the experiences and achievements of these talented and inspirational people and sheds light on how they became so successful in their campaigns. Also in the series is Adventurers (20th Century Lives), which features 14 influential adventurers, including Amelia Earhart, Thor Heyerdahl, Amy Johnson and Sir Ernest Shackleton.

India (Discover Countries) by Tim Atkinson

A comprehensive look at India through a variety of themes such as location, landscape and climate, population and health, settlements, family life, religion and beliefs, education and learning, employment and economy, industry and trade, farming and food, transport and communications, leisure and tourism and environment and wildlife.The in-depth coverage makes this series suitable for both KS2 and KS3 studies. The book is attractively laid out, with lots of photos and includes maps, statistics panels and simple graphs and charts. There is also a useful topic web showing links with this series to other subject areas. Recently published in the series is United Kingdom (Discover Countries) - this describes the landscapes of the UK; discusses the Commonwealth; and outlnes changes taking place in the UK economy, as well as including all the features above.

The Tudors (History From Objects) by Angela Royston

Looking at the artefacts people used in bygone ages is an excellent way to get a real picture of how they lived. Often, this can be extended by visits to sites of historical interest. A useful section on each page helps us to understand exactly how much we can learn from specific objects. Through examining primary evidence, such as, pots, swords, remains, artwork, buildings and tapestries, the reader is introduced to each historical age. The author is an archaeologist who specialises in writing children's information books. The series is designed to support KS2 history studies and The Egyptians and The Romans follow the same format.

The Gruesome Truth About the Aztecs by Jillian Powell

Guaranteed to appeal to children, this book focuses on the most gruesome parts of the way the Aztecs lived - a great way to get children engaged..The Aztecs covers all the topics one would expect to find in a history series, such as family life, food, religion, entertainment and warfare - but in a different way from usual. Full of fascinating snippets of information and a great complement to the more traditional history books. High quality layout and illustrations make this an atractive book.

That's Life by Professor Robert Winston

Why is Earth an ideal place for life to survive?  From the very big to the microscopic, meet the animals, plants, fungi and bacteria that play an important role in sustaining life on Earth in this fascinating account of what makes our earth habitable. Full of colourful images, diagrams, facts and statistics, this is a perfect book for dipping into and ideal to support and extend KS2 science. Learn about the meaning of life; the variety of. life; living together; secrets of survival and the other side of life. Robert Winston has become a household name and his writing for children is just as successful and accessible as for adults.

My Tourist Guide to the Solar System and Beyond by Lewis Dartnell

Stunning digital artwork takes the reader on the journey of a lifetime. Join your well-equipped cruise ship for a journey around the solar system, and make use of all the invaluable tips for tourists to ensure you know just what to look out for. Just like a tourist, this book takes the reader on  a day trip to the planets, a hike along the Mariner Valley on Mars and a trek around Victoria Crater - and that's just for starters! Everything is put into context by the useful diagram at the bottom of each page, which charts your progress. Packed with fascinating facts, there is plenty here to interest everyone and the unusual presentation makes this a really enjoyable read.

Hail! Ancient Greece by Philip Steele

Get all the gossip on life in Ancient Greece in this newspaper-style book.An engaging format which will provide an excellent resource for KS2 project work on Ancient Greece. Find out where people lived, how they kept healthy and how they behaved, at war, at work and at leisure. All the key features of a popular newspaper are here - news, quizzes, reports from other lands, holidays, celebs, food, fashion and much more.

Hail! Ancient Romans by Philip Steele

A fact-filled look about the Ancient Romans, with a colourful cast of celebrity characters and a keen awareness of what was 'on trend' and what was not, in how people dressed, what they ate and where they lived.  Lots of photos and illustrations keep the interest going and the format is excellent for the more reluctant reader. Useful sources of further information complement the value of this book as a project resource.

Putting Your Carbon Foot In It! by Paul Mason 

The low-down on environmental destruction - and what each and every one of us can do to stop it! Written with a light and humorous touch and with quirky features such as 'Diary of an Eco-Teen', the lively text and witty Mike Gordon illustrations will demystify, inform and enlighten. Perfect for 'tweens, teens - and their parents! It is a light-hearted approach to a serious issue, but that does not detract in any way from the important messages this book conveys. The fact  that it is fun to read will encourage readers of all ages, and those messages will remain long after the book is closed.

The Home Front (History Relived) by Cath Senker

Social hsitory always fascinates me, and this book is a fascinating glimpse into the way people lived during the Second World War, and how they went without many of the things we would call essential. All the books in the series  feature specially reconstructed photographs of historical periods, and these really bring the period alive with their use of detail - I particularly like the waysmall objects from the photos are shown and labelled separately. The inclusion of contemporary posters is interesting, and the book will interest those who lived through those difficult times,as well as young people. A useful series of activities at the end will be invaluable for teachers.

Coastlines Around the World (Geography Now) by Jen Green

Our planet is changing all the time, and nowhere is this more to be seen than around our coastlines. Case studies of key areas, including Venice and The Great Barrier Reef, make fascinating reading and an excellent example to follow for topic work. The layout is modern and excellent use is made of maps, diagrams and photos to illustrate the concepts. The series explores particular physical features that make up the landscape of the Earth, including how they were formed and what is unique about them. Learn about the formation of the earth and discover how it is changing.

Poets by Brian Moses

A series of questions are presented to famous authors, such as Michael Rosen, Ted Hughes and Valerie Bloom, to ask them how they write, where their inspiration comes from, what techniques they use and how they solve common writing problems. The process is explored from original ideas and what tools to write with through to promoting the finished book. It looks at plot, characters, settings, story and poetry types, beginnings and endings as well as what to do when it all goes wrong!

Ocean Deep by Richard Hatfield

The cutaway cover to this book, with its many levels, gives an instant feeling of travelling deep into the sea. This fold-out zigzag book, made of stiff card, takes the reader from the deepest depths of the sea, right up to rockpools, with shaped cutouts which are most attractive.. Each spread shows the creatures which can be found at that depth, with labelled pictures and brief text. There is a lot of detail on each page. Opened out, this would make an excellent backdrop for a display, or a wall display. Another unusual and stimulating book from Child's Play.

Inside Gadgets (Explore Your World) by Steve Parker

Many of us are fascinated by the way the multitude of gadgets we use in our everyday lives actually work, so this is a book for any and all ages.  Detailed and realistic artwork is presented with cutaways and exploded views to help children understand ho  everything works- they can clearly relate the object they are holding with the pictures in the book.  The explanations are quite detailed, but the way they are broken up with fact boxes, snippets of information, and lots of pictures mean that they are not in the least daunting. This book is from Miles Kelly, who have a fact-filled website called

Gorilla (Eye on the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

Stunning photos make this a series which will appeal to all animal lovers. This tells the story of a gorilla, from birth to adulthood, in its natural habitat. The photos are by an award-winning American photographer, who specialises in work with newborn animals. The text will show all the aspects of the animal's life including photos of its family. A spread at the back of the book gives further facts about gorillas, plus a useful website. A fascinating account of the life of the gorilla, which gives an excellent insight and helps our understanding of these lovely creatures.

Cheetah (Eye on the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

The story of a cheetah, from birth to adulthood, photographed on location in the wild. Again, the photography is stunning and this will make the book appeal to enthusiasts of all ages. The depiction of the life of these animals will help our understanding and highlight the need to care for these creatures and their habitat. More in the series -  Lion (Eye on the Wild) and Brown Bear (Eye on the Wild)  

Sharks from Parragon Books

Sharks as you have never seen them before! Put on the 3D glasses (included) and these scary creatures will leap off the page at you. THere are also over 50 3D stickers to add to the fun. But this is a carefully thought out book, written with the help of an educational consultant to help children learn to read. It is packed with facts and illustrated with stunning photos. The quiz at the end will help reinforce learning and difficult words are clarified in the glossary.

The Life of Stephen Lawrence by Verna Allette Wilkins

Stephen Lawrence was a bright, athletic, friendly young man with a promising future ahead of him. He lived in south east London with his parents, younger brother and younger sister. On April 22nd 1993, he was brutally murdered while he was waiting for the bus. He was eighteen years old. He didn't know his killers; his killers didn't know him. This is a sensitively written account of a tragedy which drew the attention of everyone. It is factual and down-to-earth and is a good background for children and even for adults.


