Book reviews - non fiction ages 7-11 (page 3)

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

The Book for Clever Kids from Buster Books

This is an absolutely fascinating book which has plenty to engage adults as well as children - great as part of a family library for everyone to dip into. Brimful of fascinating facts that will astound and amaze, this irreverent but intelligent guide to the weird, wild and wonderful explores the bizarre truth about the world around us, and is the essential companion for clever and curious kids. It's full of talking points and you're bound to learn lots of new things to amuse and amaze friends and family. Hugely wide-ranging, topics include Roman banquets, real-life pirates, making a balloon sword, the history of skateboarding... you need a copy of the book to find out what else! It's a great way to learn too and much of the information will be helpful for school topics and homework.

How Do Astronauts Wee in Space? (Dr. Dino's Learnatorium)

I foresee that this new series from Dino Books, the children's imprint from John Blake Publishing, will find lots of enthusiastic readers. These are just the sorts of facts that children love to learn, and to use to entertain and inform their adults. They will learn that ...humans have sent jellyfish into space... that there is a planet made of ice that's on fire. They will find out why space smells like raspberries and when a sheep and a rooster were sent up to the skies. This book is packed with the wildest, weirdest, funniest, filthiest. Just what children enjoy!love!

Do Dinosaurs Make Good Pets? (Dr. Dino's Learnatorium)

For children whose interests lie with the great extinct creatures of the past, this book will provide them with plenty of fascinating and little-known facts. Among a plethora of other facts, they will learn that the stegosaurus had a brain the size of a walnut, and that there used to be scorpions that grew to over two metres in length? They will learn about the prehistoric animals dinosaurs used to be afraid of, feathered dinosaurs, giant millipedes and flying giraffes! Fascinating facts and a good way to encourage children to read and learn that books can be great fun.

How Many Greeks Can You Fit Inside a Horse? (Dr. Dino's Learnatorium)

This book is perfect for children who find ancient history fascinating - and to encourage others to take an interest. Children in KS2 will learn about the Ancient Greeks - now they can amaze their teachers and their classmates with their knowledge! Books like this are, of course, really enjoyable to read, but they are also a valuable way of encouraging an interest in books and a good way to learn about facts in a light-hearted but accurate and informative way. Each of the books in the series has plenty of line drawings as well as fact boxes. Great fun.

Toby and the Ice Giants by Joe Lillington

Toby the bison is your unusual and engaging guide through the world of the Ice Age Tundra. 10,000 years ago, the Earth was in the grips of what palaeontologists call The Last Glacial Period (that we now call the Ice Age). The inhabitants of this frozen landscape lived in some of the coldest conditions the earth has ever experienced, but they, just like Toby, were once young and inquisitive. Atmospheric and detailed illustrations coupled with informative text deliver digestible facts about the Earth’s historic inhabitants. Share in Toby’s lively curiosity, experience the danger of the polar climes and meet some larger-than-life characters on the way. A cloth binding and muted colours give the book a lovely traditional feel.

Facts by Susan Martineau

We are all, children and adults, fascinated by facts,  Get your child hooked on facts with the stylish presentation of this book which makes excellent use of infographics to present us with a plethora of facts on topics as varied as unexpected ingredients, toys in time, ingenious homes for humans, glow in the dark creatures and much more. The book is packed with engaging illustrations which really add to the information given in the text - the busy medieval castle is just one example of this; read about the different parts of a castle and see them all in the picture. There's a curious word on each page too - on the castle page, it's fortification. A fascinating book, perfect to dip into at random or to look for a specific topic.

Travel the World Atlas by Shirley Willis

Often, children see countries in isolation and they really need the help of an atlas to put individual places into their world context. Traditional atlases can fail to excite the interest, but this colourful atlas presents the world in an engaging way, perfect to capture children's interest. They can expand their geographical knowledge and stimulate their curiosity with this delightful map book, as they embark on a journey around the world. The child-friendly approach features large maps with key features of each country (including food, animals, buildings and costume) depicted in pictures. Around the edges, clear font is used to describe each region. Interesting facts and things to spot are also found on each page. It's a super approach which will really engage and inform children.

You are Here: An Interactive Book of Maps and Worlds by Kathrin Jacobsen

This unusual approach to map reading and geography will be perfect for teachers looking to engage their pupils more closely with maps, as well as being a fun book to enjoy at home. By drawing aerial maps of their room, navigating the streetmap of a city and comparing public transport systems, young readers will understand map-reading. They can colour in world maps, identify cities, draw landmarks, learn about traditional foods, design their own flag, compare life expectancy and average annual income across the world, design pirate maps and fill in bar graphs of religion - that's a huge amount for one book to cover, making this a book which will offer many, many hours of enjoyable use. An A2 gridded poster is found at the end of the book, for children to draw their own world - real or imaginary. I love the approach the book takes - it really encourages children to think about the world, and it's packed full of fascinating activities.

The Totally Wild Fact-Packed, Fold-Out Animal Atlas by Jen Green

This colourful book immediately engages the attention as a pop-up map opens out at the front of the book - this shows the different areas covered in the book and acts as a contents page. Carry on into the book to come face to face with some of the many wonderful animals that inhabit the earth, pictured in their habitats and described in fact boxes with additional photos. Arranged by continent, the illustrated maps include fold-out maps which allow for plenty of information to be included without overcrowding. The easy-to-read text gives amazing facts on animal record-breakers, animal helpers and animals to beware of! A bright and engaging fact-filled book which really helps children to learn where animals come from as well as increasing their understanding of geography.

Utterly Amazing Human Body by Robert Winston

The wonder of the human body is explored in revealing and fascinating detail through superbly engineered pop-ups, pull-outs, flaps and sliders. Combined with incredible facts and superb illustrations, this makes learning about the human body fun and interactive. Here are just a few of the excellent features - pop open the mouth to reveal the teeth, tongue and senses of smell; watch the diaphragm move as the lungs take in air; lift-the-flap on the human body to reveal all the major organs and systems. From bulging muscles to the inside of the brain, this beautiful pop-up book brings the human body to life. Robert Winston has a wonderful gift for conveying information to young readers, making it accessible and enjoyable. This engaging presentation will make KS2 studies of the human body much easier to understand and to remember.

The Adventures of Water by Malcolm Rose

Get ready for a wonderful splishy-splashy adventure as you explore the world of water in this absorbing book. Water has been here for millions of years. There’s a lot of it around and it gets everywhere; learn where comes from and why we need it in this interactive journey. I especially liked 'Escape to the river' which shows the journey waste water takes right to the point it is turned back to safe drinking water; it show the process really well. Children are always fascinated by tabs to pull, wheels to turn and flaps to open, so they will love the way this book takes a hands-on approach to science. The pop-ups are stunning - they leap off the page and really help in the understanding of the concepts. As well, the book is packed with fascinating facts - did you know more people have walked the moon than have been to the bottom of the deepest sea? Fascinating and engrossing.

iScience: Elements, Forces and Explosive Experiments! by Clive Gifford

This clever book from Carlton Kids combines a superbly illustrated book with modern technology - an excellent way to engage children who claim to prefer electronic gadgets to books; now they can enjoy the best of both worlds. Download the free APP, place your tablet or smartphone near the visual trigger on the page, then hold it up to see metal explode in water or split an atom in the palm of your hand; the marvels of science in your own home - and completely safe. iScience is packed with educational facts on basic scientific principles. From elements and atoms to sound waves and gravity, read up on the fascinating natural world and discover the wonders of science. A great way to learn more about science and to engage children with the subject.

My First Science Book (Cico Kidz) by Susan Akass

Subtitled Explore the wonders of science with this fun-filled guide: kitchen chemistry, fantastic physics, backyard biology, you can really see how this book relates to enjoyable activities that can be carried out in and around the home. Start off with Kitchen Chemistry and make some gooey slime and a water bottle fountain. Then it's time to join the science class in Fantastic Physics where you can make a potato pop gun or a balloon rocket. Finally, it's into the great outdoors in Backyard Biology in search of interesting plants, weird bugs and strange biological reactions. These are just a few of the many enjoyable experiments in this book which will help children understand the science behind everyday events and objects. The science behind the magic is clearly explained, making this book educational as well as fun.

My First Camping Book (Cico Kidz) by Dominic Bliss

Discover the great outdoors with this fun guide to camping: planning, cooking, safety and activities. I really like the Cico Kidz books - they take a practical and informative approach, giving children the information they need to enjoy the activity; this practical guide to camping is no exception. It helps children plan everything they need; then goes on to advise on how to identify a good place to camp, how to put up your tent and the best way to store your food. Enjoy the recipes around the campfire as well as the wide range of activities (you don't need to be camping to enjoy these!). As night falls, enjoy the suggestions in 'When the Sun Goes Down', you will learn how to become an expert in shadow-puppets, how to identify different stars and constellations, and there are tips on how to tell a really scary ghost story. It's an excellent guide, which has thought of everything. If you're planning a camping holiday, enthuse your child by buying this book well in advance.

My First Football Book by Dominic Bliss

Learn how to play like a champion with this fun guide to football. The Get Started chapter introduces basics about how to play the game, then moves on to show basic skills - pass, dribble, shoot, tackle, volley and header and much more - in the Football Skills & Drills chapter. You will also learn how to execute the perfect corner, throw-in, penalty and much more. Tactics - Playing to Win is the chapter that will help aspiring footballers hone their match-playing skills. Rules, tips, and tactics are all covered. Another super book in this well thought-out series, which pitches the information at just the right level for children whilst ensuring it covers all the needed information. The illustrations are excellent for helping children to develop their game and clearly show, step-by-step, exactly how to learn all the skills.

100 Facts Mammals by Jinny Johnson

Just what it says - 100 facts. All engagingly presented with superb photography which shows children the wonder of the amazing variety that makes up the world of mammals. From the enormous blue whale to the tiny hog nose bat, marvel at the creatures and learn lots of fascinating facts. It's just the right amount of information for children and the attractive and engaging presentation will stimulate an interest in finding out more - either about mammals or about some of the other topics covered in the 100 facts series. "Miles Kelly's 100 Facts books are bestselling around the world, with more than 8 million copies sold in 30+ languages. Bursting with exactly 100 awesome facts, mind-blowing images and loads of fun activities, children will learn everything they need to know about each popular subject." Find the whole series here.

Ancient Egypt (100 Facts) by Jane Walker

As well as being a key subject in KS2 history, children are fascinated by Ancient Egypt, especially the pyramids and mummies and the more grisly side of these. There's plenty of information about these, as well as many other facets of Ancient Egyptian life to be found in this engaging and colourful book. Learn about daily life, how they travelled, their clothes, their homes and much more. The bitesized information is ideal for children - they will assimilate the facts so much more easily when presented in this format. It's the ideal book for children who want to know more and the clear layout and detailed pictures will really encourage reading and learning.

Oceans (100 Facts) by Belinda Gallagher

As soon as you look at these books from Miles Kelly, you will see how well they work to enthuse children for reading and learning. With stunning artwork on the cover (and a bit of glittery writing), and then the superb presentation inside, these books are really attractive. Children all learn in different ways - for those who learn visually, these books are ideal as they rely heavily on excellent photographs and artwork. Here we learn all about the marvels of the oceans, the plants and creatures who live there and the ways in which man has explored and harnessed the power of the oceans. Engagingly written, with plenty of facts to keep children engrossed.

Extreme Survival (100 Facts) by Jen Green

The scope of this series is huge with books to interest everybody; this is one of the somewhat more unusual topics and it is well presented in a way that will engage young readers and encourage them to go on and learn more. This is a particularly exciting title, with some amazing experiences recounted. As with each book in the series, activities allow children to put what they have learned into practice. In this book, you will find how to make a buoyancy aid and desert headgear, for example. These activities really add to the value of the books and will be especially useful for teachers.

Exploring Space (100 Facts)

by Steve Parker In this book, we really see how the exceptional photography used in the 100 Facts series is used to full advantage. The books are stunning visually, with very good layout that encourages readers to follow the text through. This book covers, among other subjects, early space missions, landers and impactors, exploring Mars and into the future. The text is informative and easy to read. Each of the books has short quizzes scattered through its pages; these encourage children to think more deeply about what they are reading. There are also 'I don't believe it' boxes with even more amazing facts, in addition to the exact 100 facts found in each book; a good idea, this, as it stops the format constraining the inclusion of extra information.

Science (100 Facts) by Steve Parker

This is an excellent introduction to science for KS2 children. It covers many aspects of science, presented in a way that will engage attention and encourage learning. On the back cover of each book is an interesting question and a note of the page number which has the answer. This book asks 'Do you know how fast light travels?'. Whatever your child's interests, you will find a book in the 100 Facts series for them. The series is excellent value and it would be lovely to start a collection for your family; the colourful presentation and use of short chunks of fact makes them enticing to pick up and browse through. A really excellent series.

How To Make A Human Out Of Soup by Tracey Turner

Mind-boggling facts are presented in a lively and engaging way by an author who is talented at presenting books like this. "Bring a packed lunch, and don't forget your time machine because we'll be doing a fair bit of time-travelling. Some protective clothing might be a good idea too, to cope with all the exploding volcanoes and meteorites. We'll be examining green slime (for a few billion years), popping in on the dinosaurs, meeting some of the strangest animals that ever lived, and saying hello to some close relatives you never knew you had. Welcome to the story of human evolution!" It's an amazing journey and it's presented in a way that makes a complex subject easy to understand.

Where Can I Go? Big City Explorer by Maggie Li

Penguin is off on his travels - and he won't get lost because the book neatly features a built-in compass on the front cover and a fold-out world map in the back. Join Penguin as he visits 28 great and diverse cities around the world including Istanbul, London, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Moscow, Hong Kong, Dubai, Sydney, Toronto and many more. Each city has its own double-page spread including a map of the central district, showing sites, cultural information, sports, famous people and landmarks... and much more. Can you spot Penguin on every page? Many pages feature a Find-it challenge, to encourage children to look more closely as well as lots of fascinating and memorable facts. It's a lovely way to get to know great cities and the unusual approach coupled with delightful maps and drawings makes a really attractive book.

Jurassic World - Where Dinosaurs Come to Life by Caroline Rowlands

Visit Jurassic World, the world's first fully operational dinosaur theme park. This is the official Augmented Reality book which accompanies Jurassic World, the latest instalment of the film series, Jurassic Park. The film Jurassic World takes viewers closer than ever to genetically engineered, awe and terror-inspiring dinosaurs. The book includes a free app which gives access to five breathtaking Augmented Reality sequences featuring life-size dinosaurs. Play on our own, get a friend to join in and have two dinosaurs roaming around or even make full-size dinosaurs appear; quite stunning. The book and its accompanying app make the perfect purchase for every Jurassic World and dinosaur fan.

Make Do and Mend: A Very Peculiar History by Jacqueline Morley

Whether you lived through the Second World War or just have an interest in how everyday life carried on during the war, you will find this a fascinating read. It tells the story of clothes rationing, the Utility Scheme and 'Make-do and Mend', both in Britain and in other countries. We learn of the lengths to which people went to keep clothed and to look good despite hardship - maybe we could all learn from this spirit! With black and white illustrations, fascinating facts, witty anecdotes and incredible trivia, readers will be both entertained and educated. These small format books with plenty of illustrations and attractive bindings are lovely to collect; information is presented in a lively way that appeals to all ages.

Chronicles of the Middle Ages by Fiona MacDonald

This beautifully produced book introduces readers to three aspects of life in medieval (the end of the 10th century to the end of the 15th) Europe - Vikings, knights and castles. This was an eventful time in history - a time of excitement and adventure, when explorers pushed back the boundaries of the known world, and knights in armour battled for supremacy. It's good to see children introduced to events beyond out shores - this gives them greater understanding and puts events into context. The production of this book is superb - the detailed illustrations bring the period alive through accurate detail and interesting annotations. The text is engaging and informative and laid out so it is easy to follow. An excellent way to stimulate an interest in history.

The Human Body Book: An Owner's Guide by Jen Green

Yes, there are lots of books about the human body but this one stands out by virtue of the acetate sheets, four of them, which show how the various body parts fit together. It is also notable because it is, as the title says, an owner's guide - it shows children how to take care of their bodies. The book features lively and colourful illustrations with fascinating facts which aims to make human biology both entertaining and fun for children. The facts are simply presented and the illustrations are full of humour as well as fact - a good way to help children remember. With a full glossary and an index, the book is an excellent introduction to the body..

My Secret War Diary, by Marcia Williams helped by Flossie Albright

Wow! This is simply wonderful - in scrapbook/diary format, this is Flossie Albright's account of her life during the Second World War. Flossie is 9 at the outbreak of war. Her father leaves to join the army and Flossie is left to bring up her baby brother. Her diary becomes an outlet for relaying all the news from at home and abroad. From the first evacuees arriving to her sweetheart's being killed in Normandy in 1944, Flossie has to endure much hardship. But her own special blend of courage, humour and fighting spirit sees her through to the Armistice, when she can welcome her dad home at last. Written in Flossie's own hand, with plenty of drawings and lots of special pages to open and explore, the presentation is stunning. An engrossing account, told from the perspective of a courageous and resourceful young girl; it really takes the reader into the everyday life of Flossie and the hardships war brought; it shows the resilience of young people and is a superb way to find out about life during the war. It would be brilliant used as a basis for school topic work.

See Inside Exploration and Discovery by Emily Bone

Children love the excitement of lift-the-flap books - they add an extra dimension and children enjoy the anticipation; the format helps them remember too. They will be introduced to some of the most iconic explorers from history, including Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus and Captain Cook. The book is laid out in chronological sections, from ancient explorers to space. The text is simple and straightforward, with more detail hidden under the 70+ flaps; every page is full of detailed pictures which children will enjoy and which will increase their knowledge and understanding of this fascinating topic. It's great to support school work too.

Matisse, King of Colour (Anholt's Artists) by Laurence Anholt

Laurence Anholt has a wonderful way of engaging children with art, showing them how wonderful great art can be and helping to build a life-long appreciation. Based on a real-life relationship, it describes how Matisse met Monique, a young nurse who wanted to become a nun. Despite illness. Matisse develops a sketch drawn by Monique into a set of stained-glass windows and starts raising money to build a chapel for the nuns. When the chapel is finished, Monique sees the special magic of Matisse's design: when the sun's rays creep into the chapel, transforming its black and white interior into a fantastic sea of blue and green light. The book cleverly mingles reproductions of Matisse's work with his own exuberant illustrations, making for a highly enjoyable and informative read.

Spectacular Visual Guides: The Roman Colosseum by Fiona Macdonald

History is vividly brought to life in this stunning highly visual series. Find out why the Colosseum was built, who paid for it and where the money came from. Then learn about the fearless Gladiators who fought for their lives earning vast sums for their masters. The full-colour cutaway illustrations are the stars of the book - you really get an inside view of this stupendous piece of architecture. Pinpoint enlargements focus on the day to day lives of the people, looking at how they ate, dressed, entertained themselves and sometimes fought. Illustrations of artifacts and paintings from the era help to support the main text by providing proof which explains how we know what we know. It's a detailed look at a fascinating construction and people which is perfect to interest children in their KS2 history.

Iron Age (Beginners) by Emily Bone

Perfect for beginner readers, this introduction to the Iron Age gives a good insight into a fascinating and little written about period for young readers. This simple information book covers the history of Iron Age people and how they lived, including their farming methods, the gods they prayed to and the hill forts where they lived - if children get the opportunity to visit these sites, their interest will really be stimulated. The book is full of facts, illustrations and photographs of historical artefacts. The clear layout and plentiful illustrations makes for an attractive book and it's a good way to encourage readers who don't enjoy fiction.

Car World by Clive Gifford

Car enthusiasts young and old will take great delight in this book. Cars are here in all their glory and fascinating variety, from supremely stylish sports classics to the latest in full-throttle supercars and hypercars, incredible one-offs and phenomenally fast record-breaking land vehicles. Discover supercars at the cutting edge of car technology, outrageous one-off autos and the world's fastest racers, from rugged rally cars to Top Fuel dragsters that can accelerate to 450 km/h before you've finished reading this sentence. Then look forward to an incredible future of digital driving, tech-packed smart cars and envelope-pushing engineering. The layout of the book reflects the theme of speed and the excellent photography will be a hit with car enthusiasts who will revel in the wonderful vehicles shown and discussed.

