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From fossilised feathers to long-necked lookalikes, this ingenious book is packed with so many amazing dinosaur discoveries, you'll soon become a palaeontology pro. Including jaw-dropping research that will debunk many myths about all kinds of prehistoric creatures - you'll never look at a pigeon the same way again!
Right from the introduction, which explains that insects are not only the most numerous animals on the planet, out-numbering humans by 1.4 billion to one, but the most important, this excellent information book opens readers’ eyes to the wonders of planet insect. Attractive colour illustrations and diagrams support illuminating text which passes on facts in a way guaranteed to inspire and intrigue young readers as well as to inform them. The section on cockroaches for example, lets us know that while they have a bad reputation for breaking into buildings and spoiling food, they’re also some of the best recyclers in the animal kingdom. The book covers the huge variety of insects that exist, explaining the differences between groups and its author’s fascination with her subject is contagious. A final section encourages children to go out into gardens or parks to observe insects in their natural habitats and, inspired by what they’ve read, lots will be eager to do just that.
A set of 6 vocabulary workbooks to support home learning. This is quite a challenging task, but a much needed resource in the current times. Each book is geared to an age range from years 1 to 6 covering all classes in KS1&2 age range. The books cover the vocabulary expected within the National Curriculum, including words used in history, science and geography topics. The books are colourful and beautifully put together with imaginative and detailed graphics, making them appealing to children. There are some super creative ideas within the worksheets, with many fun exercises and act as a good first step to build literacy skills. All the pages are based on extending vocabulary, so anything new learned is a positive thing. Within a year of education, there is an enormous differentiation in ability which is a hard thing to tackle in a workbook with no teacher input, though the instructions are clear and helpful. Looking at the instructions, the children should be encouraged to attempt the first two levels, (grasshopper and Shinobi,) themselves without support, though this will obviously depend on the child’s ability. I think that children will enjoy the opportunity to discuss the pages with an adult, and the books provide lots of new ideas for the supporting adult which could be extended and developed. The idea of downloading a certificate of achievement is always a bonus and provides added incentive and motivation. In conclusion, they are a fun and engaging resource, providing much needed support for home learning.
Why the World is Not as Bad as You Think | From the same stable as the very excellent Dosh: How to Earn It, Save It, Spend It, Grow It we have a clear, accessible, fact packed analysis of the crises facing the world, charting the progress that has been made and the grounds for hope. I think everyone has recognised that this generation of young people may feel completely overwhelmed by what they have experienced and be suffering serious mental health issues as a result. This book aims to help re-set their view of the world. The fascinating introduction explains psychologically the human fascination for bad news and how media focuses on the memorable story, which is inevitably horrific. There is an excellent summation of what fake news is and the difference between disinformation and misinformation and then some brilliant tips on how to fact check and spot fake news. But this is by no means a recipe for complacency since every section: Humans, Politics, Planet, Health, Society and Arts, begins by outlining the problems, before the mix of quotes, anecdotes and fact boxes and case studies shows exactly what has been achieved already and what is in progress. This includes many projects that I certainly had never heard of, such as the Great Green Wall of Trees being built across the whole of Africa. Every section also includes Challenges – empowering ways in which an individual can contribute to solving and not being the problem. It is highly admirable that this book goes beyond the obvious environmental issues to include politics and society and it is salutary to remind ourselves of the progress made on human rights, education and equality. Also admirable and entirely fitting with the concept is a list of information sources and the origins of all the quotes used. An invaluable and much needed resource from an author with a real facility for straight talking and not talking down to young people.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | Thoughtful and inspiring, Protest! covers the theory of protest – how it works, why people take part, why it is so important in bringing about change – and, above all, the tactics to bring about change that were used in any particular protest. The individual protests are grouped together under headings including: Independence and Resistance which contains ‘Resisting the Nazis’; Rights for Women from ‘Suffragettes’ to ‘Women’s Lib’ and, bringing the subject up to date, Global Uprising including ‘Arab Spring’, ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ and New Grassroots including ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and ‘School Strikes’. In the text and illustrations, Alice and Emily Haworth-Booth make these campaigns from the past vivid. Through their telling of these stories – which they acknowledge are the campaigns that they themselves are committed to -they inspire all those with a cause to support to get involved.