See Inside Science (An Usborne Flap Book) by Alex Firth and Colin King

Is your child asking 'why?' questions about science? Then this is the book to help them find the answers to basic scientific questions for themselves. Although some of the concepts could be hard to understand, the book explains them in child-friendly yet scientifically accurate language.The stimulating information provides a great basis for further investigation once children have grasped the simply explained concepts in the book. Each double page shows key ideas, including space, energy, atoms and what the future holds. The snippets of information on each flap encourage children to delve deeper. With over 50 embedded flaps to lift, this sturdy board book will provide many hours of happy and informative browsing. And there's lots more to learn at

See Inside Inventions (An Usborne Flap Book) by Alex Firth and Colin King

Famous inventions often come about for strange reasons and this book shows how things were invented, often by chance, such as the sticky burrs on a dog's coat that led to the introduction of velcro.. Lift the flaps (over 60 of them) to reveal intricate drawings which show the hidden workings inside inventions.  Engines, flying machines, electricity and more - all explained in easy-to-understand language. What I like about this series is that the flaps are not just there as a gimic - they really do hide a multitude of information and pictures. Somehow, presenting it in this way makes it much easier for children to assimilate information, as they are not overwhelmed all in one go. Your Head (See Inside) (Usborne See Inside) and How Things Work (See Inside) (Usborne See Inside) and Under the Ground (See Inside) (Usborne See Inside) are other science related books in this excellent and wide ranging series from Usborne Books.

Aerial Earth - Understand Our Weather and How It Affects the Earth by David Orme

An intriguing look into weather and the way in which it affects our earth. The book starts by explaining the difference between climate and weather; it goes on to explain how weather happens and explains various types of weather. Extremes of weather can have a dramatic impact on people and some of these are discussed. Packed with colour photos and attractively laid out with lots of information boxes. The book concludes with some practical suggestions for parents and teachers.

100 People Who Made History - Meet the People Who Shaped the Modern World from Dorling Kindersley

DK do this kind of book so well, and this one is no exception. All types of people, from all eras, and from all around the world meet in this book. The great inventors of the past made the way open for modern inventors, so all have a vital role to play - even if people today may be more familiar with the name of Steve Jobs than that of Johannes Gutenberg. The book includes  discoverers, inventors, thinkers, leaders and creators - an intriguing mix and hopefully the interestingly presented information will encourage further research. The 'They couldn't have done it without...' boxes give due acknowledgement to other great names. Packed with photos, diagrams, illustrations and lots of quirky facts, this is a lovely book to dip into and keep to hand.

Bang! Sound and How We Hear Things (The Real Scientist) by Peter Riley

Children love hands-on science and this series is packed with experiments that can be carried out with everyday objects.Each experiment has clear step-by-step instructions and illustrations, and the sceince that lies behind it is clearly explained. Practical applications make science easier to understand and increases its relevance. Make a bottle xylophone, sound shakers or a band-box guitar. Good for classroom or home use.  Heave! Forces and How They Move Things (The Real Scientist),  Stuff! Materials and How They Change (The Real Scientist), Flash! Light and How We See Things (The Real Scientist) are just a few more titles from this extensive series.

Horses (Pets Plus) by Sally Morgan

Few children are fortunate enough to won their own horse, or even to have the opportunity to go riding, but many more are interested in horses and for all these groups, this book will provide an interesting read. Not only does it look at caring for horses, it also compaes the behaviour of domestic animals to that of their cousins in the wild. Easy to read, with clear colour photography and an appealing visual layout this is an appealing and attractive book.

Hail! Ancient Egyptians by Jen Green

The magazine-style presentation of this series will really capture the attention of even reluctant readers. The information is presented in easily assimilated chunks and laid out just like a magazine, with travel, articles about famous people, cookery - and even a problem page and a TV guide! An unusual approach which will be welcomed by teachers who are looking for a new way to enthuse their pupils. The ideas would be good to use for classroom project work too. The approach may look a little gimicky to some, but all the information is here, presented clearly and authoratively. Well worth a look

 Hail! Tudors by Philip Steele

An exciting way of presenting history with an adventurous feel, this magazine-style series is excellent and really stands out from other books on the same topics. All the features that young people enjoy in magazines are here - quizzes, lonely hearts, celebs, fashion, homes... cleverly thought out; a lot of thought has gone into this presentation. The information is entertainingly presented but there are plenty of facts to support KS2 history studies. A great way to engage reluyctant learners. Lots of pictures and illustrations and good use of colour and layout are well combined to produce an attractive book.

Free Running (Adrenaline Rush) by Jackson Teller

I learnt from this book that Free Running - otherwise called Parkour - is running in an urban environment. It is an increasingly popular sport which makes use of many objects which can be found in the built environment. It can be a dangerous sport, so care must be taken. This series captures the excitement and thrill of sports and activities whose appeal lies in speed and a elementof danger. Illustrated with spectacular photography throughout, each book is packed with information about the activity, breaking it into sections which look at why take part, where it take places, the equipment needed, competitions, etc. The books include ideas on how you get started and make any safety concerns totally clear.

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire! by Jan Payne

Buster Books publish some really unusual and interesting titles, which appeal to all ages. This is especially good for lovers of trivia and quiz enthusiasts. Is truth stranger than fiction?  Read the statements; decide which are fact and which are fiction; turn over and discover the answer. Can it rain frogs and fish? Can jellyfish live forever? Can you make ice cream by rolling a ball around? Read the book to find out! The book is almost worth buying for the quirky illustrations alone! This will appeal to children's sense of fun and give them a wide repertoire of unusual and sometimes gruesome facts. Great fun and a lovely book for a family occasion.

Out of This World: All the Cool Bits About Space by Clive Gifford

Another fact-filled book from Buster Books to dip into, this answers many of the questions children (and adults) have about space.  Starting with the earth and the moon, we travel to the planets and the stars; learn about stargazing and find out how space travel works. All presented in short factual sections, amusingly complemented by Andrew Pindar's quirky cartoon style illustrations. An easy and fun way to learn lots of interesting facts and another good book for families.

North: the Greatest Animal Journey on Earth by  Nick Dowson

Animal migration is a fascinating topic and the incredible accounts of the epic journeys some creatures make have long enthralled us. This is a book rich in pictures which charts the migration north by millions of animals to spend their summer in the snow-melt Arctic, where the sun rarely sets and there are rich sources of food. The poetic language and softly coloured illustrations are enchanting and I think this book is ideal for readers of 7+ who will appreciate its subtlety. The changes in the seasons are beautifully depicted and I was amazed by the number of species who make this journey.

 Charles Dickens by Catherine Wells-Cole

Wonderful! Whether you enjoy the works of Dickens or not, this is a fascinating book. It is packed with period detail, so perfect for those interested in daily life in Victorian England. We learn about Dickens' world and the book is full of insights into the reasons behind the writing of the novels. There are plenty of extracts so hopefully the reader will be encourage to delve further into Dickens' work. Various aspects of Dickens' life are covered chronologically, including his childhood, family life and time in America and brought to life with abundant contemporary illustrations. Lots of flaps to lift, with fascinating snippets of information under each. Beautifully presented, with a wide range of artefacts illustrated, this is a book to treasure and will make a lovely gift.

Using Energy (The Green Team) by Sally Hewitt

The different way in which we use energy are colourfully illustrated in this book in a way that has real relevance to children. Practical activities which are easy to follow are a key part of the book and there are plenty of real life examples. It covers the way energy is used world-wode, giving a global perspective. One in a series of books which encourages children to take direct action to preserve their environment, combat climate change and work towards a sustainable future. The good thing about this series is the way that it demonstrates practical steps children can take to preserve our environment, meaning they can apply what they learn for themselves, not always depend on adults.

Voices and Singing (How the World Makes Music) by Anita Ganeri

The human voice produces wonderful sounds, and the range is explored in this book, which will introduce children to the different ways the human voice is used to produce music around the world. Attractively laid out, with plenty of photos and interesting fact boxes, the book is an excellent addition to a school libary or music room. The series is a colourful and informative introduction to music and musical instruments played around the world.

 Butterflies and Moths (Really Weird Animals) by Clare Hibbert

Children are perenially fascinated by weird and wonderful animals so this series will be popular both at home and in school. In this book, we learn about some strange butterflies and moths from around the world - a butterfly with a wingspan of 15 - 30 cm; butterflies which fly up to 4750 km a year; moths that pupate in a burrow. Brightly coloured backgrounds make the photos and fact boxes stand out and the book is packed with fascinating and little-known facts.

Snakes and Lizards (Really Weird Animals) by Clare Hibbert 

Some people don't like them, but many are fascinated by snakes and lizards and this book shows off these creatures in all their beauty and fascination. Clear close-up ke for easy identification and there are plenty of interesting facts to learn.