How to Look After Your Kitten (Pet Cadet) by Helen Piers

Find out everything you need to know about looking after a kitten in this guide to cat care written specially for young pet owners. Simple fresh illustrations combine with informative text to ensure children have all the key information to hand. Packed with practical advice and useful tips, this is attractive and useful. Pet Cadets are a series of handbooks for young pet owners and with their practical advice, they are ideal for anyone contemplating pet ownership. "Wide Eyed Editions is a new imprint of The Quarto Group. We are creators of non-fiction for children and families and believe that books should encourage curiosity about the world we live in, inspiring readers to set out on their own journey of discovery." The books I have seen so far really achieve this objective and I am excited to see what comes in the future.

National Geographic Kids Myths Busted 3 by Emily Krieger

Think you can sort out myth from fact? Well, this book may surprise you! This is a great book for starting up stimulating conversations - is the cheetah the fastest creature in the world? Do we all need to drink eight glasses of water a day? Is your dog ill if his nose is dry? Are mules really stubborn? This is great fun to read and even reluctant readers will find this is well worth the effort with its lively writing style and plentiful illustrations.

The Amazing Human Body Detectives by Maggie Li

This book approaches the fascinating subject of the human body in a fun and informative way that is guaranteed to capture children's attention and to help them remember what they have read. It's full of fascinating facts that will surprise everyone - we all know that we all have unique fingerprints, but did you know that we also have a unique tongue print? Did you know that when you are awake, the human brain has enough electricity whizzing about to power a light bulb? Readers are drawn into the book through questions and practical activities which aid understanding, as well as by the layout which is lively and full of different font styles along with numerous illustrations. It's a light-hearted approach which conveys a great deal of valuable information - perfect to support KS2 science.

Woolly Mammoth by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

My favourite non-fiction pairing bring us two books written is association with the Natural History Museum. Through descriptive text and colourful illustrations which recreate the world of the time, we find out what life was like for the Woolly Mammoth. It was a tough life, with the harsh Ice Age climate and the threat of natural predators. The greatest predator? Man. The book includes an illustrated fact strip giving more information on how we know about the lives of mammoths today, taken from the very latest mammoth findings; there's also a useful glossary.

Dino-Dinners by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

It's dinner time for the dinosaurs but who eats what - and who? Find out exactly what each of the different dinosaurs ate as well as plenty of other interesting facts. The watercolour illustrations perfectly evoke the prehistoric world and allow readers to imagine these legendary creatures set in their own world. Both these books feature an engaging rhyming text on one page, with lots of facts presented on the opposite page and these link to the opposing text; this approach gives two levels of interest and makes the books appropriate for a wide age range. Factual information presented in a lively and engaging manner makes these books an excellent example of non-fiction for younger readers.

The Little Waterloo by Catherine De Duve

A format which has been used very successfully to teach children about the world of art is now used to introduce important events in history. Life seemed to be carrying on as normal, with a huge ball held in Brussels. But next day, the French arrive. Read about the events leading up to this pivotal battle; the attacks that took place and the aftermath of the battle. Children will be drawn into the exciting events as they are asked to draw pictures and answer questions about the battle. It's an excellent way to get them really involved and to encourage them to reason on events. The book is well produced with plentiful illustrations and easy-to-read layout. Published by Happy Museum, May 2015, ISBN 978-2875750372.

The Little Bonnard: Discover the Wonderful Colour and Light of Bonnard by Catherine de Duve

This interactive series is the perfect way to introduce children to great artists. They will learn about Pierre Bonnard and follow his career from Paris to the South of France, as well as learning about France at the time. Throughout the book, there are reproductions of Bonnard's paintings, as well as those of his contemporaries. Questions are posed which encourage children to look closer at the paintings. As well, there are things for children to spot and activities to encourage them to try out their own artistic skills. A lovely series. Published by Happy Museum, June 15, ISBN 9782875750280.

Elephant (Eye on the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

Through stunning photography, this book follows a newborn elephant's life from birth until the age where she is ready to have a calf of her own. With engaging text to enjoy, this is an excellent way to help children gain a true understanding of the magnificence of wild creatures in their natural habitat. Suzi Eszterhas is a wildlife photographer who spends nine months of the year photographing animals in their natural habitats; I think it's brilliant that this quality of photography is being made available to children.

Tiger (Eye on the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

The superb photography really makes this series stand out. Many photos are more than full page and really show the animals in all their detail and within their natural habitat. The story follows three tiger cubs from birth to adulthood - exploring and tumbling, pouncing on sticks and splashing in water, boxing and play-fighting until, at two years old, they are fully grown and ready to rule a territory of their own. The text is simple yet informative; easy to read and written in a way that will appeal to young children.

Collins Picture Atlas

This colourful picture atlas is the perfect way to encourage children to explore our world. It puts places into context, starting with a world view of the continents, countries and landscapes and then explores each country in more depth. Throughout the book, the striking use of colour really grabs the reader's attention and encourages them to imagine life in the country. The atlas has a more people-centred approach than many and this makes it more accessible for children. Although the publisher recommends the book for 4 to 8 year olds, I think children at the upper end of the age range will benefit most as there is lots of explanatory text included. The book works well for home or school and helps to develop essential reading skills. There are many interesting facts included and the maps are busy with pictures of people and places, making countries vibrant and alive for children - a great way to stimulate interest.

William Shakespeare: Scenes from the life of the world's greatest writer by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Another sure-fire winner from this inimitable pairing, who produce the most wonderful books. Right from the moment of his birth, we follow the playwright through his childhood, apprenticeship, marriage and then his move to London. We join him at the newly-built Globe Theatre, where he is a key member of the company and where many of his plays are performed. Interspersed through the account are graphic-novel type outlines of some of his best-known plays, thus providing another dimension to the book; these lively retellings are a lovely way to start reading Shakespeare. The book uses a mix of informative text, fact boxes, comic strip and labelled illustrations to convey a multiplicity of information and show Shakespeare in the context of his world. Introduce children to Shakespeare through this book and you will give them the best possible introduction to our great playwright.

Bone Collections: Dinosaurs by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Children will find this unusual approach to a popular subject highly engaging as they enjoy looking at a spectacular collection of skeletons from some of the world's most fascinating prehistoric animals. They will find out how big a fearsome Tyrannosaurus Rex's skull really was; see how an Iguanodon used its thumbs as a secret weapon; learn which dinosaurs had brains the size of walnuts and many more intriguing facts. The bones reveal a great deal about how they lived, and then the information is fleshed out with pictures and details of these magnificent creatures. The eye-catching presentation will grab children's interest and the plethora of facts will amaze.

National Geographic Kids Infopedia 2016

This book is overflowing with information! An annual New York Times best seller, this colourful and detailed book is packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, crafts, activities, and fascinating articles. Not only geography, but also animals, science, nature, technology and more. New features include a special section on animal friends; an updated 'Fun and Games' chapter full of games, jokes, and comics; a 'Dino Myths Busted' feature; weird-but-true facts, crafts, and activities; and a special '15 Facts' feature in every chapter. There is such a wide variety of information, all attractively presented, that this is a book to keep accessible to children who will dip in and out all the time. Wonderful value and perfect for all children who are inquisitive about the world around them.

The Second World War (True Stories) by Paul Dowswell

Published in association with the Imperial War Museums, this is an exciting collection of twelve true stories from the Second World War. Perfect for readers who prefer non-fiction but want plenty of action and excitement, this is a varied including a real life naval battle, terror trapped in a submarine and elation at finding an Enigma machine, a duel between solitary snipers for the control of Stalingrad and other tales of bravery and heroism. The stories are really well written, capturing the drama, excitement and fear felt by those experiencing the events. Maps and diagrams add to the information learnt and the stories make an excellent background for study of the war.

50 Things You Should Know About The Second World War by Simon Adams

Packed with information, succinctly and attractively presented, this is an excellent way for children to learn about the key events of World War II. Each year of the war is introduced with a timeline featuring the key events and a map showing where the fighting took place and which countries were involved; this approach is good for showing children the relationship between time, place and event. All the major events and battles are covered; the Home Front, weapons and the cost of war also have a place in this well-rounded book. Effective use of photographs brings the events vividly to life and fact panels provide fascinating snippets of extra information. Easy to read and remember, this is perfect for KS2 history.

Second World War (Usborne See Inside) by Rob Lloyd Jones

Children enjoy the concept of lift-the-flap books and the approach helps them remember, especially those with a visual memory. With a particular focus on the vehicles used, the book covers the major events that defined the Second World War as one of the most destructive wars in history, including the Blitz, the war in the Pacific and the war in the sky. Lifting the flaps reveals, in fascinating detail, the insides of some of the military vehicles used during campaigns. Other pages cover life during the Blitz and the action on the beaches during the invasion of Normandy. The layout is engaging and the book is not too wordy, so even reluctant readers will enjoy it. An informative book which makes learning fun.

The Quarrelsome Celts and the Rapacious Romans (Wicked Wales) by Catrin Stevens

I think it's just brilliant that Welsh children have their own history presented in this winning format. It's history presented in a really engaging way; a way that will help children develop a real interest in the subject. The Celts and the Romans were the quarrelsome and rapacious people whose wicked ways are revealed in this book which tells all about their exciting exploits in Wales. You'll find plenty of foul facts and terrifying tales about their fierce fighting and blood-filled battles on these pages. The book is packed with information - it's heavier on facts than many similar books; the text is ably complemented by humorous illustrations. A lovely friendly approach to history.

What Happened When in the World from DK

Watch the key moments in our history unravel on the page in front of you through colourful, illustrated 3D maps. This unique historical atlas will engage adults just as much as the children for whom it is designed - I found it quite absorbing.60 stunning, specially commissioned historical maps are laid out in four sections - ancient world, medieval world, modern world and 20 and 21 centuries. A timeline introduces each set of maps and this is very useful for putting events into their historical context. Some maps feature the whole world, giving an excellent comparison of events world-wide; others focus in on a specific area, covering events in more detail. Informative text is included both on the maps and in fact boxes. It's perfect to accompany school work on history and just as good as a home reference book to pick up whenever questions arise.

Rock & Fossil Hunter (Dk Eyewitness) by Ben Morgan

Fossils can seem an area beyond the reach of children but this exciting book shows that is far from the truth. It shows children how to start their own rock collection, grow their own gems and even create an erupting volcano! Facts about rocks and fossils are easy to learn and understand, well supported by the range of hands-on activities. There are 30 activities, all well illustrated with photos, and explained in clear, easy to follow language. There are 50+ stickers too, and these are a real asset to the book, being good sized photographic images which really add to learning and identification. Full of information and engagingly presented; an excellent starting point for anyone interested in how our world is formed.

Are You What You Eat? from DK

Find out about the marvellous machine that is the human body and find out the essential part food plays in keeping it going - and how important it is to eat the right foods. There are three sections - building the body, which fuel? and how much is enough? The lively, jazzy presentation is really eye-catching and will capture the attention of even reluctant readers. Each page presents information in a variety of ways, with heavy reliance on the visual impact. The facts presented are important for us all to know and it's a great way to encourage children to think about what they eat.

What Makes Your Body Work? by Gill Arbuthnott

The author introduces many of our major organs and systems through experiments that are easy for readers to try out; hands-on science is always a good way to learn and remember. From understanding why the brain can decipher letters in a word in the wrong ired to measuring your own lung volume, What Makes Your Body Work is bursting full of insightful and brilliant ways to discover what makes our bodies tick. Packed full of eye-catching illustrations and explanatory diagrams, it's easy to read and for children to remember what they have learnt. Vibrant colours make the book attractive and invite the reader to browse.

The Story of the Second World War for Children by Peter Chrisp

This is the story of the war and its impact on the lives of those who lived through it. It's history presented in a way that is real and meaningful to children as they can imagine the effect on people like themselves and their families. Many people are included, from children evacuated to the countryside, to bombed-out cities and civilians working in munitions' factories, and the soldiers fighting on land, sea and air. It also looks at a sometimes overlooked aspect - how the war led to major advances in technology, medicine and weaponry. Eye-catching layout with minimal use of colour gives the book atmosphere and children will appreciate the maps and cross-section artworks of the insides of famous tanks, aircraft, U-boats, aircraft carriers add extra detail and fascination for children and show just what life was like.

When Penguins Cross the Ice: The Emperor Penguin Migration by Sharon Katz Cooper

This is a fascinating account of the amazing journey made by thousands of Emperor Penguins every year. As temperatures drop, they travel across the ice - to reach places with no food and little warmth. Find out why in this beautifully illustrated book which tells how the male penguins huddle together to protect their eggs whilst the female goes off in search of food. When the babies hatch, the male birds produce a special milk to feed them; finally, the females return to take over the feeding. An amazing story with superb illustrations of these wonderful creatures.

Fact Finders: Dinosaurs by Ruth Martin

This is the first in a new series that explores the cutting edge of popular science subjects - and sometimes even refutes long-held scientific theories. There are flaps to explore and pop-ups to enjoy as well as a plethora of entertainingly presented facts - perfect for all young dinosaur fans and a great way to interest others. Children will find out the theories that explain some of the most interesting questions about dinosaurs, and learn how to evaluate them I like the way this book encourages children to question and shows that scientists are not always right! It's an important learning point and children are encouraged, through the pages of the book, to evaluate and think things through for themselves, aided by highly readable text and detailed illustrations. I very much look forward to more in the series.

A Day I Remember- an Indian Wedding by Prodeepta Das

This is a day that Chintu will always remember: he’s going to be “Markundi”, the boy who keeps the bridegroom (his uncle) company through the wedding preparations. The vibrant photographs bring alive all the wonder of an Indian wedding with its colourful rituals and help the reader feel they are joining in with the celebrations, dancing, fireworks and music. The vividly coloured backgrounds complement the topic well and make for a very attractive book which is ideal for multi-cultural studies.

Geography Quest: Deep Sea Danger by John Townsend

Professor Fustigate of the Ocean Explorers Museum.needs your help! 300 years ago the pirate ship Shiver Me Timbers sank and the captain's logbook was found ashore. Ever since, explorers have tried to find the wreck. The Professor has discovered that the coded clues found in the logbook lead to the wreck - so it's off on an exciting interactive adventure to find the treasure. Follow the story and make your own choices based on your geographical knowledge. The innovative approach used in this series really encourages children to think about what is happening and the consequences of different actions - as they follow through the books making their own choices, they learn what works and what doesn't, strengthening their decision-making and their confidence in their own abilities.

Geography Quest: Mountain Peak Peril by John Townsend

Can you help find Sir Digby Tweedhop, the top wildlife presenter, who was sent up the Towering Mountains to capture a yeti on film, but has disappeared without a trace? Packed with geographical facts and questions, the story takes a different turn every time, as the reader makes different choices. The lively colourful presentation of the topic really makes geography engrossing and the way children are encouraged to make decisions means their knowledge is reinforced and becomes easily memorised. I think this is an excellent series and a good way to engage children with geography, making it come to life.

First Animal Encyclopedia Rainforests by Anita Ganeri

Rainforests are a wonderful environment and their inhabitants amongst some of the most colourful in the world. Now young children can learn all about them in this superb introduction to jungle and rainforest life. Packed with brilliant full colour photos of a wide range of creatures, children will find out how the animals that spend their lives surrounded by some of the world's biggest forests hunt for food, raise their young or hide from predators such as giant spiders, poisonous frogs, hungry jaguars, and much much more.

Beautiful Beasts by Camilla de le Bédoyère

Inspired by the wonderful Animals book by the same author, this is another exploration of weird and wonderful creatures which will engage and enthrall readers young and not so young. There are over 150 beautifully detailed creatures depicted - discover terrifying teeth, huge horns, wondrous wings funny faces and so much more, and find out when in history they roamed the earth. With 64 pages of zoological wonders to delight animal lovers, dinosaur fans and fantasy creature enthusiasts, there's lots to discuss and enjoy - and hopefully, will inspire readers to go off and learn more about them too.

Africa Is My Home: A Child of the Amistad by Monica Edinger

Inspired by a true account, this is the story of Magulu who is sold into slavery by her father. It's an account of huge hardship told through the eyes of a courageous and resourceful young girl - just 9 when the story begins. here is the compelling story of a child who arrives in America on the slave ship Amistad —and eventually makes her way home to Africa. Told in the first person, this fictionalised book of memories retells history through the eyes of a child. It paints a superb picture of her emotions and reactions, leaving the reader moved and troubled. The colour illustrations by Robert Byrd bring the story to life.

Space (Infographics 3) by Simon Rogers

Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly - as such, they are a brilliant way of presenting information for young readers in a way that they will enjoy and find memorable. This colourful book is presented in 7 tabbed sections, making quick reference easy. It is packed with amazing facts about space which will fascinate readers and add to their knowledge about the wonderful universe in which we live. The eye-catching presentation is ideal to engage even the most reluctant of readers.

Could A Penguin Ride a Bike? by Camilla Bédoyère

The entertaining question and answer format is a great way to answer children's questions (and even children won't have thought up these zany questions!) in a way which will really stay in their minds. What if a penguin went bowling? Could a penguin play football? Could a penguin join a choir? It's a super approach and children will learn plenty about all the wonderful things penguins can do. The lively presentation, with text that weaves through the pages and lots of amusing pictures, will engage children.

Magnus Carter: A Fable About Justice and Liberty by Julian Warrender

Children will be drawn to the book by the cut out in the cover with Magnus the mole peeping through. Magnus the mole stands up for his rights against bad King Moldewarp, just like the barons against King John. The book includes games to play and worms and insects to spot on the way as well as colourful lively illustrations. With a two page spread of facts about the Magna Carta and King John, the book is a good mix of fact and fun.

My Little Book of Big Trucks by Honor Head

Children are endlessly fascinated by big vehicles of all types and here is a book full of all sorts of trucks. With simple, easy-to-understand text and superb colour photography, this is an excellent introduction to big trucks. Inset photos show more detail about how the trucks carry out their multitude of tasks. Perfect for reluctant readers, this book will hold the interest of young children and encourage them to find out more about these amazing vehicles. Encourage your child to enjoy the book and then go out together and see how many of these monsters you can spot.

My Little Book of Ocean Life by Camilla de le Bédoyère

The wonders of the ocean are superbly photographed in this bright colourful book which will appeal to even reluctant readers. The presentation is lively and engaging, with short focused text explaining the photos. Close up photos add extra detail and information. All sorts of intriguing questions are answered - how wide can a ray grow? Are sea slugs poisonous? Why do jellyfish move so slowly? A great way to investigate the undersea world and appreciate its wonders.

The Little van Gogh in Borinage: The Birth of a Great Artist by Catherine de Duve

Learn about Van Gogh's life in the Belgian Borinage and find out what he saw there to inspire his painting. The combination of images of the area and Van Gogh's paintings works really well and there are activities to develop children's artistry too. Happy Museum! is a series of short, interactive books which include creative, educational and enjoyable interactive activities in these books - they are an excellent way to introduce young readers to great artists and their work. Happy Museum January 2015) 9782875750143.

The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman

Families come in all types and sizes, but whatever your family, this book is a joyous celebration for you - and for everyone. The perception of family has changed over the years; as times have changed so have families. From a mum and dad or single parent to two mums or two dads, from a mixed-race family to children with different mums and dads, from families with a disabled member to those with a mum or dad in prison, this book is for us all. It's a superb way of showing all the differences, and the joy that comes from being part of a family. Lively illustrations are packed with detail and give endless opportunities to expand on the theme of the book. Every primary school should have a copy and it would make a superb basis for a classroom topic, and to help children understand and accept differences.

