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A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2019 | The world of wolves is brought vividly to life in this brilliant story which takes the reader right into the mind of a young wolf cub who has to make a brave decision to leave his home and head out into the wide, wide world. Swift is one of a litter of cubs who grow up under the careful protection of their mother and father. From them they learn how to smell and see food and danger and how to stay safe in all circumstances. But, when a rival wolf pack invades their territory, Swift has to move on. Alone, he has to travel on a journey risking everything. Rosanne Parry captures the awesomeness of the vast open spaces through which Swift travels making them come alive. The effect is to leave readers with the greatest respect for the wild and the animals that live in it.
April 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month April 2019 | Take an inspiring journey into sixteen very special and important landscapes each of which is brought to life in glorious large-scale illustrations. These set the scene for amazing dramas of nature that are taking place within them. From tropical rainforest to scorching deserts, these protected environments are home to rare and beautiful animals and plants which are shown here in glorious illustrations that display their finest details. While the illustrations will draw the readers in, there is also a wealth of information included in the fact file at the end making this a book that is full of value as well as beauty.
There’s always something irresistible about flaps and lifting them to see what’s hidden beneath and they are put to very good use in this robust and attractive information book. Here lifting the flaps reveals facts, diagrams and illustrations all showing young readers more about our planet, from what’s under the Earth’s crust, to what’s inside a volcano or glacier, to how a tornado develops. It’s clever and well-thought out, an excellent and memorable way of conveying lots of information. Peep through cut-outs on each page make it feel even more fun and interactive.
Via simple but elegant illustrations, and a gentle sometimes playful rhyming text, this picture book passes on all sorts of information about water and its importance, while never losing the sense of the beauty of this essential element. Words and illustrations take us back in time to the beginning of life on Earth, up hills and deep below the surface to explain that “clouds, rain, river, sea, water cycles endlessly”. Carefully placed splashes of colour underscore pages of different blues, the tinkling rhythm of the text bringing a sense of calm. It all concludes with five fascinating facts about the “world wide wet” and this is a book to savour on lots of different levels.
July 2018 Book of the Month | This clearly written visually stunning book will have children jumping in to learn all about a wide variety of topics – history, nature, science, medicine, even philosophy: who’d have thought that holes could contain so much? They are a passion of the author and his enthusiasm spills onto the pages. Whether he’s looking at natural holes, manmade holes, holes in humans (mouth, nose, eyes, bottom), or the ways holes have been described in maths and philosophy, the information presented is fascinating and often dramatic. The painterly illustrations match the text for depth, and are often quite beautiful to look at. Like the best non-fiction, this is full of answers but will leave readers ready to ask more questions.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2018 | A stunning and original book and a useful one too. Subtitled ‘A Celebration of Nature’s Greatest Show-offs’ in glorious pictures it introduces over 600 different plants grouped together under all kinds of headings. There are some nice indoor plants under the heading ‘Air-fresheners’, a dramatic spread of ‘The Magical’ and some beautiful spreads of ‘The Ornamentals’. It’s a book that will whet any child’s interest in plants and excite them about the very many possibilities that they offer. There’s a useful index for helping readers revisit some of the amazing plants that have caught their eye. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2018 Square by Mac Barnett A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge A Perfect Day by Lane Smith Gaspard the Fox by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew Wonder Goal! by Michael Foreman The Sand Dog by Sarah Lean The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell Plantopedia by Adrienne Barman
Shortlisted for the UKLA Shortlist Book Awards 2019 | Nominated for the 2019 Kate Greenaway Medal | Take a tour of the oceans in Yuval Zommer’s engaging reference book. It guides us through the seas in the company of the living creatures you’d see there, from the sea turtles and rainbow schools of fish in tropical waters, to whales and tuna, shoreline dwellers and the inhabitants of the deepest, darkest waters. Each page is wonderful to look at, and answers the questions children really want to ask: how fast does a flying fish need to swim to launch itself out of the water? Who does an octopus need eight arms? How long can a seal hold its breath underwater? There’s information too on the danger to the oceans from pollution and global warming, while a page of ‘fishy-phrases’ gives children the technical language to use when describing the animals that live in the sea. A book to inspire and entertain as well as inform.
This robust, beautifully illustrated board book is a great way to teach young children about nature, and will also boost their vocabulary. Themed under headings such as gardens and parks; feathers, eggs and nests; and rocks and gems, the pages feature an array of birds, animals, insects and plants, all clearly illustrated and labelled. Many will be familiar to UK children, the little wren for example, branch of ivy, or dandelion clock, while others are more exotic – the Baobab tree, or Arctic fox. Each page, each object is lovely to look at and provides so much to spot and discuss. ~ Andrea Reece
Award-winning author and illustrator Debi Gliori obviously loves the Hebrides and shows readers just what is so special about these rugged islands in this beautiful picture book. In the guise of an alphabet book she takes readers exploring in the company of a girl, a boy and their dog. The three play by burns, tramp through fields of cotton grass, sit by the kyle until the sun slips into the sea. All sorts of birds and wildlife are spotted, all at home in the stunning scenery which is represented in glowing watercolour illustrations. Children and adults alike will love poring over the pictures, soaking up the atmosphere and spotting details. A book to treasure, it should prove a huge boost to the Hebdridean tourist industry too!
March 2018 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Graphic novel, information book, horticultural history, A Big Garden is beautiful to look at, totally original and rather remarkable. Beginning in May, it takes readers through the year in a garden, above and below ground, describing the extraordinary amount of activity that goes on, the actions not just of the gardeners but of the plants and insects too. Detailed passages of text are full of information, e.g. listing all a gardener must do to protect his crops in June, describing the amazing methods that plants have evolved to protect themselves against threats. At times it’s philosophical – ‘put simply, gardening is all about interpreting the future and overcoming the unforeseeable’ – at other times poetic – a gardener ‘always has his hands in the soil, and looks up to the sky’. The illustrations are equally inspiring and attention-grabbing, vividly naturalistic paintings of fruit and plants set against fantastic scenes in which miniature gardeners toil away. Beautiful and inspiring, it’s a book to treasure. ~ Andrea Reece
Whether you want to learn about different bugs, find out how to spot insects, or take part in creepy-crawly inspired activities to brighten up a wet day, this We’re Going on a Bear Hunt inspired guide will get you going. It’s full of information about the bugs that share our gardens, parks and houses, and those that live by rivers or in woods. There are four pages of stickers so that you can record what you’ve seen, and lots of suggestions for fun bug-related things to do both in the house and outside. Clearly and attractively laid out, it’s very accessible for children and great both for school projects and fun family days out. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: magic, friendship, adventure Like a crisp layer of new snow in sunshine, Alex Bell’s novel sparkles with excitement and adventure. In the tradition of fairytale heroes Stella is an orphan, brought up by the explorer who discovered her abandoned as a baby. Though she looks like a snow queen with her white hair and blue eyes, Felix and his relaxed, happy upbringing have given her a warm heart, something that turns out to be very important. Stella longs to be an explorer too and, against the strict rules of the Explorers Club, Felix takes her on a trip to the Icelands; but it’s when she and three other children are separated from the grown-ups that the adventure really begins. Can Stella, Shay, Beanie and awful Ethan make discoveries, and make it home? The setting is magical, the cast of characters hugely appealing and the chain of adventures that befall them thrilling. This well-written, charming and imaginative adventure story is highly recommended. Andrea Reece