Titanic Lost and Saved by Brian Moses

A fascinating read for people of all ages. I found it really interesting and there were lots of artefacts illustrated which I have not seen before. The presentation is outstanding with lovely delicate backgrounds. The book features first-hand accounts with a plethora of original documents, photographs and letters. The book starts with the building of the 'unsinkable' ship and desrribes the luxury aboard.There are stories of heroism on board, from the lifeboats and theories for raising the Titanic. The book concludes by considering lessons that were learnt from this disaster.  

Farming in the Future (Food and Farming) by Ian Graham

It is so important that we all - adults and children - understand where our food comes from and how production can be sustained. Vital questions are addressed - where does food come from? How is it grown and transported? Why are some starving when food is being thrown away? Facts are clearly explained; there are lots of photos and diagrams, plus the key research features of contents, index and gloassary.

Train Driver (Play the Part) by Liz Gogerly

A great way to encourage imaginative play! Perfect as a classroom resource or for any train-mad youngster.  Find out about the train driver and conductor  daily lifeand their. I like the practical activities - make a railway poster, dress like a train driver, make a ticket machine and a driver's control panel. After that, children can set up their own train and enjoy the various role play activities - including 'Snow on the line'. This is one in an excellent series which really develop creativity and imagination.

Sir Francis Drake and His Daring Deeds by Andrew Donkin

This is one in Scholastic Books' perennially popular 'Horribly Famous' series. From the words on the cover - 'Prepare to be bowled over' - you get a good idea of the style of the book! Children love these books, which present history in an entertaining way that can't fail to interest. Whilst enjoying the read, children are also learning a huge amount of history. The book covers Drake's life and gives a good insight into life at the time, making the book an excellent resource for KS2 history. Plenty of amusing illustrations add to both the fun and to the learning. 

 Make A Mummy, Shrink a Head and Other Useful Skills by Pat Murphy

Fascinating! I can see children receiving a copy of this book with great glee! Many of the activities have an Ancient Egyptian theme - always a topic which enthralls children, especially some of the more gruesome aspects - here, the reader can make their very own sarcophagus. As well as these, the young reader can unleash an ancient curse to protect their bedroom from intruders, have an adventure in the jungle, take an exciting journey through a cave and produce their own shrunken head. All the fun of being an explorer, from the safety of your own home! A great way to encourage creativity and imagination.

 Charles Dickens: Oliver Twist and Other Tales That Will Make You Ask For More by Valerie Wilding

I like the way this book intermingles adaptations of the stories with items about Victorian times, for example servants, crime and London life. This means the reader has an insight into the world about which Dickes was writing - so important if we are to get the best from his novels. The stories are retold in a way which will grip the attention of the young reader and there are plenty of entertaining illustrations to increase the fun.

No Return: Captain Scott's Race to the Pole by Peter Gouldthorpe

In the age of discovery, Antarctica remained the last place to conquer. Captain Scott was amongst the pioneers who braved the ice and cruel weather. This is the story of his journey from England culminating in the ill-fated final march to his goal, only to be beaten by the Norwegians and to suffer terrible loss - and death. Stunning full page illustrations capture the drama and hardship perfectly and the detail is full of fascination.

Rainforest (Up Close) by Paul Harrison

Up Close is a high-interest series, particularly aimed at reluctant readers. Accessible texts accompanied by stunning photography and with topics of particular interest to boys, this is an excellent series. Designed for 9 - 11 year olds, the books will also appeal to younger children, who will enjoy the photos and easy text. We all know how important the rainforest is as a habitat and this book enlarges on that in a practical way which will engage children's attention. Packed with fascinating facts that children will love to share with others, it is surprising just how much information is in this book - and there is useful additional reading to follow up.



The USA (Looking at Countries) by Kathleen Pohl

This is a revised and updated version, so you can be sure the information is up to date. Useful additional information, including American words, 'Springboard' which suggests topics for further discussion, a glossary and sources of further information. Attractively 'framed' photographs and colourful fact boxes make the pages attractive and the text is accessible and easy to read. The reader will learn about the geography of the USA and the everyday lives of its people. 

Seaside (Nature Trail) by Jen Green 

Seaside holidays and days on the beach are enduringly popular - the seaside is also studied in KS2 geography, so this practical guide will get plenty of use. The photographs which clearly display the habitats, are an excellent guide to indentification. Packed with facts and enticingky paid out - take this with you on your next seaside trip! Encourage children's awareness of the wonderful world around us with Pond (Nature Trail), Park (Nature Trail)  and Wood (Nature Trail) are the rest of the books in this interesting series.

Street Dance (Master This!) by Emma Torrington 

What better way to encourage children to enjoy reading than by making sure that they have books on contemporary topics which really interest them? Street Dance really gives the reader confidence that he can master the moves and put them topgether to create simple routines. Step-by-step photos make the skills easily achieved by all. A super book for friends to share or as a classroom resource. The biographies of masters of the art will provide further encouragement.

 In the Air (Taking Part in the Second World War) by Ann Kramer

Children in KS2 study World War II, so this series of books is an excellent way for them to gain an insight into the lives of key players of the time. The copious use of resources from the Imperial War Museum really brings the period alive and adds authenticity. Not just the pilots, but the ATA, mechanics, barrage balloon operators, navigators and more, who all went to make up the huge effort that went into winning the war. Fascinating reading!

How Can I Deal With.....Bullying by Sally Hewitt

Bullying can take many forms and this title is designed for children, to show how they can recognise and cope with bullying in all forms. The real-life experiences and the way they were handled are reassuring for children - both to show they are not alone and to help them know where to go for help. A very practical guide. More titles in this thought-provoking series about some of the complex and emotive issues our young people face today - When People Die (How Can I Deal With?) , Racism (How Can I Deal With?), My Step Family? (How Can I Deal With?) and My Parents Divorce (How Can I Deal With?).

A Fierce Lion (Animal Instincts) by Tom Jackson

Follow the lion's life cycle, from birth to finding a mate and old age. Learn about the different aspects of the biology of lionsl: how they sense the world, find their food, reproduce and communicate with each other. Some parts of the text are written in the first-person narrative, allowing children a real insight into the way lions behave and how they grow, learn, move, fight, rest and play.  Stunning photography is a key feature of this book.

 Money Matters by Sean Callery

This is an excellent book to help children understand the meaning and value of money. Sometimes it can seem as though children don't fully appreciate the fact that money is a precious commodity  and doesn't 'grow on trees'! The books discusses the origins of money, the forms of money we use, money round the world, how to make money and how to help others with the money we have. Written in clear language with plenty of illustrations and fact boxes, this is a practical book which would be particularly useful in a school library.

Travel Through France by Linda Pickwell

Children will learn about the history, geography and culture of one of our close neighbours in this book which takes the reader on a tour of France. Excellent for supporting KS2 work in history, geography and citizenship and also a great way to learn about the country before visiting. The book ends with a really interesting set of activities - the first based on developing thinking skills and creativity; the second on promoting different styles of learning. An interesting and novel appraoch which extends the value of the book. This series covers lots of countries including  Travel Through: India and  Travel Through: America.

Changes in Population by Steve Parker 

A very topical and potentially complex subject, explained in a way that makes it easy for children to understand.  We all need to know the impact we, as humans, are having on our fragile environment and how we can help. Attractive layout, with lots of fact boxes and snippets of information which are easily remembered. Children are drawn into the subject and made to think by the use of 'What can I do' boxes. This intriguing series includes amongst its titles Climate (Changes in...) and Animal Habitats (Changes in...)

Hinduism:World of Faiths by Anita Ganeri 

Discover the fascinating world of Hinduism in this colourful book, full of fascinating facts and illustrated throughout. The series covers the six major religions taught as part of the RE syllabus in schools. The key topics children need to know are included - festivals and traditions; art and symbolism; sacred texts and writings. Learning is supported by a series of themed activities, making the books an excellent classroom resource and ideal for teachers doing that all-important planning.


The Vikings: Hands-On History by Fional Macdonald

QED produce such attractive books that children cannot fail to be drawn into the topics covered - and they are excellent value. This book covers all aspects of Viking life and allows children to really visualise how the people lived. There are lots of practical activities to make learning fun and the book is the ideal support for project work. An excellent classroom resource and there are lots of practical tips for parents and teachers. Try these in the same series - Celts (Hands-on History) Ancient Greeks (Hands-on History) and Hands-On History: The Aztecs (QED Hands-on History)

Your Ultimate Pet Guide by Honor Head and Michaela Miller

This would be a good book for a family to buy before choosing a new pet - make sure you all understand exactly what is involved with this guide to caring for animals. It's full of practical advice - from handling and training to feeding and cleaning. With handy hints and fantastic photographs to interest children and adults, this fascinating book really does help understanding of what is involved in pet ownership. There is plenty to think about - you might land up with a pet you had never previously considered! The notes for parents are another practical feature - a book you will refer to over and again.