Street Children by Anthony Robinson

A book to make you think; a book that makes you unbelievably sad that children live like this and yet amazed at the resilience that allows them to cope and have a positive outlook - a strong message for us all. Told in the words of the children and their families, these are accounts of living on the streets of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Guatemala. These resourceful, resilient and optimistic children and families talk about their pasts, their present lives and their hopes for the future. A combination of colour photos and drawings show just what life is like and introduce us to the people. A book which will stimulate discussion and raise awareness.

The Story of Science by Anna Claybourne

All the great moments in science history can be found in this book, presented in a lively way that will encourage children to read and remember. True life stories about a range of disciplines including geology, the solar system, physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. A two page spread is given to each discovery, showing not only how scientists discovered them, but also how they have influenced the other discoveries that followed. Amusing cartoons by Adam Larkum embellish each page and add a light-hearted feel which children will enjoy. The attractive presentation also includes fact boxes and plenty of other illustrative material. There is a glossary of technical terms and Internet-links to encourage further learning. An excellent way to introduce scientific discovery and to encourage children to find out more. The narrative style is also good for those who prefer their reading to be factual.

Ancient Egypt in 30 Seconds by Cath Senker

Children are always fascinated by the pharaohs, mummies and Ancient Egypt and this innovative approach is an excellent way to learn lots of facts in a short time. It will also be good in the classroom - each child could take one topic and explain it to the class, for example. There is much more to Ancient Egypt than mummies and pyramids; this book introduces life by the Nile, including the jobs people had, the clothes they wore, the toys they played with, and the religion they followed. It does give a really good picture of everyday life and children will relate well to this. Main sections are sub-divided, making it easy to locate the information and there is a good clear index. The book is full of illustrative material, all of which is well labelled, making it really useful. An excellent book.

Oceans in 30 Seconds by Jen Green

Another well produced book packed with succinct facts and full of excellent artwork. Children are taken on an exciting journey through our seas and oceans, meeting many amazing creatures on the way. 30 key topics are covered, from the sunlit ocean surfaces to the deepest, darkest depths. Each is presented in a 30 second text supported by a 3-second flash summary and a full-page labelled colour illustration. Fun, active missions accompany the topics, encouraging readers to find out more and getting them really involved with the topic. Unusually, there is a glossary for each section of the book and this is found at the start of the section - I like this approach as it allows children to learn the terminology before reading about it. This series is just that bit different - in a good way - and has a lot to offer.

On The Train (Shine-A Light Books) by Carron Brown

As with the 30 second books, this is another innovative series from Ivy Kids - a new publisher to me and one I am delighted to have found. Informative text and pictures - black and white on one side and colour opposite - help young ones discover the excitement of life on the rails. Just hold the pages up to light (some adult help would be best, to avoid the pages tearing) and young readers can see inside the engine, meet the people who work on the trains, and discover where the trains they travel on go at night. It's an unusual approach and children will be enthralled by it. The text encourages discussion by making use of questions and the informative nature of the text is really excellent - children will learn so much.

Secrets of the Rainforest: A Shine-a-Light Book by Carron Brown

Read the question on each page (that gives you a clue as to what you are looking for) then hold the pages up to the light (better still, use a torch but under adult supervision) and see what you can spot. It's cleverly done - the images on the black and white page show through to the coloured page and the pictures are well linked by the text. Children will be really intrigued by this approach. The beautiful illustrations are full of life and colour and the informative text explains them excellently. There is also a two page spread which explains the different habitats in the rainforest and the animals that live there. Unusual and very effectively done.

The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman

Families come in all types and sizes, but whatever your family, this book is a joyous celebration for you - and for everyone. The perception of family has changed over the years; as times have changed so have families. From a mum and dad or single parent to two mums or two dads, from a mixed-race family to children with different mums and dads, from families with a disabled member to those with a mum or dad in prison, this book is for us all. It's a superb way of showing all the differences, and the joy that comes from being part of a family. Lively illustrations are packed with detail and give endless opportunities to expand on the theme of the book. Every primary school should have a copy and it would make a superb basis for a classroom topic, and to help children understand and accept differences.

The Great Big Green Book by Mary Hoffman

Starting by showing our place in Space, the book goes on to show what we need for life on Earth. It explains simply and clearly how we need to take care of our planet and its special habitats, especially the rainforests and the oceans. The presentation really makes the point excellently - for example, the picture of a tree with all the things we get from trees shown on the tree. It makes you think and, like the previous book, would make a superb basis for classroom topic work. The facts are there but you are forced to think about what we are doing to our planet and question everything. The action plans include saving water, saving energy, recycling, repairing, growing seasonal food, cooking fresh food, saving on packing, asking questions… and thinking of new inventions and big ideas. Really well done, thought-provoking and perceptive.

Did Christopher Columbus Really Discover America?: And Other Questions About the New World (Good Question!) by Emma Carlson Berne

I like this series, which takes a question commonly asked by children and then builds on that with a series of associated questions. So, here we have questions about Columbus, the New World, and the impact of the discoveries. Well presented, in landscape format for a refreshing change, each page of text is faced by a colourful and informative illustration - as well as scenes, we have a map and the inside of Columbus' ship, for example. The text is well written, full of information and there's a timeline at the end to put it all into context. The shiny paper makes the book really attractive and a joy to read. Published by Sterling, March 2015, ISBN 978-1454912590.

Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory: The Complete Story of Willy Wonka, the Golden Ticket and Roald Dahl's Most Famous Creation by Lucy Mangan

Quite simply, superb. Every Roald Dahl fan should have a copy of this lavishly illustrated book which explores the huge influence of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on film, theatre, music, food and beyond. It celebrates an amazing 50 years of the much-loved story in fascinating detail. The book features 100s of images, including previously unseen material from the Roald Dahl archive and behind-the-scenes photographs from the Johnny Depp and Gene Wilder films, the Sam Mendes musical and more. The reader will come away with a much greater into Roald Dahl and his reasons for writing the book and, if you are like me, the desire to re-read the book given the fresh light shed by this marvellous insight. Superbly produced, the illustrative material is an exceptional part of an exceptional work.

Ultimate Explorer Guide for Kids by Justin Miles

Following on from the popular Ultimate Survival Guide for kids, now we have an essential guide for the budding explorer. Whether exploring in the world’s toughest environments or your own back yard, this book is packed with information to get young people out and about, enjoying the great outdoors. They will learn how to plan an expedition, camp in the countryside and survive in the wild from full-time and professional explorer Justin Miles. An easy-to-follow manual packed full of essential information, this title is a must-have for any young explorer who is curious about the world. It's an excellent way to foster a sense of adventure and the bright colourful presentation will appeal - there's even a compass included!

Beastworld by Stella Caldwell

Step into a world of fascinating, mystical and terrifying beasts from around the globe with fearless beast hunter S.A. Caldwell. You will meet the most elusive creatures from ancient myths, strange sightings and folklore as you journey to a Gorgon's lair, track down the yeti in the Himalayas, find out what lies beneath the myth of the bogeyman and discover the Hydra's immortal head. Beautifully presented with every page illustrated in full colour; the text is set off against a range of illustrative material which informs and entertains. Superbly produced, this is a book which repays close attention and will intrigue all those fascinated by ancient myths and legends.

A Day and Night in the Desert (Caroline Arnold's Habitats) by Caroline Arnold

It's morning in the Sonoran Desert and a woodpecker is tapping away... and he is just the first of many inhabitants of this desert region who we will meet during a day and a night. Hour by hour, we meet the creatures and learn about how they live in this inhospitable environment. The cut-paper illustrations and delicate use of colour give a lovely impact, unusual and very appealing. The narrative-style account will engage children as it informs them about desert life. A very attractive and informative book, packed with information and beautifully presented.

Explore 360 Pompeii (Digital 360 Degree) by Peter Chrisp

This book's subtitle tells us that we will "Be Transported Back in Time with a Breathtaking 3D Tour" - and that is certainly true, especially when you view the enclosed CD, which really brings the ancient city to life. This vividly-told book allows you to transport yourself back and relive one of the most dramatic moments in history. With incredible detail in the sumptuous large-scale photos and realistic artworks, you are taken back to the city in its heyday. The CD includes 3D-modelled animations which let you explore the town further. Visit Pompeii as she was - stroll through the forum - Pompeii's impressive town square, take a tour of the busy public baths, visit a Roman bakery and peek inside a wealthy merchant town house and you will really feel you are there.

Geography Quest: Rapid River Rescue by John Townsend

This superb series is an excellent way to get children really engaged with geography. Working their way through the challenge calls on their geographical knowledge and really embeds it. You, a world-famous treasure hunter, have just returned home after finding a gold mine. You get a mysterious text message, 'Give me all your treasure or I'll poison your local river - and everyone who depends on it.' So that's your target - to finish the quest and save the river from being poisoned by the Toxic Texter. Readers must use their problem-solving skills and geographical knowledge to navigate their way through the thrilling adventure, learning more about geography with every page turned. Get it wrong and... well, you'll have to hope you get it right! Exciting and engaging - brilliant!

Geography Quest: Journey into the Earth by John Townsend

In another exciting interactive adventure, the reader must drill down to the centre of the Earth to determine whether the supervolcano is about to erupt. It's a dangerous mission but you're being depended on to collect vital information and make the right decision every step of the way! This is a fascinating approach to geography, packed with information on every page. Children must really learn to apply the facts, which means they have to think about the consequences every step of the way. It's quite a challenge and each possible answer sets the reader off in a different direction, making the book just as enjoyable on a second or third visit. In addition, a glossary explains geographical words and provides added reference material, and there are interesting suggestions for taking knowledge further. A really excellent concept and great way to make geography practical and appealing.

Greek Hero (Fly on the Wall) by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Children will be swept back into the world of the Ancient Greeks by the lively presentation, both written and visual. It's the story of Agathon, a Greek warrior, and his journey home from battle back into life in the town. Full of engaging characters who come right out of the pages to engage the reader. The clever mingling of text and pictures draws the reader right inside the story and makes them feel a part of what is going on. A huge amount of detail about Greek daily life is packed into an engaging storyline, as well as into the fact bars along the bottom of every page. Perfect for KS2 pupils to support their history, it will be excellent to share in the classroom.

Pharaoh's Egypt (Fly on the Wall) by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

If you want a book which will really engage young readers and stimulate them to take an interest in Ancient Egpyt, then this lively book is an excellent starting point. Look inside the real world of the Ancient Egyptians - see how the mummy-makers perform their grisly work, sail down the Nile with Huya the scribe, and creep into the tombs with robbers as they steal jewels by eerie torchlight. It is the way that the reader shares in the adventures which makes these bocks so appealing. As well, there is up-to-date information about the world of the Pharaohs from the latest archaeological discoveries. With spilled potions, squashed insects and flower petals, this book shows you ancient Egypt as it really happened! The main text introducing each topic links well with the information running along the bottom of the spreads. Combine these with the full glossary and index and children will have an excellent and enjoyable reference book.

The Really Gross Body Book by Sarah Horne

Definitely written with children in mind, this gruesomely gross book abounds with fun facts on farts, snot, vomit, wee, spit and more bodily excretions (are there any more?). And as if that isn't enough, children will revel in the flaps and pop-ups which bring yet another level of grossness to the book. Children will be fascinated to learn out how much snot we swallow in a year, how many times we fart in a lifetime, and whether it's really true that some people use urine as a mouthwash - and then they will delight in sharing the grizzly facts with any adult foolish enough to have remained in the vicinity after handing this book over! It will fascinate children with the clever presentation and abundance of facts - and they will learn a lot about the human body along the way. Great fun!

It's Great to Play and Fun to Learn by Claire Llewellyn and Arianne Holden

Look at the subtitle to see what you are getting with this superb book - "A Stimulating Play-and-learn Book with Over 130 Amazing Facts, Exercises and Projects, and More Than 5000 Bright Action-packed Photographs". It really does live up to the promise! It's a lively and friendly approach to learning a whole range of skills - the book is divided into colours, shapes, words, animals, sizes, counting, maths' time and science. Within the broad sections are a range of pages which are packed with pictures, facts, try this ideas and lots of questions to really get children thinking. It's a fascinating and unusual approach to learning which has much to offer any child, whatever their interests and learning style. At only £9.99 for a 256 page hardback book absolutely crammed with enjoyable activities that will stimulate learning and discovery, this book is not to be missed.

Little Explorers My Amazing Body by Ruth Martin

Little Explorers is a new first-information series for curious youngsters. With sturdy flaps to lift on every page (always a winner with children), children can explore the wonders of the human body and find out many intriguing facts. My Amazing Body is a lively introduction to the human body, where children can lift the flaps to find out what goes on under their skin. Young readers will be amazed as they find out how the brain works, what happens to a mouthful of food, how fast our fingernails grow, and what breathing is all about. It's a stimulating approach which will answer many questions but will also encourage children to think about the body and come up with even more questions - so be prepared!

Ultimate Bodypedia by National Geographic Kids

Of course, we associate National Geographic with geography books but we also associate them with superb photography and well presented information and that is what they bring us with this fascinating book. This child-friendly book answers children's questions and engages them through amazing facts, photos, illustrations, and diagrams. It's a fascinating journey through the body which helps understanding of all parts of the body and how they work together to make an amazing whole. I like the way it includes plenty of health tips alongside the appropriate section, so children can really see the significance. Along with top 10 lists, simple experiments, and weird-but-true wacky details, these make for fascinating reading that will ensure children know all they need to about the human body, presented in a way that will engage and inform. The presentation is excellent, with fact boxes and diagrams used to full benefit.

The Story of Life: A First Book about Evolution by Catherine Barr

With the new curriculum placing a requirement to study evolution, this book is perfectly timed. It is excellent to see a book which makes this extremely complex topic understandable for children and parents and teachers will be delighted with this book. Starting with the creation of the first living cell and showing how the cells multiplied and created jellyfish and worms, and then fish with bendy necks, which dragged themselves out of the water into swampy forests, the book goes on to tell of massive creatures - the dinosaurs. Long, long after that, along came Man. With delightful illustrations including lots of detail and humour, this is an excellent way to introduce children to evolution and to encourage them to make their own discoveries and form their own ideas.

Exploring Nature: Amazing Snakes by Barbara Taylor

With over 180 superb colour photos of snakes of all sizes and colours, this is definitely a book for snake lovers! Often maligned, this book will set the record straight - and perhaps will make some new friends for snakes! Packed with facts - which snakes are poisonous? Which snakes are deadly? Why do some lay eggs and some give birth to live young? With 23 informative spreads, there is everything you need to know - from food and hunting, to skin, teeth, colour and camouflage. More detail is given in the 6 feature spreads too. As well as learning about the zoology of snakes, their place in different cultures and ages is also explored. A fascinating and well-presented book which gives us a good understanding of these creatures.

The Dog Lover's Guide by Honor Head

Getting a dog is a huge commitment, so for any parent whose child says they want a dog, this excellent guide would be perfect to get well before making any decision. From choosing your dog - and even whether a dog is right for you - and onto house training to playing games, there is lots of information. The first section is about choosing and preparing for a dog, and its first days at home. Beautiful photographs of popular dog breeds from accompany key facts about each breed, helping readers decide on the perfect pet. There is an interesting summary of various breeds, but you will need to do more research into this aspect before choosing. The third section is all about understanding your dog, and will help both you and your dog enjoy your lives together. It's a friendly approachable book, full of commonsense advice.

150 Amazing Science Experiments by Chris Oxlade

If you've got a budding scientist at home who loves experimenting, then this is the book for you! With 150 fascinating science experiments, this book will keep young scientists happily engaged for many, many hours. Each experiment is illustrated with full colour photos - over 1300 in all - as well as diagrams to show how and why things work. Split into four sections - earth sciences, natural history, technology and transport -it is easy to find experiments relating to each area of the science curriculum. This practical book uses materials and equipment easily available at home, or inexpensive and simple to purchase. Each experiment has a useful introduction, explaining the scientific principle. The step-by-step instructions are easy to follow and very clearly explained so children will have confidence to tackle the experiments for themselves. Fantastic value, this super book will encourage children to see how exciting and how much fun science is and they will gain a practical understanding about our everyday world and how things work.

Exploring Science: Volcanoes & Earthquakes by Robin Kerrod

The subtitle of this enticing book tells us it is 'an Amazing Fact File and Hands-on Project Book: With 19 Easy-to-do Experiments and 280 Exciting Pictures'. The book takes a comprehensive look at volcanoes and earthquakes for KS2 pupils but takes learning much further by encouraging children to find out for themselves just how these phenomena work; this approach will embed their learning, making it much more meaningful. Each topic - for example Fire from below and The active earth - is covered on a two page spread and generously illustrated with clearly labelled colour photos and clear diagrams. The projects follow the appropriate sections and set out the experiments clearly with step-by-step instructions illustrated with photos; the equipment needed is photographed too, and there is safety advice. I love the combination of book learning and hands-on science, and so will children.

The Solar System by Alexander Gordon Smith

This book's cover tells us it is 'A Breathtaking Tour of the Universe and How it Works with More Than 300 Incredible Photographs and Illustrations' - and the contents don't disappoint. The detailed information, which gives all and more that KS2 pupils need to know, explores our own star system and its place in our galaxy and the universe itself. Beyond our galaxy, it explores the heavens, examining black holes, other solar systems and distant galaxies, and speculates about the future of space travel; it also looks at creation myths, astrology and the history of space discovery. The photography is exceptional - over 300 amazing photographs and detailed diagrams brings our amazing universe to life and shows just how wonderful it all is. From from the tiniest piece of space junk to vast nebulae, this book covers it all, making it a fascinating home reference guide which will be of interest to all ages - a superb book and once again, excellent value from Armadillo.

Lift-the-Flap General Knowledge (Usborne See Inside) by Alex Frith

I am a big fan of this series of books by Usborne. Children find them great fun to use and the novelty value and visual approach mean that facts are easily memorised. Divided into a range of appealing sections, including When Did it Happen? Treasure Trove and Science Lab, each two page spread has a huge array of knowledge, graphically presented and with even more information hidden beneath the multitude of flaps. The facts themselves are bound to appeal to children and they will delight in sharing them with adults. Produced on card, with high quality illustrations and flaps that are easy to open, this book guarantees many hours of pleasure - a great gift.

Henry Tate by Bruce Ingman

Henry Tate left us a marvellous legacy - one we should all appreciate. Henry Tate was a successful businessman - we all know he built a sugar factory and became a rich man. As an art lover, he wanted to share his wonderful collection, so he built the Tate Gallery and that, of course, was followed by three more, making art accessible to all. This simple story is told wittily and illustrated delightfully. It includes a fold-out of Mr Tate's gallery - how many paintings can you and your child identify? A perfect book for young art-lovers and an ideal introduction to a great collection.

Creaturepedia (Wide Eyed) by Adrienne Barman

This exceptional book is a real work of art; one that will be enjoyed by all ages and pored over time and again. The animal kingdom is wonderous in its variety and here we are introduced to animals from all over the world, each chosen for its special talents and characteristics. Full of intriguing facts, this book is crammed with information and is a real delight to read. The illustrations are detailed and engaging and cleverly interwoven with the text to produce a book that is sheer delight from start to finish. meet 'the big mouths', 'the mountaineers', 'the endangered', 'the homebodies', 'the faithful' and many more, all cleverly grouped to show their strong characteristics - it will change your view of animals!

Pharaoh's Handbook (Usborne Handbook) by Sam Taplin

All aspiring Pharaohs should have this book to hand! Too late, of course, but it would have been ideal for all young Pharaohs, so they would have known what awaited them. It reminds them just how powerful Pharaohs were, how they worked, fought and lived and - of course - how they died, including helpful tips on how to be mummified and survive the journey to the afterlife. It's a superb way to make history come alive and to enhance classroom learning. With plentiful illustrations and some very amusing speech bubbles, this book speaks directly to the young Pharaoh, giving an excellent picture of life in Ancient Egypt. Superbly presented and hugely enjoyable.

