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Libby Walden is an editor at Caterpillar Books and a book review blogger at Through the Wardrobe. Libby’s days are filled with writing, reading and dreaming up new books. Read more about the author here.
This is an excellent first information book: full of facts that will intrigue the very young and spark their imagination. Each page features a different wild animal, native to the savannah, as a sturdy pop-up that will surprise and delight with each reading. We meet and learn about lions, giraffes, hippos, meerkats and elephants as well as about their shared habitat. The animals are captured in lines of rhyming text, with extra lines providing additional factual information. The illustrations are bold and eye-catching, and it all adds up to an excellent package.
Take the very young on a trip into the high mountains in this excellent first information book. Each page features a stunning pop-up depicting one of the animals native to the mountains, from wolf to bear, from Bald Eagle to a Rainbow Trout, particularly beautiful and dramatic in rich reds and greens. The animals are introduced via lines of verse while elsewhere on the page short lines of text convey interesting and intriguing facts. The pop-ups are not only beautiful but sturdy enough to stand repeated readings, and this is a book to inspire the very young.
September 2018 Book of the Month | September 2018 Book of the Month | From the clever cut-outs on the cover which reveal three figures at different times of life, this will catch the eye and hold the attention of young children. A gentle rhyming text describes the five stages of man, from tiny baby to the quiet days of the elderly, reminding us that every bit of growing up – that ‘journey to be “me”’ – has its own joys and challenges. The illustrations are beautiful – calm and simple with muted colours, but full nonetheless of detail and a sense of the uninterrupted passing of time. Lovely to look at, and lovely to read too, this is a book children can return to over and over to check their own journey to adulthood.
July 2018 Book of the Month | Cleverly designed and sensitively illustrated, this is a wonderful book to explore the world of feelings. Each double page takes a different emotion, from sadness to jealousy, loneliness to excitement, and examines it through simple lines of verse and Richard Jones’s warm, empathetic drawings. On each page is the same small child, spied through a die cut hole, and therefore placed at the heart of each emotion. We all feel these things, is the message; feelings are strong and real, but they come and go. Despite the tumult of different emotions, the overall sensation on reading this is one of calm and serenity, and it’s a book to make children feel more secure in their world.
Children who like their stories filled with larger-than-life characters, crazy comedy and the reassuring sense that love and goodness will win out, will really enjoy A.L Kennedy’s Uncle Shawn books. In the first book in this series, little Badger Bill needed rescuing from a particularly nasty couple; now the tables are turned and everyone’s best friend Uncle Shawn has been locked up by the awful ‘Dr’ P’Klawz, whose ambition is to rid the country of all types of fun and – above all – Unusualness. The action is fast and very funny, and leaves readers in no doubt that unusualness in every form is to be encouraged. Filled with some wonderful images (P’Klawz grins ‘like a cruel iceberg’) it’s made for reading aloud, and Gemma Correll’s black and white illustrations are an added treat.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2018 This chunky book imitates a bird house in shape and makes a great format for an attractive lift- the- flap information book about the different habitats of birds. These include duck houses which float on lakes and ponds for ducks, dovecotes set up high on walls to keep the pigeons and doves who use them safe from predators, and owl boxes so owls can sleep safely. There is also information about feeding birds and providing them with water. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2018 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King Coo by Adam Stower Splish, Splash, Ducky! by Lucy Cousins We Are Not Frogs! (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear by Margrete Lamond Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird What Do People Do All Day? (50th anniversary edition) by Richard Scarry Bird House by Libby Walden Bug Hotel by Libby Walden Alone Together by Clayton Junior The Lost Penguin by Claire Freedman
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2018 | Take a new look at some of the most common insects and mini-beasts around us in this fun to use information book about the habitats of beetles, bees, spiders, butterflies and more. Lift the flaps to find the out more about these insects’ homes and how they live.
With large flaps on every page, short accompanying explanatory sentences and attractive illustrations, this is a great book to introduce children to nature and the natural world. Focussing on the forest and its animal and plant life, the book is divided into six sections: plants, animals, pondlife, insects, habitats and baby animals. Lifting the flap entitled ‘den’ takes us underground, a line of text explaining that ‘a fox’s home is also called an earth and they live above and below ground’; a series of pictures under the flap called ‘frogspawn’ shows each stage of a tadpole’s transformation into a frog. Indeed, each page is full of interesting information and provides a starting point too for further conversations about nature. ~ Andrea Reece
Ten different illustrators explore the culture and customs of some of the world’s greatest cities in this stylish information book. Each city is portrayed across double pages, which in turn open out, enabling the reader to discover a wealth of detail about the different cities. As well as facts and figures, often awe-inspiring, there’s quirkier information, all illustrated: for example there’s a panel on Tokyo’s vending machines, some of which dispense very unusual things, as well as on the Sens?-ji Temple; the pages on Rome tell us about the city’s artichoke festival as well as about the Vatican and the Colosseum. Each illustrator has a distinctive style well-suited to the city they portray and the book gives a real sense of the bustling character of each featured city. ~ Andrea Reece
The renaissance in non-fiction and information books continues apace as publishers create beautiful books that inform and inspire readers. This is just such a book: ten accomplished artists each explore a chosen topic over a double page spread – though as each page also features a giant flap, they actually have space to work across six pages. Beneath the flaps readers can see what is happening within, so Thomas Pullin takes us inside some of the world’s different houses, from Musgum mud hut, to cave house and Japanese dentoutekina; Barbara Bakos takes readers inside the space shuttle; and Chester Bentley dissects a volcano. There’s a huge amount of information beautifully presented. This is a book for young readers to pore over, and one that really does provide a fresh perspective on our world. ~ Andrea Reece