Charles Dickens: Scenes from an Extraordinary Life by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Another wonderful title from this inspirational duo. The combination of words and pictures in their books is perfectly balanced and the way the speech bubbles take us through the story really keeps interest alive. Charles Dickens had a fascinating life which had many interesting facets beyond his genius as a writer. Children (and adults) will be intrigued to find more about Dickens' life and interests, especially the poverty of his upbringing, which explains so much about the way he wrote. Written in the first person, the book is also a fascinating piece of social history which brings the period to life. We learn about the huge impact Dickens had through his writings - for example, that the writing of Nicholas Nickleby caused many schools to be closed - and the way he brought dire conditions to the public attention. Comic strips introduce us to each of his novels in a succinct but interesting way. An exceptional book.

 Predators: The World's Most Lethal Animals by Steve Backshall

Steve Backshall has become known as a wildlife expert for children through his enormously popular programmes Deadly 60 and Live and Deadly. This would make the perfect gift for nature-loving children - and the ideal way to generate interest in those who have not previously expressed much interest in nature.In an unusual approach, the book is presented by the quality the animal displays - speed, senses, teamwork and more.  Illustrated throughout in full colour and packed with stunning photography, the book records Steve's encounters with all manner of fearsome creatures. Packed with facts, informative and authoritative, this is a fascinating read

Philip Ardagh's Book of Kings, Queens, Emperors and Rotten Wart-Nosed Warriors 

A witty journey through some well-known, little-known and maybe totally unknown aspects of British history. Philip Ardagh brings his trademark amusing approach to history to this new book, which is full of fascinating facts. A good way to interest children in history, if they say 'history is boring' and hopefully they will then go on to find out that history is actually fascinating.

 Do Igloos have Loos? by Mitchell Symons

Do you want the answers to unanswerable questions? Then this series of books by Mitchell Symons is for you! This is the seventh in the series, and I wonder just how many more questions he can dream up! It is a hugely successful series and a great way to encourage reluctant readers. The latest in the series is as good as ever. Have you ever wondered: How do you get out of quicksand? Why does your skin get wrinkly if you stay too long in the bath? Is your right foot really clever? Wonder no more!

I Is For Iran (World Alphabet) by Shirin Adl

Another title in what I think is an exceptionally good series for introducing children to the life and culture of other countries, and increasing understanding of a range of nationalities. Iran is a country of contrasts, where high-rise city buildings stand beside ancient mosques, vast deserts sprawl alongside mountains and forests, and what was once the ancient Persian civilisation is now the oil-rich Islamic Republic of Iran. From Bazaar to Naan, from Chelo-kabab to Rugs, this book celebrates everything Iranians love best about their country. The photographs by Kamyar Adi show us exactly what it is like to live in this fascinating and varied country.

 Follow Your Dreams by Pippa Funnell

Who better to encourage children to 'follow their dreams' than someone who has been as successful as Pippa Funnell? The Three Day Eventing champion and now successful author shares her loves, hates, friends, family and farm with her legions of fans in this interesting book. Attractively presented, with short snippets of information on each page and lots of photos of Pippa going about her life. Learn who helps her, what motivates her and gain inspiration and confidence that we can all succeed in what we set our minds to. A fascinating insight into the life of a determined and passionate - and very successful - person. Perfect for eventing enthusiasts and all fans of Tilly's Pony Tales.

How Cool is This? from Dorling Kindersley 

'An up-close, inside look at how things work'. Nobody does this type of book better than Dorling Kindersley. It takes a fascinating look into some of the wonders of our modern age, and many less modern marvels too. Glowsticks, barcodes, lava lamps, fireworks, thermal imaging, wind turbines..these are just a few of the inventions covered. Each is clearly described, with the science behind it explained and an explanation of how it is used given. Although I have identified the book as being for 7 - 11 year olds, it will appeal to anyone with a curiosity for the world around us. Attractive layout and a multitude of photos and diagrams help us all to appreciate the wonderful discoveries and the world around us.

The Ladybird Book of London by John Lewesdon

A wonderful trip down Memory Lane! I remember this book so well - it was one of my prized books as a child. This is an exact facsimile of the original and it shows us the London of 50 years ago in a marvellous piece of social history. The underground map was particularly interesting - you and your children could have great fun comparing this with the current map.  Famous places are described with a picture on the opposite page and it is fascinating to see the changes have taken place. Find lots more fascinating books and information at How I wish I had kept all my old Ladybird books!

 Look Inside a Castle by Conrad Mason

A typical Usborne book - one of the types of book they do so well. This book has 100 flaps to lift anhd under each one you will find yet more facts to supplement the huge amount of information already on the pages. Not just little flaps either - some hide huge amounts of text! The pictures are full of life and activity - everywhere you look there is more to learn, and the lively characters introduced at the start of the book help to bring these wonderful buildings alive. LEarn about all the exciting events that took place in and around a castle. A lively way of handling the topic, ideal for accompanying a visit to a castle and perfect for KS2 history.

The Usborne Book of Famous Artists by Mark Beech

Just the right amount of information to introduce children to great artists and their masterpieses. We learn about the artist's life and are shown two or more works of art by each. There is a clever timeline wiggling its way along the bottom of each page which puts the work of the artists into the historical context. Usefully, instead of being constrained by the now traditional two page format, some artists are given full coverage by being given 3 or even 4 pages. There is a practical glossary and a very useful section on the creation of the masterpieces, arranged by artist for easy reference. An excellent book for home or school.

Unexplained by Rupert Matthews

This is a fascinating look into the world of unexplained mysteries - Ghosts; Ancient Mysteries; Strange Animals and Disappearances. Each two page spread covers one mystery, including the story, facts and theories and background information - plenty of evidence to let the reader make up his own mind. - true or not? Copiously illustrated and packed with information, this is an attractive book which will interest all age groups. The quality of pictures is excellent and these really add to the value of the book. Here are some more to look out for in the series -  Ghosts and Spirits (Unexplained) and Strange Animals (Unexplained) cover single topics.

How to Make a Universe With 92 Ingredients by Adrian Dingle

What could be a very dry topic - the periodic table - is really made interesting in this fascinating book. Did you know that everything in the entire universe is made from the same 92 ingredients? The way the book is written really engages the reader and draws them into the book and into looking far more closely at the world around us. Full of facts, plenty of hands-on activities, lots of illustrations all combine to make a book which is a great support to KS2 science. 

Humphrey's World of Pets by Betty G Birney 

The lovable hamster turns his attention to telling children how to look after all his friends in this perfect gift book for all pet lovers. In his own inimitable way and with all the fun pictures children have come to expect from his fiction books, Humphrey tells children how to look after a wide range of pets, from cats and dogs to the more unusual such as snakes and frogs. The book will turn into a permanent record of the child's pet as there are lots of sections to fill in and some fun puzzles too. There are some fascinating true stories about pets as well. A great way for children to learn how to care for their pets, presented in a fun way but yet including essential and practical advice.

Titanic and Other Lost Shipwrecks (Lost and Found) by John Malam

The Lost and Found series from QED Publishing takes an in-depth look at some historical topics which really appeal to children, as well as being excellent resources for supporting KS2 history. In fact, adults too will learn a lot from these books as they are written in a way which will appeal to all ages.
The Titanic has long fascinated people and is especially topical a year before the centenary of the tragedy. I like the format - a double page spread on the lost ship, followed by the same on the discovery, giving a rounded and complete picture. Not just the Titanic, but a range of ships- a treasure ship, a cargo ship, a submarine. the King's flagship and a warship.  

Tutankhamun and Other Lost Tombs (Lost and Found) by John Malam

In common with the rest of the series, the book contains a timeline which helps young readers to put the discoveries into context, as well as a glossary and an index. All books in the series have the same format - a double page of 'lost' followed by a double page of 'found' - a satisfying layout. The book also includes King Philip II's tomb, Lord of Spaan's tomb, King Redwald's tomb (maybe!), Liu Sheng's tomb and the Royal Cemetery of Ur - another varied collection to intrigue children.

Pompeii and Other Lost Cities (Lost and Found) by John Malam

Another colourful and lavishly illustrated book. The pages all have atractively coloured backgrounds, include photographs and diagrams, as well as fact boxes and accessible and interesting text. A wide range of lost cities from all around the world is included - as well as Pompeii, there is Amarna, Skara Brae, Machu Picchu, Mohenjo-Baro and Akrotiri. Each book in the series includes a two page introduction which sets the scene. 

The Terracotta Army and Other Lost Tombs (Lost and Found) by John Malam 

The Lost and Found series is a great way to bring history alive for young people. As well as the Terracotta Army, the book includes Treasures of Troy, The Mildenhall Treasure, The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Boscoreale Treasure and the Gold of El Dorado. An excellent series for home and school use.