Scholastic Discover More: Animal Faces by Penelope Arlon

This colourful book is packed with close-up photos of animal faces with plenty of interesting facts. Many animals are featured and the book shows us the amazing variety of the animal kingdom. The differentiated text within this book makes it excellent for readers in both KS1 and KS2. The main text uses simple language and a large clear font; the more detailed text is in a smaller font with more complex language. Well presented and on thick paper which will cope with plenty of enthusiastic handling, this is a superb book to capture young readers' attention.

Animalium (Welcome to the Museum) by Jenny Broom

There is just no way a review can do justice to this fabulous book. For starters, it's HUGE! Beautifully laid out, just as though you were in a museum, you can browse at will through the galleries (invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) after you have absorbed the Tree of Animal Life at the entrance. Then, when you have finished, visit the Library where all the animals are listed. In between, revel in the wonderfully detailed coloured drawings which accompany the description of each creature. The size of this book allows the plates to show in great detail all the animals - and they are quite wonderful to see. If anyone should say that printed books are outmoded - show them this sublime book. It will amaze children and adults and give hours of browsing in your very own 'museum'.

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

This is such a good concept - it's hard to appreciate the true size of animals when we meet them thorough the pages of a book. This excellent book helps children put animals into context and visualise what they look like in real life - and how they compare with other creatures. Just how big is a crocodile? What about a tiger, or the world's largest spider? Can you imagine a tongue that is two feet long or an eye that is bigger than your head? Now is your chance to find out through the pages of this fascinating book with its creatures large and small. Too big for the book? No problem - there's a fold-out sheet to accommodate the biggest creatures. It's beautifully presented; a generously sized book with thick creamy pages which set off the illustrations perfectly. Each illustration is full of detail and very eye-catching - the Siberian tiger is quite terrifying!

Viking Longship (Fly on the Wall) by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Be swept into the world of the Vikings through the dramatic pages of this exceptional book and see history in the making in this fly's eye view. The eye-catching presentation will engage children from the start as they follow the story of the Viking longship as it sails the seas, is wrecked and repaired, and takes part in an invasion. Learn all sorts of fascinating facts about the ruthless Vikings - watch ship builders at work, charge into battle, visit a Viking farmstead, visit Jorvik on market day and listen to stories about the Viking gods; the reader will be totally engrossed by the action-packed pictures and engaging text. A superb book which will be ideal for KS2 pupils studying the Vikings, for anyone interested in history - and to get everyone interested in history!

Roman Fort (Fly on the Wall) by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Another eye-catching book from a pair of superlative writers for children. The text and illustrations are cleverly interwoven to lead the reader through the pages, absorbing lots of facts on the way. The book has an informal feel, far removed from traditional textbooks, with colourful line drawings and 'hand written' text which draws the reader in through the use of questions. Enjoy history as it really happened as you patrol with a windswept centurion, eavesdrop on Roman nobles – Candidus and Flavinus – in the smelly toilets and dine at a tasty banquet. It's perfectly compiled for its target audience - history has never been such fun!

Basher Science: The Periodic Table by Adrian Dingle and Dan Green

Who said the periodic table is boring? Not with this entertaining guide which nonetheless, manages to convey all the basic facts that pupils at KS2 and 3 will need to know. Meet every element in the periodic table in this new edition and get to know them personally through the pages of this book. Each element introduces him (or should that be her) self and gives the reader a run-down of his main characteristics - the key chemical facts, usage and colour. There's a drawing of each and the fun style of these will help pupils remember. Each element has a double page to itself and there's a colourful poster with every element/character included. This is a wonderful way to learn - such a clever way to present what could be a very dull topic. Brilliant!

Early People (DK Eyewonder)

KS2 pupils will be learning about early people, so this book will be an excellent introduction to stimulate them to develop a real interest. Going back to time before written records the book starts with the earliest human-like apes and through the use of Stone Age tools onto the discovery of fire and development of agriculture and into the dawn of civilization. With the superb presentation for which DK is renowned, the combination of fascinating facts and stunning images, makes these early people real for young people. There is plenty to get the reader involved, including stickers, puzzles and quizzes.

Rebel Science by Dan Green

Science doesn't always go the way it is expected to! But not working out as planned need not be a problem as this interesting book shows with its novel approach to science. Many of our modern marvels, miraculous medicines and magnificent machines owe their origin to unexpected results of scientific exploration. The jazzy layout of the book is dramatic and eye-catching and bound to appeal to its target audience as they meet the rebel scientists who were determined to bring their ideas to fruition. It's a fascinating read, one I can see adults picking up and browsing through with as much interest as children. Fascinating.

Marie-Antoinette: A Historical Tale by Catherine de Duve

This attractive book will capture attention from the start with its sparkly bow which attaches a sparkly eye mask to the book - just like the queen would have worn. Marie-Antoinette began life as an Austrian princess and become the notorious but stylish Queen of France. At Versailles, she must follow the rules - and she sets fashion. In private, she spends time with her family. This beautifully produced book is a real joy - the shiny white paper is home to a whole collection of reproductions of paintings and other illustrative material. A lovely way to learn about an intriguing and ultimately tragic character. ISBN 9782875750228, published by Happy Museum February 2015.

Basher Science: Climate Change by Dan Green

Another brilliant book from Basher, who knows just how to make science appealing and exciting - give these books to any child who finds science boring or hard to understand and see how much they enjoy them. Climate change is something we all need to understand and this clear and easy to understand guide helps us all know our carbon cycle from our carbon footprint and greenhouse effect from greenhouse. Basher has a superb style which uses characters to introduce each aspect of the topic - so you will meet Meet Atmosphere, Solar Cycles, Greenhouse Effect and many more intriguing climate characters and learn all about them. Superb - Basher really makes science alive.

Henri Matisse (Meet the Artist Series) by Patricia Geis

This wonderful book had me engaged right from the first page; it's presented to appeal to children but adults will be very appreciative of its wonderful production values. Thick creamy card is the background for all manner of interactive pop-ups and lift-the-flaps. The book gives an overview of Matisse's artistic career, covering each significant period, including sculpture, fauve paintings, his friendship with Picasso and his remarkable paper cut-outs. Lift up paintings to learn about them see Dance II come to life; see how he used light and much, much more. An inspirational book, beautifully executed, that will really make children appreciate the wonderful works of art produced by Matisse.

Full Speed Ahead!: How Fast Things Go by Cruschiform

A lovely book for all children with enquiring minds. It will provide plenty of talking points with some surprising facts - did you know a tornado travels faster than a race car? This unusual book directly compares the speeds of animals, modes of transport and forces of nature in a clear and visually-striking album format, with beautiful artwork set against striking blue backgrounds; overall the book has a satisfyingly old-fashioned appeal. Objects are grouped from slowest to fastest, with objects of the same speed on the same spread, creating fascinating match races. A glossary gives additional information on each object featured in the book. An unusual and appealing book perfect to dip into.

You Wouldn't Want to Live Without Toilets! by Fiona MacDonald

Learn about some of the alternatives to toilets - and be thankful for our flushing toilets! This intriguing book - one that is bound to appeal to children - takes us on a historical journey to discover some of the weird ways people coped without the blessing of flush toilets. Toilets are symbols of cleanliness and civilization and have saved millions of lives. Packed full of fascinating facts, accompanied by wonderful cartoon style illustrations which show us some of the problems experienced, this will engross young (and probably older) readers from beginning to end. With this book as your guide, you’ll be taken on a historical journey from chamber pots and cesspits to earth closets and privies, as well as discovering the marvelous high-tech inventions happening every day. Fun and informative.

Rain Forest (A Closer Look At...) by Margot Channing

This stunningly illustrated book takes a fascinating look at the world of the rainforest, from the top of the trees to the floor of the forest, not forgetting the rivers. Meet the creatures, and the people, who inhabit this world and find out about the threats facing them. A double-page spread introduces the subject and whets the appetite; this is followed by spreads exploring aspects of the subject in more detail. Attractive layout, with fact-filled text boxes linked to superb colour photography, make this an enticing book to give children plenty of information. The photography includes extreme close-ups and cutaways for children to marvel over. This presentation will stimulate children's interest, and the clearly presented information will answer their questions.

Tell Me a Picture by Quentin Blake

In 2001, Quentin Blake chose 26 of his favourite paintings, by artists from A to Z, for an exhibition at the National Gallery. The range of work he chose is wide, including fine artists and children’s illustrators. Each has a story to tell and Quentin Blake has encouraged the reader to look for the story by including drawings and captions on the opposite page which give a starting point for investigating the story told in the picture. It's a wonderful way to introduce children to art and to get their imaginations working as they interpret the pictures for themselves. The book would make a superb basis for a class project - it will stimulate plenty of discussion. An unusual and stimulating approach to art.

The Holocaust (Young Reading series 3) by Susanna Davidson

Sensitively handled to be age-appropriate, this book tells the story of the Holocaust from the ancient roots of anti-Semitism back in Bible times through persecution in Post-World War One Europe and the horrors of the 'Final Solution'. It's a terrifying story, as we all know, and care must be taken when sharing it with children, however well handled the account is. The book combines first hand testimony from Holocaust survivors with historical facts, all illustrated with appropriate documentary photography. It's a vivid and compelling account which will raise many questions in children's minds. Both this and Anne Frank (below) are titles in Usborne's 'Young Reading Series Three', which is aimed at children whose reading ability and confidence allows them to tackle longer and more complex stories. The books provide an excellent way to engage children with non fiction told in an engaging and engrossing narrative style.

Anne Frank (Famous Lives) by Susanna Davidson

The narrative style of this book makes it easy and enjoyable to read, quickly drawing children into the account of Anne's life. The use of a very clear font and carefully selected text makes it ideal for young confident readers and the attractive layout is an excellent way to encourage a love for books. The illustrations, in the form of contemporary photographs, bring the story vividly to life as we learn about Anne's carefree early days, the family in hiding and her final journey to Bergen-Belsen. This account of the courageous young girl will hopefully encourage children to read her diary.

Deadly!: The Truth About the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth by Nicola Davies

The ways of nature are quite amazing! Learn the fascinating truth about some of the most deadly creatures on earth - stabbing and strangling, poisoning and drowning, electrocuting, exploding, dive-bombing and even glueing to death are some of the amazing ways predators get the better of their prey. Despite the subject matter, though, the book manages to bring in plenty of humour, and makes an engaging read for all ages. The hilarious cartoons by Neal Layton are wonderful and hugely entertaining. The book is well written with plenty of valuable information - and advice about sharing our world with these marvellous creatures. A refreshing and original approach.

How To Be a Spy by Dan Waddell

Meet Agent X - an ordinary boy whose life changes when he is recruited as a spy by his uncle. This entertaining scrapbook style book takes you through every step on Agent X's journey to uncover an evil plot and save humanity from everlasting war - no pressure then! Learn how to create a secret identity, beat a lie detector test, pass information to other spies and spot a double agent through the action-packed pages and multitude of flaps to investigate. There's even a wheel to create secret codes and a letter from Downing Street! Brilliantly presented, this is great fun and full of fascinating information.

Poo: A Natural History of the Unmentionable (Animal Science) by Nicola Davies

I can see this book flying off the shelves - what child will be able to resist? Poo - did you know that hippos navigate by it, sloths keep in touch through it and rabbits eat it? Probably not, because it is the subject that must not be mentioned! The book is full of fascinating information - and all scientifically based, of course. Neal Layton's wonderful cartoon illustrations are a key part of the book, adding both information and entertainment. I can pretty well guarantee that adults will find it just as engrossing as children do - even if they don't want to admit it!

Richard Hammond's Mysteries of the World: Weird Waters (Great Mysteries of the World) by Richard Hammond

Richard Hammond has a seemingly insatiable appetite for weird and wonderful facts and in this series of books, he presents a whole range of information for everyone to enjoy. Have you ever wondered - was the lost city of Atlantis real? Do mermaids exist outside stories? And where is everybody who was on the Marie Celeste? The author presents the evidence - the mission, the kit and the evidence he found; then it's over to you to decide what happened! Richard Hammond's Mysteries of the World: Ancient Treasures (Great Mysteries of the World)will be great for those studying ancient peoples at school, as they will respond well to the engaging and lively writing and the opportunity to find out more about great ancient mysteries.

Richard Hammond's Mysteries of the World: Creepy Creatures (Great Mysteries of the World) by Richard Hammond

Is the Loch Ness Monster real? Are you in danger of running into a yeti? And do werewolves and vampires exist outside teenage romance? Find out how people in the past have tried to investigate these weird beings, then find out what the real evidence is for their existence - if any. Aliens - do they exist or not? Richard Hammond's Mysteries of the World: Alien Encounters (Great Mysteries of the World)might help you to decide - and even if it doesn't, it's a fun and informative read. It's up to you to decide; or perhaps you will set out to make your own journey of discovery. The books are a good way to stimulate discussion and perhaps to form the basis for some creative writing.

Introduction to Genes and DNA from Usborne

I was really impressed with the way this book makes a really complex subject easy to understand - adults could learn from it too! It explains the science of genetics and DNA in an approachable and understandable way, starting with basic biological structure and function and moving on to topics for debate including genetic engineering and cloning. As with many Usborne books the book includes safe internet links allow readers to explore further and to discover the most up-to-date developments online. There is a huge amount of information packed into this book and excellent use of illustrative material enhances understanding.

Survival by Henry Brook

This is a fascinating book with a really novel presentation which offers the use of many different formats to engage children and offer something, whatever learning style they prefer. It is a guide to survival in a huge range of extreme conditions and inhospitable environments. Particularly notable is the interesting and appropriate use of comic strip art. Superb photographic material is used including some good close-up photography which really shows the dangers! It's practical too, with lots of useful tips.

Super Optical Illusions (Carlton Kids) by Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber

This intriguing book uses colour, angles and ambiguity to trick the eye.. and then comes the interesting bit - it gives you fascinating explanations of what you are seeing and why you see it. I found myself having to go back to the pictures over and again to see what I really had seen! Often, optical illusions are black and white but here we have a fantastic range of colourful illusions. An additional, and very welcome, feature, is the inclusion of two optical illusions to make - a zoetrope and a thaumatrope. Enthralling - you'll never believe your eyes again!

The Story of Britain by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

My favourite non-fiction pairing ever, this time turning their talented attention to the history of Britain 'from way back when to here right now!' As ever, we find text and picture perfectly linked to provide an engrossing insight - the perfect introduction to the fascinating history of our nation. From the Iron Age, Stonehenge, the Celts, the Romans and the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, then on to the marvels of the Medieval era, the Tudors and Stuarts, the Industrial Revolution, the Victorians and the 20th century right up to the modern day, the text engages and informs, perfectly complemented by the illustrations which are packed with detail. The exciting story is supplemented by many amazing facts and introduces key figures from kings, queens and military leaders to scientists, artists and writers. The speech bubbles add amusing and informative anecdotes. Who could fail to find history enthralling when presented so well?

National Geographic Collection of Animal Stories from National Geographic Kids

This beautifully presented hardback will make the ideal gift for any young animal lover. Animal stories of all kinds (funny, touching, sad and surprising) but all true - span countries and centuries. Read about the Capitolene geese who saved the Roman empire, Balto the Alaskan sled dog, Smoky the Bear, the passenger pigeon of WWI Cher Ami, and the latest internet sensation Christian the lion; a wonderful variety and testament to the vital part animals play in our lives. The lively illustrations capture the beauties of the natural world in stunning artwork. A book to treasure and to return to over and again.

Angry Birds Explore the World by National Geographic Kids

Using such popular characters is guaranteed to attract children's attention so it's a great strategy. They can join their favorite Angry Birds characters as they fly around the world. The magazine style format with colourful and engaging presentation and spectacular photography will help children explore cool places, new cultures and wild creatures on all seven continents and stimulate the desire to learn more - and to travel themselves! Meet all manner of creatures and enjoy a revealing a bird's-eye view of their habitats and the geographical features, landmarks and monuments found where they live. Brilliantly done.

Children's Book of Magic from DK

This enthralling book goes far beyond being a how-to-do-it book although it does include step-by-step instructions for 20 magic tricks. It explains the history of magic, right back to Ancient Egypt and on through alchemists, witchcraft and onto stage magic. Learn about great magicians including Harry Houdini to Albertus Magnus; find out what they used and how they created their illusions - and kept their secrets. With stunning illustrations and photos throughout, this is a perfect book for anyone interested in magic. Set up your own magic show - learn how to how to cut a person in half, make objects levitate, appear and disappear! The clear instructions make it all seem possible for everyone... so why not try for yourself?

The Ultimate Guide to Music by Joe Fullman

This fascinating book combines the best of modern technology with an engaging and attractive book. It's a comprehensive introduction to music and to the instruments of the orchestra for children. The free downloadable app allows the reader to interact with the orchestra and listen to Benjamin Britten's Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra (performed by The Royal Northern College of Music Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Sir Mark Elder) - surely the best-ever way to learn about the various instruments. Music is a key part of the curriculum and this exciting interactive approach is the perfect way to support that and to develop and encourage a love for music. The book covers the history of music and composers as well as the instruments. Each is explained clearly with plenty of really effective illustrative material. An excellent book.

True or False? from DK

This is the sort of book that Dorling Kindersley do better than anyone else! Guaranteed to enthrall and engage, all ages will find this totally fascinating. The book takes a look at all manner of common sayings and shows whether they are true or false. Is there a dark side of the moon? Does a frightened ostrich bury its head in the sand? Do mice really like cheese? Each question is explored and answered in depth, with plenty of additional related facts and statistics to inform and entertain. All, of course, superbly illustrated with exceptional photos and diagrams. A superb book for every family's bookshelf and one that will be dipped into repeatedly - great for resolving arguments!

Wow! Surprising Facts about Pirates (Wow! I Didn't Know That) by Philip Steele

All aboard for a fact-filled pirate exploration! Each page, which is generously illustrated, is set against a bright coloured background and includes a whole range of fascinating facts which will intrigue and inform the young reader. The eye-catching presentation and easy to read style will really appeal. This is one in an excellent new series presented in a colourful and engaging way designed to capture the attention of even reluctant readers.

Get Into Art: Places: Discover great art - and create your own! by Susie Brooks

This is a great way to encourage children to both appreciate great art and to develop their own creativity. The book features twelve excellently presented artworks along with information about the work and the artist. The art chosen is wide-ranging and excellent in its variety - artists include Raoul Dufy, Paul Klee and Canaletto. After enjoying the art, lift the flap to reveal an art project inspired by the work. The book explores a fascinating array of places from snowy landscapes to mountains to busy street scenes, meaning there is something to appeal to everyone. The projects are varied and stimulating and the book will make a great resource for home or school use.

Discover Science: Reptiles by Belinda Weber

Reptiles are fascinating creatures and this colourful book takes a look at them through their various attributes rather than by individual creature. This gives a good overview of them as a whole and makes a refreshing change from approaching by individual species. The pages are in full colour with striking photographs to capture the attention. The text is well differentiated with good use of fonts to make the book accessible. There are many extra features - craft activities, a glossary, quiz, index and parent/teacher notes. Put together, this makes an excellent resource and ideal for class or home use.

In One End and Out The Other by Mike Goldsmith

What child will be able to resist dipping into this fascinating book? How do you digest food? Why is poo brown? What is pee made of? As children explore the answer sand join two children in their own exploration in this colourful and fascinating book, they will find over 50 flaps which hide even more intriguing information. It's an engaging presentation which makes it easy for children to remember the information and it supports KS2 learning very well. Starting with eating, the book takes us through food's journey through the body and out on its way to the sewage works. It's an intriguing and informative look at the topic which clearly shows what happens and answers a lot of questions on the way. Great presentation and very engaging.

Book by John Agard

The story of the book as told by Book himself. From its origins in oral story and clay tablets onto papyrus, parchment and paper; through the wonders of printing and into the ebook era, this is an engrossing history. and on being a scroll who finally gets a spine. We see him lovingly illuminated by monks in medieval This is a clever and unusual book which makes you meditate on the power of the written word - ably abetted by Book's musings on how he has changed over the years and on the impact he has had on us all. Black and white illustrations expand the theme and give us more to think about. a wonderful introduction to how books - and reading - have evolved; it would make an excellent basis for a classroom project.

Children's Activity Atlas by Jenny Slater

This ideal first atlas is full of engaging activities to help children learn all about different countries and where they are in relation to each other. Basic geographic information including countries or states, capital cities, principal mountains, rivers and lakes is included on colourful maps of continents and geographic areas. A range of activities encourages children to interact with the maps by adding flags and stickers which teach more about the area. There is a passport to complete and postcards to send. The passport is packed with information and questions to help children learn and put their learning into context. Well thought out and well presented (the activity sheets are all neatly housed), this is an excellent way to encourage children to find out about our world.

The National Archives: The Gunpowder Plot Unclassified by Nick Hunter

Using accounts and artefacts from the period, all illustrated in compelling detail, we learn about Robert Catesby and Guy Fawkes; about the plans behind this incredible part of history and how they were prevented just in time. By using source material, children are learning important research skills as well as gaining an understanding of history from contemporary reports and images. The National Archives is "the UK government's official archive, containing 1,000 years of history"; as such, it contains the most amazing amount of information and to me it is wonderful to see this information presented in such as accessible way so everyone can benefit.

Clash of the Dinos: Watch Dinosaurs Do Battle! by Jinny Johnson

Some dinosaurs were gentle vegetation-eating giants; others were ferocious fighters - this exciting book tells us of their fights (often to the death) to survive. With dramatic reconstructions, the pictures show just how these battles may have been fought, with each dinosaur's strengths and weaknesses exposed. Two page spreads include classification, time period, habitat and size, as well as outlining the creature's weapons, tactics and armour. A fascinating look at a topic which is a trusted favourite with children.

The Secrets of Stonehenge by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

A book from this talented duo is always a real treat! Who can fail to be amazed and mystified by the wonder of Stonehenge? Now children can be drawn into its wonders through this fascinating book that really helps us get inside the characters of Ancient Britain and the building of Stonehenge. Told as an engaging story with lots of speech bubbles, plus detailed factual information alongside, the plentiful annotated illustrations give an insight into the toil that went into moving and erecting the huge stones. Intricately detailed, the pictures give a wealth of information and are fun to look at as well. The latest research has been used - I learnt a lot from this fascinating book and it's an excellent complement to the recent changes that have taken place at Stonehenge to improve the visitor experience.

Let's Talk About Where Babies Come From by Robie Harris and Michael Emberley

A new edition of a book first published 15 years ago this book focuses on the central part played by families - of all types - and love. Perfect for sharing with children of 7+, it gives all they need to know about babies, reproduction, bodies, chromosomes, genes, growing up, love, health and lots more, and is the perfect starting point for discussion. It's reassuring in its approach and the humorous commentary from an inquisitive bird and a squeamish bee will make children feel comfortable with the book, as will the full-colour cartoon-strip illustrations. An excellent book and one that will be used over several years as need arises.

Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland

Subtitled: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe, this eye-catching ginormous book really stands out - it will make a great centrepiece for a display of countries around the world. This lavishly illustrated book takes the reader on an axciting trip around the world with more than 100 activities and challenges to inspire armchair adventurers of any age. There are hundreds of things to spot and new facts to learn about every destination. An inspiring book that will encourage the reader to find out more about the countries and encourage them to travel to see them for themselves. The generous size makes it great to share - excellent in the classroom. This is the debut title from Wide Eyed Editions, a new imprint of Quarto Books - I can't wait to see what comes next!

The Awesome Book of Awesomeness by Adam Frost

Packed with almost unbelievable facts, this is a book to intrigue and entertain - and to make you question whether these amazing things can really be true! Illustrated throughout with infographic type illustrations, the presentation is lively and a great way to engage reluctant readers. Have you ever wondered which animal is the most preyed on... how big was the biggest-ever hamburger... which animal only needs two hours sleep...? If you love weird facts, this is the book for you.

The Usborne Children's Encyclopedia

I have always been a huge fan of Usborne's encyclopedias and used them extensively with my own children. Friendly and accessible, it is arranged by themes, eg our world, history and how things work, which is far more effective for children that straight alphabetical listing, as it enables them to relate topics together. Different text sizes help to differentiate the information so children can look at the level of detail they need. There is a massive amount of information here, but the presentation and use of images is so good that it never feels overwhelming. Regularly updated and always in line with latest trends, this latest edition has over 150 QR links and over 650 internet links, meaning children have quick access to a huge amount of knowledge - and safely too )although parents should always supervise). An excellent encyclopedia to support learning through the primary years.

The Story of Money by Martin Jenkins

This intriguing book will fascinate adult and child alike with its gently humorous - sometimes tongue-in-cheek - approach to something we all find essential. The author explores the history of money from its earliest beginnings to the electronic banking of today. Along the way we learn about hunter gatherers, barter, clay tablets, goat swapping, precious metals, hard bargains, IOUs, interest, coins, Romans, taxes, inflation, paper money, currencies and exchange rates - phew! All interspersed with quirky anecdotes and fun-filled illustrations that really bring the topic to life in a memorable way.

Animals by Camilla de le Bédoyère

When I opened this book, it was nothing like I had expected! I was anticipating another book with a two page spread on each creature - and nothing wrong with that. But this is totally and wonderfully different - it's a veritable menagerie of creatures. By colour - by type - by number - and all illustrated in a way that is reminiscent of old-fashioned zoological drawings; quite superb. Through the pages of this engaging book, children can count the number of fish in a shoal, find out who has the strangest beak, learn about the fastest, the biggest, the most colourful and the strangest. A book to treasure and to return to over and over again.

Creatures of the Deep by Camilla Bédoyère

From the very largest to the microscopic, this stunning book takes us into the deep to find some of nature’s strangest creatures. Intricately drawn artworks highlight the extraordinary features of each animal's anatomy. Similarly, stunning photos reveal the animals' abilities, from bioluminescence to jet propulsion. Full of fascinating facts and well labelled pictures, this is a great insight into the wonders that lie beneath our oceans.

Body Works by Anna Claybourne

Take a tour of the wonders of the human body from the hair on your head to the tips of your toes. Packed with outstanding facts and amazing pictures, Body Works is sure to keep young readers captivated as they learn about the functions of different organs and body parts. Lively and informative text is supported by clearly labelled illustrations and detailed photographs. There are 20 hands-on activities, from testing lung capacity to making a model stomach, all designed to enhance understanding; a large poster of the human body is included. There's an added touch of gruesomeness too - just what children enjoy!

I Love: Cats and Kittens by David Alderton

If you already have a cat, this is the book for you. If you don't have one - then that might just change! This is a super introduction to cats and kittens, covering over 50 popular breeds from all around the world. From the affectionate and loyal Maine Coon, to the elegant and majestic Siamese, you are sure to find your favourite breed in this essential guide, illustrated with up to four photographs included per cat, the beauty and character of each breed is fully captured while their individual qualities are explored in the introductory text. Oohs and aahs guaranteed!

Dead or Alive? by Clive Gifford

These are the creatures who by rights shouldn't be here! They are the incredible survivors of the animal world: heroic pets, frauds and fakers, long-living legends and sneaky tricksters. All sorts of curious creatures, including tough tardigrades, courageous cats, plucky pigeons and even zombie crabs can be found in this intriguing book with an unusual and quirky layout which grabs the attention.

The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Starting with the early days of each, the book moves on to their first bands and then the formation of The Beatles, their time in Hamburg and back to the famous Cavern. Beatlemania takes hold and we follow the band through their time together until Sergeant Pepper and Apple Records, and then their final days and what happened after. A colourful timeline puts it all into context. The facts have all been checked by Beatles historian Colin Hall, so this is a book that can be trusted. Yes, this is a book for for children of course and the author/illustrator succeed brilliantly in presenting non-fiction books for youngsters in an engaging and informative way, but the presentation is so well thought out that adults will also enjoy this book. An excellent look at the greatest band in the world and their impact on music.

All About the Commonwealth (One Shot) by Anita Ganeri

This looks at the history of the Commonwealth from its start right up to the present day. It includes information on the British Empire and the independence of its former colonies, the role of our present Queen, how the Commonwealth works today, mutual co-operation such as trade and aid, and cultural activities including the Commonwealth Games. It clearly shows that the Commonwealth still has an important part to play for its associated countries and its important in bringing together disparate nations. Excellent colour photos clearly show children how varied the Commonwealth countries are.

Utterly Amazing Science by Robert Winston

If any child says that science is boring, change their minds with this amazing book! With the help of pop-ups, pull-outs, flaps, sliders and incredible science facts children can gain a real understanding of science that will enthuse them to investigate further. The interactive features are not simply eye-catching gimics but really do help explain how things work - even the contents page has flaps!  There are plenty of experiments for children to try at home too. Coupled with plenty of illustrations and easy to understand text, this really will help your child understand the building blocks of science, and be an excellent support for KS2 science.

Who's Who in: British History by Robert Fowke

This A to Z guide covers all sorts of fascinating characters from British history - artists, soldiers, criminals, traitors, tyrants and saints; they're all here! It's entertaining and packed with information presented in a lively way that makes it highly readable, whether you want to know more about a particular person or just want to know more about the great characters who made out island what it is. A comprehensive book with everyone you'd expect - and some you wouldn't! The writing and presentation are engaging - great short bios to read aloud when studying a new person.

The Real: India by Sunny Chopra

There is plenty of information about the geography of countries, but what really interest most people, and children especially, is what it's like to live there or visit - and how to make the most out of a visit. This series takes the reader inside the country and tells them about all the key things they need to know. With plenty of photos, the reader will learn about, among other things, eating, entertainment, sport and religion. Useful tips for travellers conclude the book - a good series with an interesting approach.

Go Figure: A Maths Journey through Space by Anne Rooney

Practical maths is a great way to approach the subject and to engage pupils who may find maths challenging or boring. This innovative series capitalises on children's interest in other topics and highlights how maths is an essential part of every aspect of life. This real-life maths journey includes number, geometry, statistics, ratio and proportion, algebra and measurement in an exciting and highly visual way. Maths challenges use real life data and fascinating facts to solve mathematical problems that will help children take their own journey through space. Engaging and a great way to cover key topics.

The History Detective Investigates: The Vikings by Clare Hibbert

The 2014 curriculum requires children to study the Vikings, so this well presented book will be welcomed by both teachers and parents. Using attractive books like this is an excellent way to stimulate children to enjoy discovering and learning. The book makes good use of archaeological evidence to explain how we know about the Vikings, their lives and culture - maps, paintings, artefacts and photographs all play a part. The text is extensive and gives an excellent overview of this important people and their role in the history of our country. The book is part of an extensive series - the back if the book, interestingly, lists the contents of the other titles to whet the appetite.

The Power of Sloth by Lucy Cooke

The Power of Sloth is Lucy Cooke's celebration of the sloth: a book not just for children but for all who are fascinated by these beautiful and charismatic creatures. The delightful photographs of these cute and cuddly creatures are accompanied by a simple text which tells us all about sloths and why we should protect them - if, like me, you just think of sloths as being idle, this book will be a revelation.

Super Scientists: Charles Darwin by Sarah Ridley

The study of evolution is a compulsory part of the curriculum and learning about Charles Darwin will be a key part of this. From his early life as the son of a wealthy doctor, this account takes us through his voyage on HMS Beagle, the development of his evolutionary theories and the publication of On the Origin of Species and on to his death and burial in Westminster Abbey. A large-scale timeline is found on every spread and this is an excellent device to help children put events into chronological context. Super Scientists are first biographies introducing some of the world's great scientists, simply told to be suitable for 6 to 8 year olds. their lives and explaining why their work was important

Inspirational Lives: Andy Murray by Clive Gifford

High profile public figures can provide children with inspiration and sportspeople in particular capture their interest. Andy Murray is a history-making tennis champion who, in 2013, became the first British man in 77 years to win the Wimbledon men's singles final. The previous year, he won Olympic gold and silver at the London Games. He uses his high profile to raise money for charities and to encourage children to take up sport. We learn about Andy Murray from his early days to his Wimbledon win, and find out the impact he has made. and there is an interesting page 'Have you got what it takes to be a tennis champion?'. 'Inspiration' boxes are a good feature, with tips that children can apply to themselves. Plenty of photos contribute to the eye-catching layout.

Discover Countries: Italy by Kelly Davis

Whether visiting another country for a holiday or studying it at school, this series gives a good overview of the country's physical geography, population, health, settlements, family life, beliefs, education, employment, economy, industry, trade, farming, food, transport, communications, leisure, tourism, environment and wildlife. A lot to cover, so the content is succinct but this title gives a good flavour of Italy to encourage further research - aided by the useful sources of further information. The book includes maps, statistics panels and simple graphs and charts plus a topic web showing links with this series to other subject areas.

Living in the UK: England by Annabelle Lynch

The four countries (September 2014) of the UK are covered in this series of books which would make an excellent introduction for foreign students visiting any of the countries - or a good gift for exchange students. As with the other books in the series, this highlights the differences and similarities between the countries through easy to read text and plenty of photos. Each topic is introduced by a different English child, giving the book a good friendly feel and making it easy for children to relate to. Find out what makes England special, from its great capital city, to the landscape, people, food and things to see and do. Simply worded text and attractive layout make this a good book for lower KS2.

Wildlife Wonders: Why Do Plants Have Flowers? by Julia Bird

This book made an instant impact with its use of vivid colours, patterned backgrounds and clearly defined fact boxes in a variety of shapes as well as some stunning photography. It describes how plants have evolved over time, and looks at how flowers, seeds and pollination developed. Behaviour, habitats and adaptation all also feature. The series explores the key characteristics that divide the main animal and plant groups, and looks at how these characteristics have evolved over time - this Will fit well with KS2 study of evolution. The book contains plenty of amazing facts to engage children's attention - and these are the things they will remember.

The Totally Amazing Atlas of the World (World Atlas) by Jen Green

This wonderful atlas definitely does what it claims - it is amazing! It starts off with a big fold out of the world plus flags of all the countries - this is on card so it will bear repeated use, either at home or in school. Each continent is mapped, usually over two or more pages and often with fold-out maps to bring the whole continent together. The visual presentation is very appealing and the pages are full of facts about climate, people and places, plus 'must-see' boxes. The maps clearly show both political and physical geography in a way that brings them to life for children - a great way to learn about the world and how the countries all fit together.

Deadly Factbook 6: Jaws and Claws (Steve Backshall's Deadly series) by Steve Backshall

Children love amazing - and grisly - facts and figures so this series from a renowned presenter and naturalist has plenty of appeal. It's also an excellent way to encourage reluctant readers, especially boys and those who prefer non fiction books. Did you know that the teeth of a hippopotamus can measure as much as 40 or 50 centimetres? Or that a vampire bat will sometimes regurgitate blood to another member of its colony? Amazing facts about all sorts of jaws and claws to inform - and warn you to keep clear!

Evolution: The Whole Life on Earth Story (Science Sorted) by Glenn Murphy

What is a selfish gene? What are the kingdoms of life? Why are there no car-sized bugs and beetles? Questions you may never have thought to ask but learning the answers is fun and informative. Glenn Murphy's series of Science Sorted books goes a long way towards demystifying science and making it an approachable, understandable and accessible subject for children. The book is packed with doodles and lively ways of presenting information about all sorts of incredible things. The way facts are presented makes them fascinating and memorable - a great boost to learning. This book ties in with the statutory inclusion of the teaching of evolution in the 2014 curriculum. I have reviewed this title as part of NATIONAL NON FICTION NOVEMBER, the Federation of Children’s Book Groups’ annual celebration of all things factual.

The Ultimate Book About Me by Richard Platt

Full of answers to intriguing questions this guide based on the 'Who Am I?' exhibition at the Science Museum intrigue, educate and inform. It's a fascinating journey through all the things that make you - well, you. The book speaks directly to the reader, drawing him in through well-phrased questions and information and loads of activities and quizzes. The fact the book is produced in association with the Science Museum means you can be assured the book is highly reputable and can be trusted to give facts correctly. Lively presentation and good graphics combine to make an engrossing and enlightening read that will leave the reader much wiser about himself by the end.

What Makes a Tornado Twist? (Good Question!) by Mary Kay Carson

Why Do Clouds Float? Is each snowflake unique? What comes first: thunder or lightning? What causes the seasons? Charming illustrations, clever charts and fun text help kids learn whatever they want to know about wild weather. No matter their question, the fascinating answers are right here! The 'Good Question' series takes a common question that children ask and answers that plus many more related questions in a lively and informative way. The quality of the illustrations is exceptional - every question has a full page illustration or diagram which really does add value to the explanation. The books are produced on glossy paper, with coloured/illustrated backgrounds, which also enhances the illustrations. The explanations are clear and easy to follow with just the right level of detail for KS2 pupils. Published by Sterling, publication date September 2014, ISBN 9781454906834.

How Strong Is an Ant? (Good Question!) by Mary Kay Carson

Children can discover fascinating facts about the animal kingdom between the pages of this colourful book. Are there more insects than people on Earth? Are all bugs insects? And can all insects fly? Fascinating and mind-boggling, this is informative and enjoyable. ISBN 9781454906858. Why Is the Sea Salty? (Good Question! by Benjamin Richmond) - answers many questions about the oceans - it even shows how rubber ducks helped discover how the oceans move!  ISBN 978 1454906773. Both published September 2014. An excellent series.

Julius Caesar by Ellen Galford

I was delighted to see books in this series of biographies from QED - good quality biographies for KS2/lower KS3 are few and far between and yet children enjoy learning about the people behind history. Learn about Caesar from his early childhood when he was already showing his ambition and leadership. In his leadership of the most powerful power of the time, he matched wits and armies with kidnapping pirates, blood-thirsty Britons and even Cleopatra. As well as learning about Caesar's impact on the wider world, this book also offers a fascinating insight into Roman social history, for example home life. Illustrated with drawings and artefacts, this is a very readable account of a great man.

Eleanor of Aquitaine by Ann Kramer

Perhaps not the best known of queens, in a world dominated by men Eleanor of Aquitaine made her mark in many fields and her life story makes absorbing reading. She was brought up in the castles of Aquitaine and became queen, prisoner and crusader. Born into a world of music, poetry, and courtly life, Eleanor went on to lead troops into battle, embrace motherhood, and become queen of England. The account is well-told and enjoyably written, abetted by the good quality illustrative material which brings the period to life.

1000 Strange but True Animal Facts from Parragon Books

Discover the 1000 most extraordinary facts about animals EVER! Which frog can break its own bones to make armour? What insect can survive being frozen solid? Which bird could lift a human? What sea creature can tie itself in knots? These unbelievable creatures push every extreme of nature to the limit, and beyond. It makes fascinating reading and children are bound to remember and repeat the fascinating fats. Illustrated in vivid full colour, this book is excellent value and will give hours of fun.

Beyond the Rubik Cube: How to Invent by Lynn Huggins-Cooper

An intriguing and inspiring book that makes the difficult seem possible. How To Invent breaks the process down into eight easy-to-follow stages and offers tips and examples for every stage. Young people will enjoy the book's focus on inventing toys and puzzles, which makes the book relevant to them. As well, the book explains how and why the Rubik's cube was invented and the problems Erno Rubik encountered along the way. There are also case studies of inspirational young inventors, including gymnast George Niseen who invented the trampoline at the age of 16! Full of fascinating facts, this is a great read.

Beyond the Rubik Cube: How Big is 43 Quintillion? by Lynn Huggins-Cooper

With six different colours, twenty one coloured pieces and fifty four outer surfaces, the Rubik's Cube has a mind-boggling 43 quintillion different possible combinations - no wonder it's so hard to do! Facts such as "if one billion children stood on each other's shoulders, they would reach past the moon" aim to make big numbers easy to comprehend by relating them to everyday situations. Simple explanations accompanied by amusing infographics help readers visualise large numbers and get a grip on basic concepts in Maths. A glossary and further reference material are also included at the end of the book. A super book for maths teachers to use to enliven their lessons.

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 books in a succinct but interesting way which will stimulate interest in the novels. An exceptional book.