Local Environment (The Green Team) by Sally Hewitt

This is one title in a series which focuses on how children can help to save our environment - a topic which is of huge interest in schools today. Clearly and attractively presented, it is packed with practical examples, explanations,case studies and plenty of thought-provoking questions. It shows children how they can really make a difference and gives ideas for further research. An excellent book.  Using Water (The Green Team), Using Energy (The Green Team), Reduce and Re-Use (Green Team) and Waste and Recycling (The Green Team)  are more in this topical series.

Egyptians (Children in History) by Fiona Macdonald

Key topics on the Ancient Egyptians, including family life, school and religion  are covered in this book and viewing this from the point of view of children makes it easy for modern-day children to understand the world of the Egyptians. There are activities, a glossary and a timeline all of which extend the value of the book.  I particularly like the layout of this series, with its use of pastel coloured irregular fact boxes and backgrounds, the books present the information really clearly. Covering the key historical periods taught in KS2, this is an excellent series for background information and to help bring history alive for children as they see how children lived in the past. Others include World War II(Children in History)Tudors (Children in History) and Victorians (Children in History).

Ask Pippa by Pippa Funnell

Pippa Funnell has built up a huge following through her success in eventing and also through her popular Tilly's Pony Tales books. This practical book is divided into two main sections - About Horses and About Riding with a smaller section at the end About Pippa, which will thrill her fans. Her answers are all based on her own experience and most questions and answers take just a single page, with practical informative advice on some of the most common questions young riders ask, including why do horses rear and how can you tell what a horse is thinking.

The Comic Strip Big Fat Book of Knowledge by Tracey Turner and Sally Kindberg

A compilation of The Comic Strip History of the World, History of Space and Greatest Greek Myths, this is excellent value. It has appeal for all age groups, who will be entertained by the comic strip cartoons, packed with information - some of it quite obscure (and none the worse for that). The single editions were really well received by a 9 year old boy of my acquaintance, who found them really enthralling, so this book will be well received and very popular. It's an easy and enjoyable way to extend knowledge of  subject. 

Survive-o-pedia by David Borgenicht and others

The book you hope you will never need! How to survive tsunamis, sharks, lightning strikes, earthquakes, airplame crashes and 65 other hair-raising scenarios. There are plenty of scenarios that you may well encounter, so make sure you read the practical advice. Cartoons, diagrams, photos and fact boxes all combine to make this an attractive book, perfect for dipping into, in the now common two page per topic format.Not a book for the faint-hearted, I recommend you read this entertaining book in the security of your own home! This is a deluxe edition (with a lovely golden cover) of the Worst-case Junior series.

RHS How Does My Garden Grow? 

As  a keen gardener myself, I love to see books which encourage children to get out and get involved in gardening. The great thing about this book is that you don't even need a garden - all the plants featured can be grown in containers. First, children are encouraged to grow the plants, with clear step-by-step instructions and lots of photos. Then interest is extended with a wide variety of projects, such as growing your own loofah or making paper out of sweetcorn. Growing plants for food is complemented by easy to follow recipes and there are lots of craft activities. There are three more books in this super series -  Grow It, Eat It, RHS Ready, Steady, Grow! and RHS Wildlife Garden Together, they are a great way to get children interested in plants and gardening - and the results of them.

What Do You Believe? from Dorling Kindersley

A thought-provoking book. Ever since there have been people on earth, those people have needed to have someone (or something) in which to believe. Starting from the earliest times, the book then discusses today's major religions. It goes far beyond the 6 major religions and includes topics such as spirituality and atheism. All are covered impartially and in good depth. Next we learn about beliefs in action, with interesting insights about what actually takes place, and why, giving the reader a greater understanding of the faiths of others. Finally, the search for answers is discussed. Many different ways of conveying the information are used, with short snippets under clear headings, all well laid out with excellent use of colour and illustrations. Clear, unbiased and just enough detail, this is a very readable book.

Science Experiments by Robert Winston

There are many hours of learning fun in this cram-packed book. It is perfect to support KS2 science and will bring to life what can be a dry subject - by carrying out the experiments, children will really remember and understand what they have learnt. There are five sections which are clearly divided by colour - the material world, forces and motion, energy in action, electricity and magnetism and the natural world. Each experiment has clear step-by-step instructions, list of resources needed, plenty of pictures and the all-important explanation as to the science behind the experiment. You don't need lots of equipment - the experiments are practical and use things every home has.Usefully, difficulty level and time required are included. Here are some of the things children can make - a steam propelled boat, a balloon hovercraft and a metal detector. This is a book to which children will return over and over again. You can't beat hands-on science!



Robots, Chips and Techno Stuff by Glenn Murphy

The world of technology is a fascinating one, and one which seems almost full of impossibilities. This book is full of fascinating facts - about computers, mobile phones, electronic entertainment, the internet and robots. A perfect book for dipping into and children will love to amaze adults with the facts they have learnt. There are some fun puzzles too.

Think About It from Dorling Kindersley

A fascinating book! It poses questions you have never even thought of, as well as answering many questions we all have. Here are some interesting ones - 'So, who wears the trousers?', 'Why am I unique?', 'Can I believe my eyes?' or 'Can you step in the same river twice?'. And here are some questions we have all heard -  'Do I need to do maths homework?', 'What is the meaning of life?' and 'Why do people go to war?'. Each is discussed in a cartoon sytyle format, on a double page spread with plenty of fact boxes. A super book to dip into, and a great way to start a discussion, perhaps in the classroom. Beautifully presented, this is really fun to read and may encourage some reluctant readers.

Zoom! The Invisible World of Ocean Life by Camilla de la Bedoyere

I was delighted when QED Books approached me to review some of their books. They have a huge range which, until recently, have only been marketed to schools and libraries and by direct selling so it is wonderful to see their fantastic range available to everyone. See their books at
The oceans are marvellous places yet we know so little about them. Marvel in the beauties that unfold in the stunning close-up photography in this fascinating book, which zooms in to show the detail behind the bigger photos. I like the inclusion of a paperclip in the pictures so we get an idea of the actual size. Double page spreads are full of colour and packed with information. An encouragement to us all to do all we can to protect our oceans. Enjoy the picture quiz at the end to test your observational skills.

 Bubbling Biology by Steve Parker

Colourful pages with information boxes, fascinating facts, photos and cartoons draw you through this interesting book. Hands-on science is the best way to learn and there are lots of activities to try out too - growing seeds, optical illusions, reflexes and much more. A useful glossary and index, plus a list of relevant websites complete this practical and entertaining book. Here are the rest of the series - Fizzing Physics (Science Crackers), Crackling Chemistry (Science Crackers) and Awesome Astronomy (Science Crackers) - a marvellous and inspiring way to support KS2 science and have fun at the same time.

 Wildlife Watcher by Terry Jennings

The edition I was sent for review comes in a very neat clear soft plastic zipped pouch - ideal for taking on those expeditions! The book is divided into four sections - bugs, birds, small mammals and plants and each starts with an introduction to the species and includes advice on how to spot and record them. It is more than a field guide though - there is plenty of useful information to support school science studies. The book is attractively laid out, with plenty of pictures to aid identification, fact boxes and questions - plenty to stimulate the interest. Words in bold are explained in the comprehensive glossary. An ideal starter book to enthuse youngsters about nature and to encourage them to make sure we protect our environment.

 Shape by Zoe Miller and David Goodman

This title carries books on shape to a whole new dimension. Far removed from the simple first books on shapewith which we are familiar, this is full of fascinating detail and shows the excitement of exploring shape. 'Everything has a shape...' and we are shown lots of circles, ovals and triangles as we explore deeper into this enthralling book. Have fun with tangrams and symmetry, explore the textures on the pages, revel in the detail of the illustrations and generally just enjoy! Who would have be,lieved shapes could be so much fun and so inspirational? Readers of all ages will take away all sorts of ideas.

Children's Book of Sport from Dorling Kindersley

Just as you would expect from Dorling Kindersley, this is a top quality book and if it hadn't been called 'Children's' I would have happily accepted it as an adult book. Yes, the language is totally appropriate to children but I think many adults would enjoy learning the basics of many sports as presented here. There is just enough information to whet the appetite and to ensure a basic knowledge when watching sport. Divided into sections such as team sports, combat sports and wheels and motors, each sport is covered in a two page spread. There are lots of less-common sports included too. Packed with colour pictures (and some exceptional action photography), useful diagrams and explanations on rules, tactics and techniques, this is all you need. Finally, a section on the Olympics makes this a super book to give as a gift in the period leading up to the Games. A winner!

Bad Kids by Tony Robinson 

Tony Robinson's love for history is infectious and comes over brilliantly in this fascinating book. Just right to give to children (especially boys) who claim that history is boring, this is full of dastardly crimes- some of which you'd never have thought were crimes! And did you know that gangs of medieval hoodies were even more scary than those of today? Just one of the facts that children will love to relate. Packed with cartoons and contemporary illustrations and really fun to read, children will absorb lots of history (going back to Ancient Iraq and right up to modern times) without even trying. The presentation is attractive - heavy, glossy paper and good quality illustrations enhance the enjoyment of the book.

Boy Talk: A Survival Guide to Growing Up by Caroline Plaisted

For boys of 9+, this book offers a sensitive approach to many of the questions boys would like answered, but are often too embarrassed to ask. Of course, no book can take the place of talking to your children, but this offers an excellent starting point for discussion. Practical advice, split across lots of information boxes which make this an approachable read. Presented in an ideal format for boys,full of bright colours, there are lots of cartoon style illustrations with an element of humour. Also available -  Girl Talk (Growing up).

Bugs: Sounds of the Wild by Maurice Pledger

The illustrations in this book are superb - the detail is phenomenal and there is just so much to look at. The beautifully constructed paper engineering ensures that the creatures from five different habitats really jump out at you. All brought to life by the sound chip which gives you all the different insect sounds as you open each page - clever! Packed with information too -  each of the five double page spreads is explained in great detail on a saparate page, with a key to identification. Writing about it can't do this book justice - do take a look at a copy. It is a book to treasure.

The Picture History of Great Buildings by Gillian Clements

This really is an excellent book, which will appeal to both children and adults. Starting with the earliest buidlings, such as the Step Pyramid and the Parthenon, it brings us right up to date with the discussion of eco-friendly and sustainable buildings. Prages on individual buildings are interspersed with general (and fascinating) articles about different periods and architectural styles.Detailed illustrations and maps form an important and attractive part of the book. There is a comprehensive glossary, which is excellent for those who want to gain a basic understanding of architecture. The timeline which runs right through the book is excellent for putting buildings into context, for learning what else was going on at the same time and gaining insight into society through the ages.

 Isaac Newton and his Falling Apple by Kjartan Poskitt

This is a great mix of fact and fun and a good way to encourage reluctant readers (particularly boys, who often prefer non fiction) to explore the world of books. Isaac Newton is a fascinating character and, of course, he is a key figure in scientific discovery. All the familiar facts are here, but there are also things you may not have known - that Isaac was bottom of the class, for example. This book is very easy to read, either to dip in and out or to read almost like a novel. I was amazed at the huge amount of information that is here. Copiously illustrated with diagrams, pictures and comic strips this is an excellent resource for studying Isaac Newton; for enhancing knowledge of science; for those learning about the Stuarts and simply as a great fun read.

How to Make Stonehenge out of Biscuits by Tracey Turner

Scholastic create some wonderful series for children, and this new series - Bonkers Books is just as much fun as its predecessors. 366 bonkers things to do (yes, even if it's a Leap Year). THere are plenty of weird facts - have you heard of World Zombie Day and International Polar Bear Day?  Despite being fun, there are also genuine learning opportunities - try the suggestions for writing a horror story, or the Kings and Queens Quiz. A fun  classroom resource - teachers can amaze the class with a new fact every day. The range of facts is huge, there is something here for everyone, all complemented by plenty of fun illustrations. This would be a super book to give as a present at the start of a school holiday to keep children entertained for hours.


 Wonders of the Ancient Worlds by Rod Green

There are some books which it is a real pleasure simply to hold and browse through and this series from Templar Books - The True History Revealed -  - falls firmly into that category. This is the diary of Darius Antonopoulos' 1607 journey to find the Seven Wonders of the World. You really feel as though your are with him on his jpourneying and there is a huge amount of information packed into this small volume. Beautifully presented, with card pages, intriguing glittery flaps to lift  and intricately detailed illustrations. There are even some mini books and a fold-out map at the end so you can trace his journey. Find out what people used to bring home as holiday souvenirs! A truly attractive book.

 The Magic of Unicorns by Rod Green

Another lovely book in The True History Revealed series.  The purple and silver cover, with its delightful picture of a unicorn hints at the attractiveness of the inside of this book. This is the account of the research of Professor Miriam Carter, who set out to prove that unicorns are alive and living in secret. It was discovered after her mysterious disappearance in 1935 following her final lecture on unicorns. Now it's your chance to find out if these creatures really exist as you follow the evidence in fact-filled pages, beautifully and delicately illustrated, with flaps to explore and mini-books to read. A beautifully produced book, which is one to treasure.


Elizabeth I by Meg Harper

As a school librarian, I was always on the lookout for good quality biographies, aimed at 7 to 11 year olds. This series, Lives in Action (A&C Black), is exactly what I was looking for. All the key facts are here, written in a narrative style which makes for a good read.
We all know the key facts about Elizabeth I but this book brings them to life in anecdotal form, making is easy to absorb the information. It presents a snapshot of key events in her life, from the time her very life was in danger before she came to the throne, right up to her death - out-living the two women who would have had her put to death. A detailed index ensures that those looking for specific information can find it easily and the maps and family tree are useful supporting information.

 Christopher Columbus by Martin Howard

This book brings to life an intrepid explorer who completely changed the world as it was known. We all know about his discovery of America, but this narrative portrays a pirate and mercenary, who was driven by his need for wealth and power. An excellent classroom and library resource, the value of this series extends across the curriculum and covers key topics in KS2 history in a reader-friendly form. The story tells how Columbus wanted to go to sea right from a young boy, of his first voyage and then of his wonderful expeditions.  A lively telling, which brings the explorer to life and will help children visualise the period.

 This is My Planet; a Guide to Global Warming by Jan Thornhill

We all have our part to play in ensuring the earth remains a wonderful place to live in, and this thoughtful book shows what is happening in terms of global warming and how we can all do our  bit to help. We are shown clearly how one seemingly small action (such as the use of DDT in Borneo) can have a knock-on effect in all sorts of ways. The book is divided into sections - the Polar regions, oceans, land and people and then into two page spreads with a manageable and approachable amount of detail, mainly presented in  small blocks. The bold use of colour (and lots of red) highlights the urgency of what we are learning. The text flows and the reader is really made to appreciate the importance of acting now

Geeta's Day by Prodeepta Das

The Child's Day series from Frances Lincoln is an excellent way for children to learn about other cultures and covers many countries from all around the world. Geeta lives in an Indian Plains village, which is evocatively portrayed in Prodeepta Das' beautiful photography. Join Geeta and her family and follow them throughout the day - ask your child to discuss what is the same and what differs from their lives, and use the photos as well as the text to do this. The book is really attractively set out and designed and a pleasure to read.

To The Top End - Our Trip Across Australia by Roland Harvey

Australia is a fascinating country and this book records a trip from the bottom (Tasmania) right to the top. Share the family's adventures through the wonderful illustrations in this book, which give fantastic and fascinating details - there is so much to spot, look at, learn and share.The text, with descriptive language flows around the pictures, giving just enough explanation for you to know what you are looking at. The endpapers are maps of the journey and are full of humour. Plenty to interest all the family - I am looking forward to passing this on to young friends who have family in Australia - I know they will love it.

Human Body: a Book with Guts! by Dan Green

This is a novel approach which will really appeal to children and help them to learn essential facts in a fun way. It is an excellent introduction to the human body and the wonderful way in which all the parts work together to form a harmonious whole. The book asks us to 'Imagine your body as a crowd of dynamic characters, each with its own personality.' An interesting approach to the topic, which is largely broken down into approachable 2 page spreads with humorous illustrations to accompany each. Full of facts and plenty of humour, I can see children loving this book and absorbing lots of information without realising it. Great fun whilst providing excellent learning.

 Animals Under the Sea by Anthony Lewis

Lift the flap books are always popular with children as they add another dimension to learning. This one has over 50 flaps to keep children interested, with lots of information on the reverse of each flap. A well-produced and durable book with strong card pages, this will get plenty of use. Divided into habitats, such as the open sea, rocky pools and coral, this gives an excellent picture of the creatures and plants found in each place. Lots of interesting facts (many out-of-the-ordinary), detail-packed illustrations and a useful glossary make this an excellent book to extend children's knowlegde and help them realise the importance of these varied habitats. I think adults will learn new things too!