Lions (QED Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

The series claims, on the front cover, 'Become an animal expert' and there is certainly enough information on each series to satisfy the most enthusiastic child. Colourful and well laid out information is presented in well compiled text with subsidiary text boxes which include 'Fantastic facts' on each double page spread. Every aspect of the lion's life is covered with plenty of photos to illustrate each. The full colour pages are very appealing and the separation into fact boxes makes it easy to learn. Children who like this book will also enjoy Animal Lives: Elephantswhich is equally attractive and informative, showing how elephants have helped man and describing  the different types..

Cheetahs (Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

You only have to look at the covers of these books to know you are in for a photographic treat! The books are packed with photos and interesting facts. Learn about every aspect of the lives of  these beautiful speedy creatures. This series is an excellent introduction to the world of animals, where they live, how they grow and learn and what they eat. Importantly, we learn the dangers that face the animals and how they can be protected. The full colour pages are striking and engaging and will capture children's attention. Also in the series is Animal Lives: Giraffes- these magnificent creatures are really brought to life by the photos.

Castle Diary (Diary Histories) by Richard Platt

At 11 years old, Toby has been sent away to learn his trade as a page, as was the custom. At his uncle's castle, Toby keeps a detailed and engrossing journal of everything that happens there during the year of 1285 - from such great events as a boar hunt and a tournament to more everyday activities like baking bread and cleaning out the garderobes (toilets). It's a fascinating insight into the medieval world and being written by a boy, children will identify with Toby and his experiences. It's ideal as a classroom book to flesh out learning of medieval history - and for anyone fascinated by castles.

Look Inside Mummies & Pyramids from Usborne

Children are fascinated by Ancient Egypt and by pyramids and mummies in particular, so the emphasis this book gives to those in the wider context of Ancient Egypt will be keenly explored. The Egyptian Pharaohs placed great importance on preparation for the afterlife and by lifting the flaps, children will become engrossed in the detail of mummification and the construction of pyramids. The pages are full of fascinating snippets of detail and the amazingly detailed illustrations are amusing as well as informative.

Top 10 of Everything 2015 by Paul Terry

Hours and hours of engrossing records form the basis of this book but there is much else besides. Special features including interactive 'You Rate' boxes, 'Head to heads', 'Fact flashes', 'Shuffle up', 'Compare-o-meters' and 'Your Shout' spreads all help to engage the reader with the book and give added value to the records. New for this edition are detailed magnifications that zoom in on all the fantastic detail and 'Danger' boxes showcasing really scary stuff, while more bar and pie charts provide a visual route to understanding the data. It's eye-catchingly presented, with vivid colours and dramatic illustrations. Guaranteed to intrigue and amaze and bound to lead to plenty of discussion and debate.

Prehistoric Britain (Usborne History of Britain)

The new curriculum for 2014 includes prehistoric Britian so this book will prove very useful. It covers the story of Britain from the age of the dinosaurs to the Roman invasion. Full of facts, illustrations, photographs, maps and timelines, the book is really well presented and based on up-to-date knowledge. Facts are succinctly presented and the layout is exceptional. Also included are internet links to websites with further information, video clips and animations to further enhance learning. I like the way the series doesn't talk down - even for adults, the books are a good starting point to learn about different periods.

The Usborne Art Book About Colour

I found this book really informative and learnt a lot about colours and their use in paintings, including where colours come from, how paints are made, and how painters use paint to make us see the colour effects they want. We often hear about the importance of colour and the impact it can have on us and this too is covered. Intriguing facts abound - find out why faces in old portraits often look green, for example. Throughout, famous paintings are used to illustrate the concepts and this helps us understand how artists worked. It's an excellent way to gain a real appreciation of the importance of colour and to understand how colours are made and used.

Deadly Diaries (Steve Backshall's Deadly series) by Steve Backshall

In his first ever Deadly Diaries Steve Backshall shares what it means to him to film the world's top predators. Learn how it feels to have a blue whale silently power past you in crystal clear Indian Ocean waters or to dangle beneath a helicopter in order to be dropped onto a crocodile nest while the mother crocodile is still there! The book covers Steve's exciting travels across six continents in six months as he finds the 60 creatures that are most deadly in their world. Well written, this is ideal for all fans of the series and of the author.

Tiger (Eye on the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

The superb photography really makes this series stand out. Many photos are more than full page and really show the animals in all their detail and within their natural habitat. The story follows three tiger cubs from birth to adulthood - exploring and tumbling, pouncing on sticks and splashing in water, boxing and play-fighting until, at two years old, they are fully grown and ready to rule a territory of their own. The text is simple yet informative; easy to read and engagingly written.

Elephant (Eye on the Wild) by Suzi Eszterhas

This book follows a newborn elephant through photos of her life from birth until the age where she is ready to have a calf of her own. An excellent way to help children gain a true understanding of the magnificence of wild creatures in their natural habitat. Suzi Eszterhas is a wildlife photographer who spends nine months of the year photographing animals in their natural habitats; I think it's brilliant that this quality of photography is being made available to children.

Kings & Queens by Tony Robinson

This is the kings and queens of Britain as you have never seen them before! Written in Tony Robinson's trademark witty style, it's a great way to generate enthusiasm for history and to encourage children to read and learn. Do we know the truth about our monarchs? For instance, who became king when he was only nine months old? Which king invented the handkerchief? Which king died on the toilet? And who is England's longest reigning monarch? The book is superbly illustrated by some of the best children's illustrators around. The fascinating way the information is presented ensures the facts will really stick in children's minds - and, amazing as it seems, it is all true. Makes me wish I was learning history all over again!

Computer Coding for Kids by Carol Vorderman

What could seem a daunting topic is made simple and achievable with this step-by-step guide written in child-friendly language. It starts from the very basics and teaches both Scratch and Python programming languages. Illustrations help on every step of the way and, as someone completely new to the subject, I felt that I could tackle the projects with confidence - and we all know that children are far more competent than many adults! Starting with simple explanations of programming basics, it progresses to more advanced projects where children can build their own games. This gives a real sense of satisfaction and will provide a firm foundation for future activity. I am amazed at the detail included in the book and yet the clear layout ensures it is not overwhelming. It's an excellent way to support the requirements of the new computing curriculum, so give your child a head start with this book.

The Really Incredible Maths Book from DK

Give your child a copy of this hands-on maths book and they will quickly grasp many of the essential early maths concepts; and most importantly, they will learn that maths can be really FUN. The Really Incredible Maths Book is a fantastic hands-on book that makes maths fun for kids. All the essential maths concepts needed in early school years are covered, including sums, shapes, fractions and decimals. There are 50+ brightly coloured pops, pulls and flaps to help children understand these essential concepts; they will also be developing their manual dexterity and visual learning. Fascinating facts are hidden under pops and flaps to give children essential information about maths. There's a quiz at the end with more flaps to lift and a very useful glossary so children learn the correct terminology. This is a really engaging and interactive book which will instill essential facts in a fun way.

Rainforest Explorer (DK Reads) by Rupert Matthews

This is Zoe's blog - 22 amazing days in the Amazon rainforest. Children join Zoe on her travels through the Amazon rainforest to her uncle's Research Station. This personal account is a good way to get children involved as they find out who she meets, spot the animals and even play a game of olliztli. As well as Zoe's daily blog update, the book includes many other features - maps, legends, information about the rainforest and more - making this an excellent early reference book. "Rainforest Explorer is part of the new DK Reads series, a three-level reading scheme that helps children become confident readers, featuring engaging and illustrated topics - this book is Level 2. DK Reads is created in consultation with literacy experts and adheres to levelled reading scheme guidelines so the grammar, vocabulary, and content are spot on for each stage."

The Little Warhol by Catherine Du Duve

This is an excellent series for giving children (and adults!) a succinct overview of famous artists - a super series to have in a school or at home so children can be inspired by great artists and gain an understanding of them from learning about their lives. Richly illustrated throughout, with plenty of examples of Warhol's work, we lean a lot about this colourful character and his iconic paintings. The book really involves the reader by encouraging them to have a go at various pictures on their own - for example Mao wallpaper and designing an album cover. There are also questions to get children thinking. Published by The Happy Museum, December 2013, ISBN 978-2875750075

The Ultimate Survival Guide for Kids by Tom Connell

We hope that children will never have to face any of the situations described in this book - but if they do, they will know all illustrated with bright colour photos and packed with facts and information all attractively presented. It includes background information and tips on how to make the best of a bad situation. The second part of the book is all about basic survival skills. Don't know where you are? Don't worry - there's even a compass to help you find your way in the wild! Read it and keep it with you - you never know when you will need it!

Puzzle Heroes: Ancient Egypt by Anna Nilsen

This is a superb series which works excellently both as information and as puzzle books - so often, one or other aspect loses out but here the two combine perfectly. Zak and Leah (with the reader's help) must save Granny from a terrible fate - without getting trapped in the pyramid maze themselves - by travelling around Ancient Egypt from the Nile to the Valley of the Kings. The puzzles make good use of the setting - hieroglyphs, mummies and gods all play their part. The colourful pictures are absolutely crammed with accurate detail and facts, all presented in an intriguing way which really encourages children to keep going through the book - unputdownable! This is one of the best series of this type I have seen - highly recommended.

Puzzle Heroes: Ancient Rome by Anna Nilsen

Leah and Zak are off to Ancient Rome with Granny and Grandad - but Granny is captured by an angry Roman leader and the only way to save her is by working through the fascinating puzzles. These really challenge children to think and reason in an enjoyable way. There is so much to spot - gods, weapons, emperors - as the children travel through the streets of Ancient Rome and further afield as they follow Caesar's journey to meet Cleopatra. The puzzles are hugely varied and give a real insight into the culture. If your child is due to study Ancient Egypt or Ancient Rome - and they will in KS2 - then get copies of these books to generate a real enthusiasm for the topic, as well as giving them a really sound grounding of knowledge; they will have so much fun they won't realise how much they are learning!

S is for South Africa (World Alphabet) by Beverley Naidoo

This is a superb series in which vibrant photos and descriptive text really bring each country to life. South Africa is a land of contrasts - from Cricket to Madiba, from Bunny Chow to Kubu, this photographic alphabet celebrates the people's love for their country. Set at the southern end of the African continent, this country has known more than its share of trouble but here is an affirming book which celebrates all the beauty and the positive outlook of its people. The richness and diversity is captured by the excellence of the photos and the text sings out from the pages.

Why Don't You Smell When You're Sleeping? by Mitchell Symons

These collections of amazing facts and trivia are perfectly chosen to appeal to children - and are a great way to encourage them to read and to show them that books are fun. This is the fourth in the series to concentrate purely on trivia and it is full of amazing - and unbelievable - facts. Decide for yourself whether they are true or false! There are plenty of amusing cartoons to complement the facts too. Great fun.

The Ultimate Book of Vehicles by Anne-Sophie Baumann

Unbelievable - just wait and see a child's face light up when you present them with this amazing book. Rolling, floating, flying, digging, harvesting - here are vehicles of all shapes and sizes as never seen before. A great big book full of exquisitely detailed pictures with flaps to reveal the inner workings, pop-ups, pull-tabs and rotating wheels. Things really work - the rocket launches, the dustbin empties - although if giving it to a young child, it would be best to loosen them first! There are also some very unexpected vehicles - the French pooper scooper scooter caught my eye! The sturdy card pages make this a durable book too. Over 100 vehicles and 60+ moving parts make up this fantastic book that will keep children - and adults - enthralled for hours.

Street Children by Anthony Robinson

A book to make you think; a book that makes you unbelievably sad that children live like this and yet amazed at the resilience that allows them to cope and have a positive outlook - a strong message for us all. Told in the words of the children and their families, these are accounts of living on the streets of Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Guatemala. These resourceful, resilient and optimistic children and families talk about their pasts, their present lives and their hopes for the future. A combination of colour photos and drawings show just what life is like and introduce us to the people. A book which will stimulate discussion and raise awareness.

Frog (Animal Diaries) by Steve Parker

Written in the form of a frog's own diary, the format is appealing and a great way to capture children's interest as they learn about the frog life cycle directly from the frog. The book includes diary entries, informative extracts, sketches and fact-filled animal profile cards with information on habitat, diet, different stages of life and interaction with other animals. Extremely attractive layout makes the book highly enjoyable and the well labelled diagrams are an excellent learning aid. This format could be a good way to encourage children to tackle topics on other creatures.

A Day I Remember- an Indian Wedding by Prodeepta Das

This is a day that Chintu will always remember: he’s going to be “Markundi”, the boy who keeps the bridegroom (his uncle) company through the wedding preparations. The vibrant photographs bring alive all the wonder of an Indian wedding with its colourful rituals and help the reader feel they are joining in with the celebrations, dancing, fireworks and music. The vividly coloured backgrounds complement the topic well and make for a very attractive book.

The Secrets of Stonehenge by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

A new book from this talented duo is always a real treat! Who can fail to be amazed and mystified by the wonder of Stonehenge? Now children can be drawn into its wonders through this fascinating book that really helps us get inside the characters of Ancient Britain and the building of Stonehenge. Told as a story with lots of speech bubbles, with detailed factual information alongside, the plentiful annotated illustrations give an insight into the toil that went into moving and erecting the huge stones. . Intricately detailed, the pictures give a wealth of information and are fun to look at as well The latest research has been used - I learnt a lot from this fascinating book and it's an excellent complement to the recent changes that have taken place at Stonehenge to improve the visitor experience.

Brain Games For Clever Kids by Gareth Moore

This is a super book for children to enjoy as they puzzle their way through the challenges, which get harder as they progress through the book. There are over 100 timed brain games, including picture and logic puzzles, word games, mathematical mind benders, battleship, sudoku, memory facts, minesweepers... plenty for everyone. Try it over the summer holidays - there is always that issue of children's learning slowing down after the long break - here's a fun way to make sure it doesn't!

The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff by Andy Seed

Adults find it hard to resist picking up books of amazing and hilarious facts, so why should children be any different? It's a great way to encourage children to enjoy books, especially those who are not keen on fiction. Packed with lists, facts, jokes and funny true stories all about silly people, silly animals, silly inventions, silly names and much more. Find out about famous pranks, crazy festivals, nutty cats, gross foods, epic sports fails, ludicrously silly words and really rubbish predictions. There are even lots of great silly things to do. Andy Seed is a reluctant reader specialist and the book clearly reflects this with its accessible and approachable layout that encourages children to dip in and enjoy the book.

The Little Matisse by Catherine du Duve

This book is one in a series which is excellent for introducing children to a wide range of artists. Matisse dances with the sun in the south of France. The rich and varied work of Matisse is depicted in full colour with questions to stimulate the reader and plenty of activities to enjoy. Children are encouraged to add their own artwork to the book, making it a personal book to treasure. Published April 2014 by Happy Museum, ISBN 9782960040678

Bodies: The Whole Blood-Pumping Story by Glenn Murphy

Children love this type of approach to science. They will happily read through or dip in and out and all the time they are actually absorbing plenty of information that supports their KS2 science work. Funny but informative, it answers questions that children want answered - why does your tummy rumble when you're hungry? Why do we have toes? Could you live with half a brain? Lots to keep the attention, with experiments, doodles and puzzles, this book is great fun.

What Goes On In My Head? by Robert Winston

The cover of this book is brilliant - immediately you see what a phenomenal amount of activity goes on in our heads; a veritable explosion of activities! Our brain controls everything we do and this clearly explained book helps us appreciate how it works. Learn about the physical brain, how it works with our body, the way we think, how it controls our feelings and about its amazing power. It's a Dorling Kindersley book, so of course it is full of amazing illustrations. It could be a dry subject but Robert Winston's engaging writing style makes it an enjoyable and fascinating read. An excellent book which has information enough for any age group to find it interesting. Plenty of interactivity too, with questions and quizzes to challenge children.

Who's in Charge from Dorling Kindersley

Find out who really runs the world and what goes on behind the scenes in this highly readable account about governments and politics. By the time your child has finished reading this book, he or she will be well informed about the way the world is governed and will be able to make informed choices. The book goes right back to the need for government and comes right up to date with present systems, showing how they have evolved. Well written with the information presented in a variety of lively ways including eye-catching graphics which will grab the attention and make the information easy to remember. The approach makes politics real to children and they can see how it affects the lives of those all around the world. An excellent insight.

How Does the Ear Hear? (Good Question!) by Melissa Stewart

If you have a child who is always posing questions you find it difficult to answer, then collect this series. It's a wide ranging series and each book answers a number of related questions. All sorts of questions about the human body are answered in this book - why are two eyes better than one? How does saliva help you taste? Why do your ears stick out? These are just the sort of things children want to know and the questions are posed in a way that will interest and intrigue them. ISBN 9781454906735 Published by Sterling March 2014.

How Does a Caterpillar Become a Butterfly? (Good Question!) by Melissa Stewart

A good book for the ever popular school topic of lifestyles, this covers every aspect of the butterfly lifestyle. As well, there is lots of other fascinating information about butterflies as well as guidance on how we can help them. The books are illustrated throughout with excellent colour photos plus maps and diagrams to explain the topics. ISBN 9781454906674 Published by Sterling March 2014.

How Does a Seed Sprout? (Good Question!) by Melissa Stewart

When children sow seeds, they are always impatient to see the plant grow. While they are waiting, satisfy their curiosity with this colourful book which shows how plants grow from seeds and answers many other questions about plants. Each book in the series includes a comprehensive index plus a list of books to read and websites to visit. ISBN 9781454906711 Published by Sterling March 2014.

Why Does Earth Spin? (Good Question!) by Mary Kay Carson

This glossy book is full of super photos to help children appreciate the wonder of our planet. The explanations are clear and factual and will stimulate children to investigate further. As well as answering the question your child originally thought of, they will be stimulated to read on and find the answer to more intriguing questions. Just a note about these books, although it doesn't detract in the least from the value, but they are US publications with US spelling. ISBN 9781454906759 Published by Sterling March 2014.

Britannia: Great Stories from British History by Geraldine McCaughrean and Richard Brassey

Absolutely brilliant to see this book reissued - if ever a book will generate a love for history, then this is it! Geraldine McCaughrean is one of the best storytellers for children and she makes history a really exciting topic through her narrative style. From Gogmagoc in around 1100BC to the Hadron Collider in 2010, all the great stories in British history are brought to life. I used the original edition very successfully with primary age children and found they responded really well - each topic has enough to be informative and to give the incentive to go on and find out more. The chronological presentation makes sense to children who are so often presented with out of context historical topics. Richard Brassey's illustrations are packed with fascinating detail to enhance the stories. A book for every home and every school.

D-Day, June 6, 1944 (24-Hour History) by Agnieszka Biskup

The format of the series - just 24 hours presented in one book - means that a detailed account is given of events. Bound to appeal to even those reluctant to engage with large chunks of text, the graphic presentation using text boxes and speech bubbles makes the book easy to read and for the reader assimilate quite detailed information. The telling is interesting and I like the format of this series. The layout is dynamic and attractive.

Roman Soldier's Handbook (Usborne Handbooks) by Lesley Sims

Get your child immersed in Roman history as they read this essential guide for everyone joining the Roman army. I love the presentation and layout - perfect to attract children. The reader will learn everything they need to join and then to succeed in the Roman army. It's all written with a refreshing touch of humour but is actually very factual and shows just how demanding army life was. The quirky cartoon-style illustrations add a great deal of detail to this fascinating book which is an excellent accompaniment to KS2 history.

Children Growing Up With War (One Shot) by Jenny Matthews

A truly personal look at war and the effect it has on children. Photojournalist Jenny Matthews takes us on a journey through some of her most memorable assignments, and the people and children she encountered along the way. The photographs capture the human element as we see children and families struggling to survive in war-torn areas, living in constant fear. These are the pictures behind the headlines which really bring home to us how war affects everyday life; the photos are full of emotion and quite heart-rending. We also learn about the background to wars and conflicts, plus case studies, key child-related facts, a map and website links.A book to make you ponder, excellently written and presented.