Look Inside Science by Minna Lacey

In common with all Usborne titles, this book is cram-packed with information, presented clearly and informatively. Children will have great fun searching out all the flaps (over 110 of them!) and finding the entertaining pictures hidden beneath them. There is just the right blend of information and pictures, with odd snippets of humour along the way to keep the attention.  The book is split into 7 main topics, plus an introduction explaining 'What is science?'. Materials, plants & trees, your body, light, sound, forces and earth & space - all the science studied at KS2 and an ideal book for revision of key facts. THere are practical activities too, such as how to grow a bean plant. This is a super introduction to science and a great way to get children involved.


See Inside Rubbish and Recycling by Alex Frith

This is a really important topic and it is essential that our children understand the issues involved and how they can play their part. This book takes a comprehensive look at what happens to the horrifying amount of rubbish which is produced, but does so in an approachable and interesting way. From what happens when we throw rubbish away and how it is collected right through to how it is recycled, the amount of detail in the book is amazing. There is lots on each page, with much more hidden under the flaps. The double page spread (with flaps underneath too) on a Materials recovery Factory is fascinating - I learnt a lot! Peter Allen's illustrations repay very close observation to make sure you miss nothing - including the plentiful touches of humour. This book will be a great help for topic work. Don't miss the rubbish facts at the end!

 The Boys' Handbook by Martin Oliver

The publisher describes this book as 'the ultimate handbook no boy should be without' and it is certainly full of fascinating information. The perfect book for dipping into, it covers a huge range of topics, ranging from how to address an audience to how to load a dishwasher to how to avoid travel sickness. The publishers have ensured each topic is covered fully by avoiding the pitfall of fitting each topic into a single page. Where needed, topics cover two pages, ensuring they are fully covered. There is advice here to cover all sorts of emergencies so it is an excellent book to have. Facts are presented in an entertaining way so lots of useful knowledge will be picked up and remembered.

 The Girls' Handbook by Alexandra Johnson

Like its companion Boys' Handbook, this is a fascinating mix of well-known and lesser-known facts. Covering some of the same ground, this is another interesting read and again great fun to dip into. Girls can learn how to catch a spider, how to stop hiccups and how to cope if lost among a plethora of other useful information. These are very practical books and plenty of line drawings ensure topics are explained clearly. Learn lots of new skills and pick up useful tips with these interesting books.

 Spud Goes Green by Giles Thaxton

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It takes a really important and topical theme and makes a really entertaining read whilst highlighting some really important issues. I learnt lots of ways to become more 'green' and children will learn readily from this book which does not preach to them. instead, it makes being 'green' a fun challenge. Follow Spud's hilarious adventures during a year in which he becomes as green as possible - with the vital help of his friend Adi. Did you know you could heat up water for a shower just by the heat of the sun...make a bird box from a milk carton...use grass to dye a t-shirt? A really witty book, which will have children laughing aloud, and then deciding to take this recycling lark seriously. This book well deserves the many prizes it has won. In many ways it is a fiction book - it reads as easily as a story but I chose to put it with non fiction for the wealth of facts it includes.

 I Love Baby Animals by Steve Parker

Learn how members of the animal kingdom care for their babies. A brightly coloured book with a double page spread covering many of the most popular animal babies  - giant pandas, baby otters and kangaroos among many others. Attractively laid out with just the right amount of simple text, and information boxes full of fascinating snippets, this is the perfect book for young animal lovers. The illustrations are beautifully detailed and contain plenty for discussion. More in the series on the Miles Kelly website. 

100 Facts on Archaeology by John Farndon

This book is full of fascinating facts about archaeology, all richly illustrated to bring the topic to life. Some are well known and some lesser known so here is a good chance for your children tp pick up interesting snippets to share with adults and other children. Each double page spread focuses on a specific topic, so the layout makes this book ideal for both supporting topic work and for dipping into. Practical ideas, such as dating a tree by counting the rings, give a practical take to interest children further. Factboxes and quizzes add to the interest value of the bookArchaeology is a fascinating subject and this book is great for fostering children's interest. Facts for Projects is a fascinating associated website full of useful information - well worth a look. 

More in the series on the Miles Kelly website. 

 Horrid Henry's Bodies - A Horrid Factbook by Francesca Simon

This book is great fun and will have instant appeal to children with its wonderful collection of gruesome facts about bodies - human and others. Any book bearing the name Horrid Henry is guaranteed a good reception and children will not be disappointed. The book starts off with 'Foul Facts' and continues with such delights as 'Skin, Scales and Scabs', 'Horribly Hairy Facts' and 'Crazy Creepy-Crawlies'. Packed with grisly details that children will just love to relate to make you squirm, all set off with Tony Ross' entertaining illustrations, this book can't fail. Give it to your child at your peril! See the trailer here.


 Avoid being in the Great Fire of London! by Jim Pipe

The Danger Zone - places you should avoid at all costs! This series is perfectly designed to link with KS2 history and is guaranteed to appeal to the ghoul in children, and is especially good for boys, who sometimes prefer non-fiction. Don't be deceived, though. The whole series is packed full of valuable information which will really bring history to life for children. Presented in colourfully illustrated double page spreads, these books contain the perfect balance of information, entertainment and visual stimulation. Look out for the whole series.

The Top Ten Worst Creepy Mysteries 

This is another series from Salariya Books which will have instant appeal to children, and again especially boys. As the book says, mysteries challenge the mind and we love to try to solve them. Of the 10 famous mysteries in this book, some have been solved but some remain to be solved - perhaps one of the readers of this book will be the one to solve one of these mysteries. Packed full of fascinating, and sometimes gruesome, facts, this book is beautifully presented and the illustrations are really eye-catching. Find out more about the Marie Celeste, the Mummy's curse, the Giants of Easter Island and more in this fascinating book.

 A Nineteenth Century Railway Station by Fiona Macdonald

As children in KS2 study the Victorians, this book will be a valued insight into one of the great developments of the era. It is packed with information, with each topic presented in a double page spread. Copiously illustrated and beautifully presented, this book is a real pleasure to read. Discover everything you could want to know about Victorian stations, in  very accessible format and find out about the significant effects of the railways on Victorian life and the shaping of the modern world. Encourage your child to use the index and contents page to develop their research skills. Look out for more in the series 'Spectacular Visual Guides' from The Book House.

 Sharks by Miranda Smith

Share the world of these awesome and sometimes misjudged creatures. Find out about their behaviour, habitats and the variety of sharks. Find out how sharks breathe, swim, communicate and catch their prey. The book is divided into three chapters - Meet the Shark; Shark Attack and Sharks and People. Eachhas a useful summary at the end. Full of information, clearly and colourfully laid out, this book contins everything children (and even adults) need to know about sharks. But if you want to know more, each chapter includes a useful list of links and web reources.

 Bumblebee by J V Wilson

Bumblebee numbers are in dramatic decline, with consequent impact on our countryside. It is vital that their plight is brought to everyone's awareness and this beautiful book is an excellent way of achieving this. Follow the life of the bumblebee queen through the year as she starts by collecting food and pollinating plants (a vital part of her role). She lays her eggs and we follow the busy bees through the summer and along the way, meet many of the creatures they come across. Adrienne Kellaway's beautifully detailed soft illustrations and the flowing text make this a lovely book to read and share. The book ends with a page on how we can all help bumblebees - we should all take note!

 The Usborne Art Colouring Book by Rosie Dickins

This is a book full of inspiration for budding artists! 15 famous paintings are illustrated in full colour, with a brief description - the paintings chosen cover a wide range, including Avercamp, Van Gogh and Klee therefore giving children a good introduction to a range of artists. Alongside each work of art is a black and white copy - some with coloured parts; each contains instructions on how to colour, using a suitable medium. Children's creativity is really encouraged through this book. This is great fun and I am very tempted to try it myself! Finally, children can enjoy sticking in the stickers. A lovely innovative and unusual book from Usborne.

 Monkeys by Lucy Bowman

This is an excellent introduction for children and a good example of an easy-to-use non-fiction book. It is a good way to encourage your child to learn to do their own research, by using the clearly laid out Contents, Glossary and Index pages and the links to carefully selected websites. The text is clear and simple but packed with information that children will love. How monkeys communicate; what they eat and where they live, among other topics. Each topic is covered on a double page spread. This is complemented well by the abundant illustrations. This is one of over 50 titles in the Beginners Series by Usborne Books - you can find them all here.