Bloomsbury Discovery: My Body

Children respond well to the interactivity of lift-the-flap books and it is an approach which helps them to remember key facts. This high interest presentation is full of facts and the bright presentation will capture the attention of even reluctant readers. Children will be intrigued by the answers to questions - especially those bodily functions which so fascinate children! The durable board pages make the book suitable for enthusiastic use so it would work well for both home and school.

A Walk in Paris by Salvatore Rubbina

A beautifully illustrated book which manages to capture the spirit of Paris in a very special way. Join a girl and her granddad as they explore the city through pictures and brief but informative text. Children can share in the girl's excitement and awe as she visits iconic landmarks all delicately and evocatively drawn - and have their own moment of wonder as they fold out the big Eiffel Tower.  There are travel tips, French words, historical and architectural facts and more to enjoy as Paris is brought alive. Ideal to peruse before a trip to Paris or to enjoy afterwards as a memento of a visit - or for anyone who wants to learn more about this very special city.

Adventure Walks Paris Map, the: 20 Paris Sightseeing Walks by Becky Jones and Clare Lewis

This is a lovely way for children to get to know the beautiful city of Paris and it would make an excellent companion to a conventional guidebook when you are planning your trip to Paris. It takes a child-friendly approach and, whilst not missing out any of the key sights, makes sure that everything that is of interest to children is included. One side features the map, packed with interesting images. On the back are four smaller maps plus a series of useful listings including 'Thrilling things to do' and 'Scrumptious treats'. Perfect for each child to tuck into their bag before exploring. It would also make an excellent basis for a classroom display.

I Love Baby Animals by Camilla de la Bédoyère

Children will find the adorable baby animals in this book quite irresistible - be prepared for some cries of 'I want one of those!' More than 50 popular species from all around the world are included in this book which is largely photographic, with just a brief text giving information about the species. The photos are lovely and they show the animals with their families as well as singly. Attractively laid out, the photos give a good picture of the habitats as well.

I Love Horses & Ponies by Nicola Jane Swinney

Young riders will love this book, as will all animal lovers.The excellent photos really help us to learn about the wide variety within the horse world and the brief but informative text for each gives interesting information and some history. There are three or four photos for each type of horse, showing them singly and in groups; the book includes horses from all around the world. The photos are a generous size and the good quality paper shows them off well. An excellent guide which has something to offer all ages.

Giraffes (QED Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

The series claims, on the front cover, 'Become an animal expert' and there is certainly enough information on each series to satisfy the most enthusiastic child. Colourful and well laid out information is presented in text with subsidiary text boxes which include 'Fantastic facts' on each double page spread. Every aspect of the giraffe's life is covered with plenty of photos to illustrate each. The full colour pages are very appealing and the separation into fact boxes makes it easy to learn. Children who like this book will also enjoy Lions (Animal Lives)which is equally attractive and informative.

Elephants (Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

You only have to look at the covers of these books to know you are in for a photographic treat! The books are packed with photos and interesting facts. Learn about the difference between the African and forest elephant. This series is an excellent introduction to the world of animals, where they live, how they grow and learn, what they eat and the dangers they have to face. Importantly, we learn the dangers that face the animals and how they can be protected. Also in the series is Cheetahs (Animal Lives)- these beautiful creatures are really brought to life by the photos.

Gruesome Guts (Body Works) by Anna Claybourne

The titles are bound to appeal to children so these books are an excellent way to encourage them to learn about the human body and brush up on all the facts needed for KS2 science. Eye-catching layout is packed with nuggets of information, presented in a variety of ways which work well to capture the attention. With page titles such as 'Down the hatch', 'Gut guests' and 'Waste disposal' digestion is covered from start to finish. There is also information about food and an interesting experiment to try as well as plenty of amazing facts.

Heroic Heart (Body Works) by Anna Claybourne

Another fact-filled book to support KS2 science about the heart and the lungs. The information is presented in an easy to assimilate and memorable way. The use of illustrative material is especially good and the clear labelling of the diagrams a particular feature. Encourage children to copy and label these and they will find learning much easier. The hands-on activities also enhance learning as well as understanding of our marvellous bodies. Children can make fake blood and find out how the lungs work with practical experiments.

My Little Book Of Animals by Camilla de la Bédoyère

These books are ideal for children at the younger end of KS2. The layout is clear and good use is made of varying fonts - the main text is easier to read and there's lots of subsidiary information in the labelling and explanations of the pictures. The animals are grouped by five major habitats which is useful for children and better than the random order often found. Each animal is depicted in a series of colour photos which show varied aspects of their lives.

My Little Book of Lifecycles by Camilla de la Bédoyère

Life cycles are a key topic in KS1 and KS2 and the variety of creatures covered in this book makes a very welcome addition to the rather restricted range often studied. Here we have the frog, butterfly, penguin, sea horse, shark, chicken and kangaroo - a really comprehensive group. Again, the text is easy to read and the colour photos are excellent. The bright coloured backgrounds make the book appeal to children. Children's reference skills can be developed by using the index and glossary. I think perhaps the publishers aren't doing themselves justice when describing these books as 'little' - they are a good size and packed with content.

Shackleton's Journey by William Grill

The simplicity of the cover belies the intricate and delicate detail of the illustrations. I found them quite absorbing - many are tiny but all are packed with detail and are the perfect complement to this engaging account of Shackleton's epic journey. It's the everyday detail that is so enthralling - the washing line, the dog igloos, the pictures of the provisions. A fascinating account which will appeal to all ages, enlightening and informing and taking the reader to the heart of this journey.

Why Spacemen Can't Burp... by Mitchell Symons

Grab children's attention with an eye-catching title and you're halfway to getting them engrossed in a book - and anything relating to bodily functions has an instant appeal so this book is guaranteed a look. The theme of the book is out-of-this-world facts and children will find it almost impossible to put down - and will want to regale you with their new-found knowledge! Find out where Google got its name; when the word ain't is perfectly correct and about the piece of music that is total silence. The author gets most of his questions from children, so you know they will be apposite. It's not only children who will find this interesting either - I didn't know the answer to the question in the title!

Maps of the Environmental World: Energy Resources by Jack Gillett

Energy resources and their key ideas, concepts and vocabulary are clearly explained as they relate to twelve areas pf the world. Maps, graphs and photography combine to make a highly visual and easy to remember approach. An in-depth test at the back encourages children to look back at the book so they can research the answers for themselves - I really like this approach. I sometimes feel that we don't see enough use of maps in children's books but this excellent series helps redress the balance - each topic in the series is examined on a global scale with maps of each country discussed, clearly labelled and linked to the text. They provide a good opportunity to develop the key skills of map-reading and gleaning knowledge from maps.

Research on the Edge: Space by Angela Royston

Research on the Edge is a series which covers extreme environments and the ways scientists use to discover their secrets to benefit everyone on earth. The books are written by experienced children's authors who know just how to capture children's interest and how to pitch the text at the right level. This title takes the reader right inside life on a spaceship and finds out how the scientists live and the work they do.

Research on the Edge: Polar Regions by Louise Spilsbury

Another extreme environment is the topic if this interesting book. Making good use of photos and visual material, we learn about the discoveries being made in polar regions and the way scientists live while working in this hostile environment. The presentation is excellent - I especially like the clear font - and the illustrations are well labelled, ensuring they give the maximum information. The glossary is extensive and there is a useful list for further research. It's unusual to see inside these environments and a good way to learn about how scientists work for the benefit of our planet.

Explore!: Tudors by Jane Bingham

The book looks at people of all classes from monarchy to the very poor - there is an interesting diary of a kitchenmaid which suggests to me other teaching ideas based on this idea. It gives a clear and easily understood picture of the period with some useful websites and further reading for those stimulated to find out more. The Explore series relies heavily on visual material and is laid out in a way that encourages young readers to explore the book and learn about the topic. Good use is made of colour and layout and these are combined with an easy and approachable text. Each includes a hands-on activity - in this book, it's Tudor gingerbread.

Explore!: Shakespeare bu Jane Bingham

Children's appreciation for and understanding of Shakespeare's plays will be enhanced by this book which introduces them to Shakespeare and the world in which he lived. Clear lively presentation and plenty of illustrative material are complemented by easy to follow text. Excellent to support both English and history, children will find out about the many pastimes enjoyed including music, dance, festivals, masques, theatre, childhood games, and a very gory pastime - public executions! There are instructions for making a model theatre too.

Explore!: World War Two by Jane Bingham

An overview of World War Two told largely through the use of contemporary photographs and other illustrative material. How the war began to how it spread worldwide, the new technology that was used in war for the first time, how women's roles changed in society because of the war, what life was like on the Home Front, and how the war was recorded in pictures, diaries, poems and stories. The varied approaches to learning include articles about key figures and events; a diary entry from the Blitz and how to create a secret code.

What They Don't Tell You About: William Shakespeare by Anita Ganeri

Children love this sort of presentation and if they find Shakespeare boring, then this is the antidote! All sorts of fascinating facts that will encourage them to read on - did Shakespeare like school?; actors might have learned 800 lines a day; Shakespeare liked gardening. The diary in this book is a day in the life of a boy actor - a good way to help children imagine living in a different era. All this helps to make Shakespeare more approachable as well as helping us to understand his plays and the world in which he lived. Great fun to read and full of humorous pictures. There's a quiz at the end, an extensive index and a useful list of dates.

Anne Frank (Biography) by Ann Kramer

I think it is a rare person who does not get emotional when reading the story of Anne Frank and this book really takes us inside her world and shows what an amazing person she was. The text is detailed and really underpins The Diary of Anne Frank, allowing us to see where and how she lived in vivid detail. The background to Anne's imprisonment is explained and the timeline allows us to see the events in context. A good glossary explains unfamiliar terms. Well presented with good use of contemporary resources the poignant story of this courageous girl is vividly explained by this book.

Elizabeth I (Biography series) by Simon Adams

A colourful queen whose story is told through a suitably colourful book. Clear, factual information is split into succinct and sensible sections so key information can easily be found - or the book can be enjoyed as a straight read through. It's easy to read and to absorb the information and covers Elizabethan England as well as the Virgin Queen. Well laid out and with excellent use made of contemporary material as well as modern-day photos where relevant. I particularly like the inclusion of a timeline (this runs along the bottom of most pages) which helps children put history into context - an area where they often struggle

Research on the Edge: Oceans by Angela Royston

A fascinating insight into living and working at the bottom of the sea. The book shows what an amazing world lies beneath the oceans and the ways scientists are able to explore the deep. We see the various 'vehicles' used and the photos show just how cramped conditions are on board Aquarius, an underwater laboratory. The book tells about the research done, the discoveries made and their impact. Well illustrated and laid out, this is an interesting read. This is one in an exciting series which shows how scientists work and live in extreme environments and it really brings home to us the arduous conditions faced in order to carry out vital research which will benefit everyone.

Science FAQs: Do Plants Really Eat Insects? Questions and Answers About the Science of Plants by Thomas Canavan

Children are fascinated by interesting and unusual facts so this book full of questions will be popular as well as supporting KS2 science. Why do nettles sting? Do plants poo? How do plants know which way is up? The answers are succinctly presented and the illustrations well chosen to support and enhance the answers. A good book for any parents whose children are always asking 'why?' and 'how?' Science FAQs is a series of books that answer questions on everything from black holes to plant-eating insects in a fun and engaging way.

Science Adventures: A Cry in the Dark - Explore sound and use science to survive by Richard Spilsbury

An interesting approach to science which combines fact with an adventure story. Four children find themselves in danger when they investigate strange sounds in the technology park. During their adventure, they investigate sounds and how they are made and the science is the story is backed up through simple experiments that readers can try for themselves along with the children. Effective use of graphics, especially the silhouettes of the children against photo backgrounds, make the book stand out and look different and therefore enticing. An excellent way to encourage to reason about science and how it works, presented in an accessible and enjoyable way.

British Animals: Duck by Stephen Savage

Most children have the opportunity to see ducks, unlike some of our other species, so this book is a good way to encourage them to go out and investigate (with an adult, of course!). Ducks live in many places, from city pond to marshland and reservoir - explore some of the different habitats that are the duck's home. Life cycles are a key part of KS2 science so the inclusion of the duck's life cycle is useful. Children also learn about feeding ducks - no white bread and only a little brown. The book includes an animal map, locator map, life cycle summary and 'unusual fact' boxes as well as excellent photos - including one very poignant one.

The Big Countdown: 70 Thousand Million, Million, Million Stars in Space by Paul Rockett

An unusual way to investigate - how many .. in the universe? A good way to capture the attention as every fact is presented as it related to numbers - and the numbers are, in many instances, quite mind-boggling. .500 million watched the first moon landing; the Milky Way is 13.2 billion years old.The universe in all its wonder is explored through clear diagrams which puts the various elements into context. With the vast topic of the universe, this is a good approach as it helps children relate things together and see their place in the scheme of things. A lively and novel presentation.

The Big Countdown: 30 Million Different Insects in the Rainforest by Paul Rockett

Explore the amazing world of the rainforest and find out some fascinating numerical facts which certainly go a long way towards proving what a valuable resource rainforests are. Each fact is related to numbers and this makes for a memorable presentation and an excellent way to learn. The liberal use of diagrams  is ideal for those who find reading a struggle. With so many books available, it can be hard for authors and publishers to come up with new ways to present information, but this series certainly succeeds. The series covers topics that both interest children and have relevance to the curriculum.

Unpacked: South Africa by Clive Gifford

An engaging presentation in the style of a scrapbook which gives children an in-depth insight into the life and culture of this exciting country. Good use is made of a variety of layouts within each page and the text is easy to navigate with stand-out headings. Sport, animals, geography and daily life are just some of the topics covered. The presentation could also encourage children to make their own scrapbook in a similar format, perhaps of a place they have spent a holiday or their home area.

Truth or Busted: The Fact or Fiction Behind Survival Skills by Kay Barnham

A look at a range of fascinating facts that will intrigue children and hopefully encourage them to investigate further. The series looks at popular theories about survival discovers where the ideas came from, how or why they have become well known and whether they are true or false - a good way to encourage children to think about things rather than simply accepting. This title looks at statements like: 'You can drink your own wee to survive!' or 'Cows are more deadly than great white sharks'. Each statement is evaluated and then awarded a Truth or Busted stamp at the end of each entry.

The Real Brazil by Daniela da Sousa

Whether you are lucky enough to be travelling to Brazil (perhaps for one of the great sporting events) or just want to know more about the country, this is an interesting read with some unusual facts. Find out about street food, where to watch the sunset, music festivals and what to talk to Brazilians about - just a few of the areas not normally covered by books. It's a high interest read and a good way to learn more about a country about which we will be hearing a lot.

The World in Infographics: Machines and Vehicles by Jon Richards

Infographics take a visual look at the world around us so are a good way to engage children who may be reluctant or struggling readers. Infographics uses icons, pictograms and graphics to present information in a different way. The presentation really brings alive the wonders of technology and the bright layout of the pages gives the book a really contemporary feel which children will love.

Discover Countries: Somalia by Sonya Newland

Somalia is a poor country which lies on the Equator and which has seen its fair share of unrest. Children can learn about a very different way of life with this book which covers the physical geography, population, industry, wildlife and environment. Lavishly illustrated with photos, maps and graphs the book gives a good overall picture and children can refine their research skills y using the index, contents page and glossary. The Topic Web shows how the study of Somalia can be integrated across the curriculum.

Reducing and Recycling Waste (Environment Detective Investigates) by Jen Green

Sometimes recycling can seem a chore but by seeing what actually happens to the waste and the benefits that recycling brings to the environment, children will be encouraged to take the time and care needed. The book does an excellent job, not just of showing how to recycle but also what happens to all that recycling. The text goes into plenty of detail and the photos are well-chosen to complement the text.

Animal Rights (Both Sides of the Story) by Patience Coster

 However hard we try to be neutral, if we have strong opinions on a topic it can be hard to put forward an unbiased argument - and that's where this series comes in. Both Sides of the Story does exactly what it says, by presenting arguments for and against so the reader has plenty of information to make their own decision. Animal Rights is an emotive issue and here it is discussed in a balanced manner that makes reference to the important advances that have been made through animal testing as well as the importance of animal welfare. The further information section encourages deeper research.

Beyond the Call of Duty: Civilian Bravery in the World Wars (The National Archives) by Peter Hicks

2014 sees a huge interest in World War I so these two books will give an excellent background to studies. We are all used to reading about the exploits of the fighting forces but bravery is found just as much away from the frontline of battle, and we need to know about this. These are ordinary people who risked their own lives to help others in frightening and dangerous situations. Each two page spread features one individual and the account is fleshed out with documents, images and records from The National Archives. Students are encouraged to think about what they have read by 'A second thought' boxes.

Beyond the Call of Duty: Animal Bravery in Wartime (The National Archives) by Peter Hicks

Again, an excellent all-round view of courage shown in wartime - this time, that of animals. Animals, of course, have no choices, but it is their obedience to man and their training which shines through in these touching accounts which make for fascinating reading. The exploits are quite amazing and it's really good to learn about this often overlooked area. Well laid out, with plenty of illustrative material, both these books make excellent use of that wonderful resource The National Archives.

Record Busters: World Cup Football by Clive Gifford

This is a high interest, low reading age series which features titles bound to grab the attention of reluctant readers. Dynamic presentation with a high proportion of illustrations catches the eye and draws the reader into the text. Can you believe it? On the other hand and Wow! are the headings used to capture attention and the content is packed with interesting and unusual facts. Countries and players are featured and women's teams get a look in too.

The Pet to Get: Lizard by Rob Colson

Unusual pets are the focus of this series. The first thing I looked for was to ensure that these books do cover the importance of the special care these creatures need and certainly this title, lizards, does so, including covering where to purchase them. The reader will learn what lizards are like as pets and the care they will need - housing, feeding and grooming and other essential elements. Learn all about lizards with advice from how to choose the right breed and find the right cage, to keeping your lizard happy and healthy. Also included are amazing fact files about specific species. Excellent photography shows the different lizards and make this a good book for general animal studies too. A good way for anyone, young or old, to learn about creatures before buying.

All About Me: My Birth by Caryn Jenner

Sooner or later, all children are going to ask these questions - How did I begin? Where did I come from? How was I born? Have this book to hand ready for the questions so that you are prepared to answer them in a simple straightforward way that gives children just enough information. The text and pictures provide lots of talking points so this is very much a book to share with your child or to use to support the SRE curriculum. Questions help children to relate the information to themselves and to discover their similarities and differences. Clear, well presented and easy to understand. The publisher's advisory note says: This book contains information about the facts of life.

Human Body by Anita Ganeri

Packed with facts interestingly presented, this is an excellent resource to support KS2 science. Children will learn all about the human body with all the nitty gritty bits that they love. Presented in an eye-catching way, with flaps to explore which show what goes on beneath the surface. Clear explanations are well supported by what is, to me, a particularly strong point of the book - the excellent use of well-labelled diagrams. It's a practical book for classroom use too, with its spiral binding and strong shiny card pages - it will stand up to lots of enthusiastic handling.

Brilliant Brain (Body Works) by Anna Claybourne

A very child-friendly bright and jazzy presentation which gives plenty of information in a way that will appeal to children. The book explains in simple terms how the brain works, exploring the different parts that make up your brain. It shows how vital the brain is and how nerves carry messages from your brain. There are experiments to try and these reinforce the learning in a practical way. The illustrations and photographs are clearly explained and amusing cartoons convey yet more information. Questions help children to reason on what they have learnt.

Sharks (QED Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

Excellent photography is a feature of this book, with many photos of sharks in their natural habitats. Close up photos add to the value of the book. Two pages are devoted to each topic, giving just the right amount of information. These books are part of an extensive series which give children a perfect introduction to a wide range of animals. Each book in the series includes information on the life cycle of the species, potential threats and a glossary which explains the words highlighted in the text. They also have a clear index and a contents page.

Dolphins and Porpoises (QED Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

This colourful book, as with others in the series, explores habitat, conservation and animal adaptation, as well as looking at the life cycle of the particular animal and the way the young survive often against tremendous odds. Children will enjoy the 'Fantastic Facts' which feature on every page. The use of different fonts and the fact boxes help to separate out the text and make it accessible and easy to read. They are good value hardback books which will make an excellent classroom or library resource.

Whales (QED Animal Lives) by Sally Morgan

These wonderful creatures are illustrated with a range of excellent photographs which show how they live. Close up photos are annotated with fact boxes which are clearly laid out and provide useful information to support the main text. Written in a clear understandable way, this presents just the right amount of information. Anyone looking for present ideas for young animal lovers will find these make an excellent collection to build up. Al the books in the series are suitable for children in KS2 - 7 to 11.

Project Ancient Egypt  by Simon AdamsAncient Egypt

A good way for teachers and parents to support KS2 learning about Ancient Egypt, with a wide variety of content all attractively presented and well explained. Ancient Egypt is a fascinating topic and this book gives young readers the opportunity to delve into the detail of the culture. As well as lavish illustrations there are also entertaining cartoons for children to enjoy plus fold out flaps to explore. The information is very detailed but well presented in a way that children will enjoy. Alongside the information there are plenty fun, hands-on projects that reinforce learning and help develop creative skills. Making Egyptian sweets, papyrus paper and a model pyramid are just a few of the ideas. I love the way this book presents information in so many ways - it's perfect to give a varied approach to topic work.

All About Cats and Kittens (RSPCA) by Anita Ganeri

Presented in a child-friendly way, this is an excellent guide for children. It is beautifully illustrated throughout (if your child didn't want a kitten when they saturated, they will by the time they have seen all the pictures!) and packed with facts. I like the fact that the information about cats in general helps us understand their needs and their likes and dislikes. Children will enjoy learning about famous cats and kittens through the ages - this is much more than just a pet care book. Fully endorsed by the RSPCA, this guides also contains information from the RSPCA and at least 15p from every purchase goes to them. Ideally, I would like to see any child who wants a pet given a book like this before they acquire their pet so that they understand just what is involved in pet care.

All About Rabbits and Other Small Animals (RSPCA) by Anita Ganeri

The bulk of the book is about rabbits but other small rodents commonly found as pets are included - mice, hamsters, rats, gerbils and more. It's packed with interesting facts which help children understand and know their pets and what they need for a safe and happy life. It is the mix of backgrounds information with practical care advice which makes this such a good series. Attractively presented with lots of adorable pictures, any young pet owner will enjoy this book. There's even a quiz to see what they have learnt.

Susie Dent's Weird Words

A fascinating and revealing trip through the origins of just some English words. It's a good book to dip into and you will learn some surprising things! The reader gets involved as there are suggested origins of words and you can choose between three suggestions - see how many you can get right. Did you know that 'thumbs up' meant the gladiator was condemned to death? Or that 'gymnasium' meant to exercise naked? And that graffiti dates back to A fun read which throws up some unexpected origins. Ancient Rome?

The Beatles by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

Starting with the early days of each, the book moves on to their first bands and then the formation of The Beatles, their time in Hamburg and back to the famous Cavern. Beatlemania takes hold and we follow the band through their time together until Sergeant Pepper and Apple Records, and then their final days and what happened after. A colourful timeline puts it all into context. The facts have all been checked by Beatles historian Colin Hall, so this is a book that can be trusted. Yes, this is a book for for children of course and the author/illustrator succeed brilliantly in presenting non-fiction books for youngsters in an engaging and informative way, but the presentation is so well thought out that adults will also enjoy this book. An excellent look at the greatest band in the world and their impact on music.

Fish (Amazing Life Cycles) by Honor Head

Life cycles are an important topic in KS2 science, so this book will be welcome in the classroom as well as at home. The book starts with information about fish, their habitats and their lifecycles. It then takes a colourful look at some amazing and unusual fish including seahorses and lion fish. Illustrated throughout with super photos, this is ideal for younger KS2 children with its easy to understand text, clear labelling and good use of information boxes.

Know It All: Pirates by Philip Steele

One in a series which encourages children to read and research so that they can impress their friends by knowing it all! Pirates are colourful characters and boys especially will enjoy learning more about them and their adventures on "the seven seas", right up to modern day pirates in fact and fiction. Interesting true or false boxes may well challenge preconceptions about pirates - did they really make their victims walk the plank? The layout is bold and vivid and packed with pictorial material which complements the text well. The quiz page is good for refreshing the memory!

Space Encyclopedia: a tour of our solar system and beyond (National Geographic Kids) by David A Aguilar

Although described as a children's book, this comprehensive book really does have enough information for anyone, making it an excellent book for the family reference collection. It includes the very latest exciting findings and research. National Geographic are renowned for the quality of photographic images and that is brilliantly exploited in the cutting-edge, spectacular views of the universe contained here. The high quality glossy paper shows the images at their very best and the detailed descriptions and clear explanations provide plenty of detail for school topic work. An excellent book.

Everything Volcanoes and Earthquakes from National Geographic Kids

Another superbly illustrated book which will engage both children and adults. You'll find out that three-quarters of Earth's volcanoes are underwater, that an earthquake in Chile shortened the day by 1.26 milliseconds, and much more. Bursting with fascinating information about the biggest volcanic eruptions and earth-shattering earthquakes, this book takes a fun approach to science, introducing kids to plate tectonics and the tumultuous forces brewing beneath the Earth's surface. Easy to understand, children will be amazed at the wonders described in this book. It makes facts understandable by presenting everyday comparisons, for example comparing the heat of an oven to the heat of lava. This is an approach which worlds well to help understanding and appreciation of the marvels of the world around us.

True Stories: World War One by Clive Gifford

A good way to engage reluctant readers, especially boys, this book has nine short stories dealing with different aspects of life during World War I. It includes the stories of flying aces such as the 'Red Baron', the story of Lawrence of Arabia, stories of submarines and tanks and the stories of brave doctors and nurses such as Edith Cavell in German occupied Belgium, offering a well-rounded selection to give a good picture of the war on all fronts. It's benefit for supporting study of the war is complemented by its glossary, further reading section and index.

It Can't be True! from DK

Full of amazing facts this is a book that will appeal to adults as well as to children. Everyone will be amazed by the plethora of fascinating facts. It's not just the facts themselves that make this such a readable book, it's the way they are illustrated - and that includes the striking cover. The oldest animals are shown perched on egg timers; road tankers show how much blood the heart pumps; the Tower of Pisa is shown inside the world's biggest cave. Divided into four sections - Out of this world; Astounding earth; Humans and other life forms; Feats of engineering - and packed with astounding facts, this is an engrossing book which will give the reader plenty to talk about if conversation dries up. Produced to the high standard we expect from DK, the photography is superb and the layout attractive and accessible.

Being Healthy, Feeling Great: Relationships by Robyn Hardyman

This is one in a series which handles key issues in a sensitive and informative way - it's ideal to support PSHE lessons and equally good for children to read for themselves when they face particular issues. Having copies in the school library or classroom will encourage children to investigate. Helpfully presented, with attractive layout, good use of photos, Relationships explores the way children feel and common situations they experience; practical advice is given to children feel supported and reassured. Different types of relationships, including virtual ones, are discussed - there's even a fun quiz to enjoy.

Project Geography: Homes by Sally Hewitt

I like this series - it's practical and offers a wide variety of ideas which can be used and adapted for classroom and homework use across a range of abilities. The ideas are fresh and unusual and will stimulate children to enjoy the topic. The combination of information about homes around the world and hands-on activities give a rounded way of learning that is meaningful for children - they can learn about materials used for building then look at their own homes; they read about different localities then look at their local area. Clear uncluttered layout and a good glossary and index add to the learning value.

Everything Pets (National Geographic Kids) by James Spears

National Geographic have brought out a super range of books in their Kids series which make the best of the wonderful photography for which they are renowned. A generously sized book with an eye-catching layout is packed with all sorts of weird and wonderful facts about pets - there's bound to be something new here for everyone. Fascinating talking points - a dog can make about 100 different facial expressions; the world's largest goldfish was over a foot long; crickets are popular pets in China. Filled with fabulous and funny photos and peppered with fun facts, this is a must-have for all young animal lovers, sure to satisfy kids' curiosity about every kind of pet. It guarantees many house of enjoyable browsing and helps us appreciate the wonders of the animal world - and why we should take care of our pets.

That's Creepy: Spine-Tingling Facts That Will Test Your Creep-Out Factor by Crispin Boyer

Wow! This is a book packed with weird and wonderful facts about a huge range of scary things. Can you separate the fact from fiction? Read about haunted houses, spooky ghosts, and UFOs and then make up your own mind. There are facts, photos and case histories to help you, all presented in a jazzy appealing format, perfect for engaging even reluctant readers. It's amazing how much and history children will pick up as they read this engrossing and fascinating book.The National Geographic name guarantees an authoritative and well written book and this takes a fresh and believable new look at all sorts of horrors - read it at your peril!.

Science Adventures: Sparks, Shocks and Secrets - Explore electricity and use science to survive by Richard Spilsbury

This is an excellent series with an unusual approach - it combines a story with a series of 'Prove It!' experiments which give children the opportunity to try hands on science to prove for themselves how science works. When all the light go out, the children are scared that someone might be getting into their house. So, they use their knowledge of science to find out what is going on. Luckily, they have an electronics kit to hand. It's a super concept, really engaging and perfect for demonstrating to children how important it is they understand science. The experiments are shown step-by-step with accompanying illustrations and clear instructions. "Science has never been more exciting with this attention-grabbing approach which delivers true scientific learning through an action-packed story and spectacular graphic illustrations. The science in the story is backed up through simple experiments that readers can try for themselves." There are lots more in the series - well worth seeking out.

Science Adventures: Sparks, Shocks and Secrets - Explore electricity and use science to survive by Richard Spilsbury

This is an excellent series with an unusual approach - it combines a story with a series of 'Prove It!' experiments which give children the opportunity to try hands on science to prove for themselves how science works. When all the light go out, the children are scared that someone might be getting into their house. So, they use their knowledge of science to find out what is going on. Luckily, they have an electronics kit to hand. It's a super concept, really engaging and perfect for demonstrating to children how important it is they understand science. The experiments are shown step-by-step with accompanying illustrations and clear instructions. "Science has never been more exciting with this attention-grabbing approach which delivers true scientific learning through an action-packed story and spectacular graphic illustrations. The science in the story is backed up through simple experiments that readers can try for themselves." There are lots more in the series - well worth seeking out.

Very Wonderful, Very Rare - Saving the most endangered wildlife on Earth by Marilyn Baillie and others

The stunning animal and plant photos in this book are just what we need to spur us all into action to do all we can to save these endangered species. I like the way that the book starts on a positive note - the success story of the black robin.From there, we go on to encounter a wide range from the pygmy sloth to Attenborough's pitcher plant. Find out what scientists are doing and what we can do to help endangered species. The text is well written, entirely appropriate for children and helps them engage with this vital issue. Produced in association with the IUCN.

History Showtime: Ancient Greeks Liza Phipps

It's not easy to find new approaches and bring fresh interest to books on key curriculum issues but Franklin Watts succeed in surprising me with their innovative ideas. This approach will be welcomed by teachers as it gives the opportunity to incorporate performing arts into the history curriculum making this a truly cross-curricular book as there are also craft ideas. The book looks at who the Ancient Greeks were and describes their everyday life, such as what they ate, what they wore and their beliefs. The book is well illustrated with reconstructions. Alongside this key information are four songs, unique to this series, which bring the facts to life. At the end of the book is a simple playscript, Theseus and the Minotaur, for children to act out using as props the objects made in the craft activities. Really well thought out.

History Showtime: Ancient Greeks Liza Phipps

It's not easy to find new approaches and bring fresh interest to books on key curriculum issues but Franklin Watts succeed in surprising me with their innovative ideas. This approach will be welcomed by teachers as it gives the opportunity to incorporate performing arts into the history curriculum making this a truly cross-curricular book as there are also craft ideas. The book looks at who the Ancient Greeks were and describes their everyday life, such as what they ate, what they wore and their beliefs. The book is well illustrated with reconstructions. Alongside this key information are four songs, unique to this series, which bring the facts to life. At the end of the book is a simple playscript, Theseus and the Minotaur, for children to act out using as props the objects made in the craft activities. Really well thought out.

Soldiers of the First World War: Voices from the Trenches by Simon Adams

2014 is going to see a huge amount of activity centred on the First World War, so it's good to see many resources being produced which will help teachers delivers the subject in an interesting and relevant way. As the title shows, the key part of this book is the actual experiences of the soldiers in the trenches and the personal accounts really help children to share in the way the soldiers, many of them very young men, felt. The sections are themed - Getting into uniform, Under bombardment, Invalided out - and each has photos, explanatory text and true experiences which show the bravery and the fear felt by the soldiers during a war which wiped out a large part of a generation.

A Photographic View of World War One (Past in Pictures) by Alex Woolf

The National Archives form a phenomenal resource and it's excellent to see it brought to people's attention through this series of books based on its collection. Bringing history alive, this collection of artefacts give a rare picture of what conditions were like - in the trenches, in the Women's Land Army, in the factories, during air raids and more. It's an excellent way to get a more complete picture - so many books focus on life in the trenches that this adds a level of interest and understanding. Of especial interest to teachers will be the section 'Questions to ask and points to explore' which is full of stimulating ideas relating to the content of the book. Strangely, there is no index although there is a glossary.

A Photographic View of World War One (Past in Pictures) by Alex Woolf

The National Archives form a phenomenal resource and it's excellent to see it brought to people's attention through this series of books based on its collection. Bringing history alive, this collection of artefacts give a rare picture of what conditions were like - in the trenches, in the Women's Land Army, in the factories, during air raids and more. It's an excellent way to get a more complete picture - so many books focus on life in the trenches that this adds a level of interest and understanding. Of especial interest to teachers will be the section 'Questions to ask and points to explore' which is full of stimulating ideas relating to the content of the book. Strangely, there is no index although there is a glossary.

Inventions (Know It All) by James Nixon

Children can impress their friends with just how much they know about inventions! From the earliest inventions - the wheel, glass blowing - through to the modern day inventions which make our world what it is. I personally found this book rather confusing in terms of the order and layout making it hard to locate specific information. It is designed to appeal to children with its fun facts, colourful layout and true or false questions. The quiz adds a fun element to the book.

Really and Truly: A story about dementia by Emile Rivard

Hard for children to understand, when they see a loved one who cannot remember and who acts unusually, so tackling this situation through the means of a story is a good way to help understanding. The story explores the relationship between Charlie and his grandfather who has developed Alzheimer's and dementia. Now Grandpa can no longer tell his stories, Charlie has the idea of telling them back to him - and occasionally there is a smile. This book doesn't give you lots of background information about Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia or offer any hope that Grandpa will get better but it gives a child whose grandparent suffers from dementia a way into discussing the changes that are taking place and how they might deal with these. It's good to see this sensitive topic handled thoughtfully and helpfully, in a way that will open the channels of communication.

Really and Truly: A story about dementia by Emile Rivard

Hard for children to understand, when they see a loved one who cannot remember and who acts unusually, so tackling this situation through the means of a story is a good way to help understanding. The story explores the relationship between Charlie and his grandfather who has developed Alzheimer's and dementia. Now Grandpa can no longer tell his stories, Charlie has the idea of telling them back to him - and occasionally there is a smile. This book doesn't give you lots of background information about Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia or offer any hope that Grandpa will get better but it gives a child whose grandparent suffers from dementia a way into discussing the changes that are taking place and how they might deal with these. It's good to see this sensitive topic handled thoughtfully and helpfully, in a way that will open the channels of communication.

Diabetes (Explaining) by Anita Loughrey

A clearly written book book is clearly written which gives the facts which anyone who has any association with the illness will find helpful and reassuring. The book allows children to read the views of fellow diabetics at various stages of their life which is a helpful feature so they don't feel isolated. A positive book which will be useful to children who are diabetic and to help their friends understand the illness too. It provides plenty of detail and background and shows what can be expected.

From Armpits to Zits: The Book of Yucky Body Bits by Paul Mason

This book takes a humorous approach to what can be a sensitive subject, making it approachable and easy to remember and apply the advice given. Full of humorous illustrations and text, this book seeks to explain and demystify the strange, and sometimes disgusting, actions of the human body. Vibrant layout makes the book thoroughly enjoyable and it's a great way to convey these important messages in a light-hearted way that will offend nobody. beneath the humour, there is a great deal of practical advice and useful information.

From Armpits to Zits: The Book of Yucky Body Bits by Paul Mason

This book takes a humorous approach to what can be a sensitive subject, making it approachable and easy to remember and apply the advice given. Full of humorous illustrations and text, this book seeks to explain and demystify the strange, and sometimes disgusting, actions of the human body. Vibrant layout makes the book thoroughly enjoyable and it's a great way to convey these important messages in a light-hearted way that will offend nobody. beneath the humour, there is a great deal of practical advice and useful information.

Super Natural: Animals by Leon Gray

The natural world is an amazing place! Discover the incredible superpowers displayed by creatures in the natural world and learn how scientists have harnessed or mimicked these superpowers to create amazing developments in technology and medicine. Explore how the creations of animators and filmmakers have been influenced by these superpowers. In so many ways, man has imitated the marvels of creation to his own ends, for scientific gain or for simple entertainment. The appealing layout and dynamic presentation will make this book a hit even with those who are not keen to read.

What They Don't Tell You About: World War I by Robert Fowke

A more light-hearted approach than other books about World War I which acts as an excellent complement. It will draw in children who think they don't want to read about the war and they will learn a surprising amount. It will even answer some questions you never thought to ask... The reader is taken through the events of the war, illustrated throughout by cartoons which both amuse and inform. Life at home is also covered.

What They Don't Tell You About: World War I by Robert Fowke

A more light-hearted approach than other books about World War I which acts as an excellent complement. It will draw in children who think they don't want to read about the war and they will learn a surprising amount. It will even answer some questions you never thought to ask... The reader is taken through the events of the war, illustrated throughout by cartoons which both amuse and inform. Life at home is also covered.

The First World War 1914-1918 by Pam Robson

An excellent short book about the First World War which manages to cover all the key information and give an excellent basis for future learning. How and why the War began, what life was like both for soldiers and for those left behind. Find out what kind of weapons were used, the ships and submarines that patrolled the seas, as well as facts and information about food shortages, espionage and the dreaded poison gas. The book concludes by describing the after-effects of the War. Plenty of illustrations, including contemporary material, make the book even more interesting.

The World in Infographics: The Human Body by Jon Richards

Welcome to the world of infographics! This exciting form of data visualisation uses icons, pictograms and graphics to present information to kids in a whole new way. Marvel at the science behind the human anatomy, genetics, diseases, reproduction and our senses - all visualised in beautifully designed infographics which will make the information easy to recall and enjoyable to read.


Dinosaurs!: Ankylosaurus and other Armoured and Plated Herbivores by David West

Included in the twelve dinosaurs featured are some of the most heavily armoured animals that ever roamed Earth. Scary creatures and especially as they are shown depicted against realistic backgrounds that give a good impression of their size. Each creature is depicted across a two page spread; interestingly each is shown to scale against a rhino so we can appreciate their size. I like the layout of the contents page - it is very child-friendly with its picture of each dinosaur so children can easily find the one they are looking for. There are also other animals shown in the scenes and these too are described. Each title in the series, Dinosaurs! takes a close look at one particular type of dinosaur and reveals the facts about these incredible creatures - also available, among others, is Triceratops and Other Horned Herbivores (Dinosaurs!).

The Story of the Second World War by Paul Dowswell

I found this an excellent and succinct introduction to The Second World War - very readable and with a surprising amount of information; as the title implies, it is a story and the narrative style makes for this easy reading experience. I read it avidly and learnt a lot from it. Published in association with the Imperial War Museums, it examines the causes of the war and its great battles and catastrophes. The human aspect is well covered too - how the war affected nations and people all over the world.The illustrations are wide-ranging including contemporary photos and posters, cutaway drawings, charts and maps and many, many coloured drawings depicting all aspects of the war.



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