The Boys' Annual 2011

This up-to-date version of the classic annual is packed full of fun for boys. Stories, things to make, skills to show off and impress their friends, quizzes, facts and puzzles combine to make this book excellent. The Gross History facts will enthrall boys and give them some grisly facts to share with their friends, and the Spy Files will make it fun to share secret messages with friends. Find out how to build a snow hole and keep safe. Traditional fun for boys but presented in a way that will appeal to today's market. A great book for dipping into.
Also available, and just as much fun, is The Girls' Annual 2011

 Dinosaur Doodles by Andrew Pinder

A perfect book for all the dinosaur fans out there! This is a colouring book with a difference and the perfect way to encourage creativity. Plenty of interesting, and often little-known, facts about dinosaurs to extend knowledge. Do you know who had the smallest brain of the dinosaurs? These facts are combined with inspiring ideas for doodling on every page, starting with designing a T-shirt and ranging through designing armour to filling the sea with ammonites. Fascinating! And if this isn't enough, take a look at

How to Draw Animals by Michael Garton 

Learn how to draw animals and then apply your new-found skills to creating scenes including the animals. This book is a joy to use - no need for a separate drawing pad, just enjoy drawing straight onto the high-quality paper used in the book. There are detailed, step-by-step, instructions on how to create each animal, based on simple shapes, which will give every child confidence that they CAN do it. Each page of instructions is followed by pages giving ideas and outlines of scenes to draw and colour. Children today need encouragement to be creative and to be given alternatives to electronic games so this book really fills a need. 160 pages of drawings make this inspirational book excellent value for money.


This is the mountain by Miriam Moss 

This book is a celebration of Mount Kilimanjaro. It helps children to understand its importance for the huge variety of wildlife living within its shadow, on its slopes and high on its peak. As we ascend the mountain with the writer, we share in the increasing bleakness. Written almost in poetry, this is the perfect introduction to a rich and varied mountain wilderness.  Adrienne Kennaway's detailed and vivid illustrations show the wildlife that depends on the mountain for food and shelter. An information section provides more detailed background. This book is an excellent way to increase children's awareness of the natural environment.

Taff in the WAAF by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Mick Manning's  mother, Taff, joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force in World War II, and this family link adds a lovely personal touch to the book. From the outbreak of war, we follow Taff as she works in  a shop, for the Ministry of Food and then joins the WAAF. She trained as a wireless operator and worked with the code breakers at Bletchley Park. This work was so secret that it is only now we are learning about it - and fascinating stories they are, too. When asked what she did, all she replied was 'I'm just Taff in the WAAF'. The illustrations vividly capture life of 'ordinary' people during the War and give us an excellent picture of how life was 'behind the scenes'. Other essential jobs done by women during the war are also investigated, and the use of artefacts and documents from the time make this an excellent resource for KS2 history.

 See Inside the Middle Ages by Rob Lloyd Jones and David Hancock

This is one in the super series of Usborne Flap Books. They are an exceptional way to get children really involved in history. Even without the flaps, each page is crammed with detail, always presented in a clear and concise way that children will find easy to remember. Add to that the wealth of information under every flap and you can really get inside life in smelly, bustling medieval times. From town, through castle, monastery, village life, the cathedral and an attack on a castle, many apects of life in the Middle Ages are covered. All presented with a touch of humour and the final touch is a little book about castles hidden in the back flap. As ever with Usborne, a beautifully presented book and great fun.


Look Inside Roman Town by Conrad Mason and Alfredo Belli

Usborne really know how to appeal to their market and this colourful book is no exception. It is crammed with information as you are taken through a day in the life of the wealthy Flavius family. They live in a town called Nova Urbis (get it? -  New Town) and you can explore life there through the eyes of the family. There are over 100 flaps to lift, and the clever thing is that some give you things to look for in the lively illustrations. For example, can you find the things on Agathon's shopping list? Visit the farm, the market, the school, the chariot races and much more and explore all the wonderful surprises under the flaps. The detail in this book is phenomenal and the book will give your child hours of fun.

 Deadly peril and how to avoid it by Tracey Turner

This is not a book for the faint-hearted! Did you know that, if you're going to have an accident, the most likely place is at home! So find out how to get dressed safely, what not to eat from the garden and how to avoid botulism. But be reassured by the peril rating given to each danger and knowing where the dangers occur. A fun read for all ages but I hope for your sake you don't encounter too many of the deadly perils! I didn't realise our world was such a dangerous place.

 The comic strip history of the world by SallyKindberg and Tracey Turner

The comic book format is a particular hit with boys, and I have personally seen the enthusiasm of a nine year old boy for this series. The entire history of the world covered in 83 pages - a real achievement. The illustrations are great fun and there is just the right amount of text to keep the attention - and each page cleverly links to the next, so you are always drawn on. Hopefully, this will engender enough interest in the topics for readers to want to find out more.

The comic strip history of space by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner

Another fun book in this super series. I learnt a lot from this book, although you need to take some of it with a pinch of salt. Rad badgers indeed! Find out about the unusual animals who have been into space and about the hsitory of space exploration going right back to the discoveries of the earliest astronomers. There is a great deal of information contained in the two-colour comic strip illustrations and speech bubbles  -definiitely a good book to get children interested inspace. 

Who's Who in WW2 by Alison Hawes 

This book is one in the White Wolves series by A&C Black. The differentiated texts make these books accessible for all readers and they are ideal support for KS2 history. The mix of people featured in this book makes it really interesting reading - plenty of people we all know about but many stories of lesser-known heroes too. The snippets of information are fascinating and are an excellent way to encourage children to have a desire to find out more. The timelines at the bottom of each page help to put each person and their actions into context - a concept children can find hard to grasp, so this is a really valuable feature.

 WW2 Survival tips by Louise Spilsbury

Find out how to protect yourself in wartime! This book will be a brilliant support to practical studies of the Second World War. It really brings to life for children the dangers experienced, not just by miltiary personnel, but by civilians. The fact that much of the book is written in the present tense is a clever device, because it really draws the reader in and makes you feel you are actually living through the experiences. This is an excellent book for bringing home the reality and hardship of war on a really practical level without scare-mongering. Full of fascinating facts too - did you know you can make carrot fudge, or why people shared their bathwater?

What's going on in WW2? by Paul Mason

Read the news that made the headlines during  World War II. The book takes you right through the events as they happened - from the invasion of Poland to the surrender of Japan. This exrensively illustraed book really succeeds in bringing history to life and makes you feel a part of it. The comprehensive glossary at the end ensures a full understanding of all the events. This is another title in the White Wolves series - look out for other exciting titles in this excellent series, such as The Science behind Stuff and Rainforest Rough Guide

Dinosaurs galore by Masayuki Sebe

What a wonderful book! Each brilliantly coloured double page spread includes a different type of puzzle, all based on pictures of dinosaurs. This book really draws you in and makes you want to solve every puzzle - spot the difference, find the dinosaurs, crack the code...... Great fun for everyone and good to do with your child  - who will probably spot the answers before you! But don't worry - the answers are here too.

Make and do science by Roger Priddy

Let your child experience the magic of science with this super activity book from Priddy Books. it is a really practical book, from the clever idea of a fold-out easel format, through wipe-clean pages and onto really clear and well-explained experiments. All this is supported by the science behind the experiment, so your child learns why things do the things they do. There are enough ideas here to keep children occupied for many hours and all the materials are things that will already be in the house, so you won't get caught out! A really practical and well thought-out book. Look out for Make and Do: Craft">'Craft' and 'Make and Do Cook">Cook' in the same series.

 The Blitz - a very peculiar history by David Arscott

This book is one in a super series from The Book House and is beautifully presented. The mix of text, contemporary illustrations and cartoons means the information is split into easily digestible and fun sections. Find out what is was like being an evacuee; how children improvised toys; what they ate - and why it was really hard to find your way around the countryside. An excellent book to introduce children to life in the Blitz and also to bring back memories for those who lived through it.

The top 10 worst killer animals by Fiona Macdonald

You really would not like to meet these animals! Learn about them in safety through the pages of this beautifully presented book. Interesting facts about each of these creatures are presented in an entertaining way guaranteed to capture children's attention. Do you know which is Africa's most dangerous animal, or how to protect yourself from jellyfish? The answers are right here...........but children might like a bit of reassurance from Mum or Dad whilst reading this book! Look out for lots more in the series, including Pirates and Egyptian mummies.

Michelle Obama - the making of a First Lady by Dawne Allette

This book shows how nothing in Michelle Obama's early life could have ever led her to believe she would become America's First Lady. Froma working class background in Chicago, she has become an inetrnational icon. The 'Fact Files' split up the text and make the information readily accessible. The section of equality of opportunity gives an enlightening insight into the ways in which equality has been achieved. 



 How a tadpole turns into a frog by David Stewart

This is a favourite topic for Foundation Stage and KS1 topics, so this brightly coloured book will be a great addition to the school library and children's own collections. All the key facts are here, presented in a memorably visual way. Look closer into the world of a pond with the help of the suggested project, and keep a frog diary for the year. The clear contents page and index are a great aid in teaching children how to use books and are excellent for reinforcing and encouraging learning and research. Look out for others in the series, too.

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