The Magic of Exploring the Outdoors After Dark | Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge. With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to chattily speaking to children direct, but with a background in theatre and environmental education, and currently working as professional storyteller alongside directing the Call of the Wild Foundation programme for educators-in-training, the author is well-placed to advise on how to engage young explorers. As for the activities, the book covers a blend of games, walks and sensory experiences, the latter of which form an excellent foundation from which to explore the world at night, with exercises designed to focus and enhance one’s sensory perceptions. Then there are practical activities covering the likes of learning to call for owls, detect bats and understand the night sky alongside immersive theatrical activities, such as hosting nocturnal animal performances and fireside storytelling. With black-and-white illustrations throughout and activities to last the entire summer holidays, this certainly shines an inspiring and informative light on night-time nature.
June 2021 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Andy Seed’s book puts us up close and personal with some of the amazing giants of the ocean. Using his special ‘tranimalator’ machine, which allows him to talk to animals and which works just as well underwater it seems, Andy dives into the sea and starts interviewing. Among those he questions are a bull shark, a blue whale, a giant squid and an anglerfish. He asks exactly the kind of questions kids would ask, and the answers are very revealing, full of information about where they live, what they eat, and what likes to eat them! Some of their answers are pretty funny – these creatures have a good sense of humour and like to tease Andy – but there are constant reminders too about the dangers they face from plastic pollution, fishing and global warming. With lively, appealing illustrations by Nick East, this is a quirky but really effective information book.
How to Be the Best You Can Be | Dedicated to every young person who is trying to find their way and his mum for helping him to believe that dreams can come true, this is a motivational book by the man of the moment, the inspirational Marcus Rashford, and co-writer Carl Anka. It’s a positive and inspiring guide for life, packed full of stories from Marcus’s own life and calling for the readers to be their OWN champion, and that if they believe in themselves, incredible things can happen. With engaging black and white illustrations and infographics, it’s a great book to inspire any child to be the best they can be. Marcus Rashford MBE is Manchester United’s iconic number 10 and an England international footballer. His lobbying of the UK government during the pandemic made Marcus a household name, outside of sports fans, as he successfully lobbied a u-turn of their policy around free school meals. Before he became a global star, Marcus was just a young boy, an average kid from Wythenshawe in South Manchester – with a dream. This book gives every child the tools they need to reach their full potential. With chapters covering everything from building your confidence to navigating adversity, finding your team, using your voice and stand up for other. And never stopping learning. With action points at the end of each chapter featuring brilliant advice and top tips from performance psychologist Katie Warriner, this is a practical guide for every child to believe that their dreams can come true.
The Devonian period is often called ‘the Age of the Fishes’, and of all the fishes, the Dunkleosteus was the scariest and most powerful of all, the apex predator. Huge, with an armoured head, and the fastest bite you can imagine, it ate everything, including other Dunkleosteuses (i?). None of that helped of course when the Dunkleosteus faced a mass extinction event, in its case, it was a victim of the Late Devonian mass extinction, the only one that might have been caused by trees. In the second in his excellent series on extinction, Ben Garrod brings this amazing creature back to life, and explains all that we think happened during the Late Devonian era. This is non-fiction at its very best – completely up to date, packed with information explained clearly and through some excellent analogies, it tells us everything about the period and creature in question, and lots about our own world too. Buy the set!
Like a small worm, but with a head and teeth, and spines, and legs, the Hallucigenia is not something most of us could identify, and no wonder: this little sea dwelling invertebrate went extinct 450 million years ago. It was the End Ordovician extinction that did for the Hallucigenia, along with 85 per cent of species living in the seas and oceans at the time. All this is explained quite brilliantly in Ben Garrod’s book, the first in his new series Extinct. By the end of the book, not only will readers know all we know about Hallucigenia (and how we’ve worked it out), but they will have a really good understanding of extinctions and the Ordovician in particular. In Garrod’s hands, this is absolutely riveting, the book is full of information and scientific ideas, made clear as can be, his inspiring text illustrated with charts and colour illustrations. This extinct worm’s-eye view of the world is exactly the thing to make us understand our planet and our place on it.
There are sure to be hundreds, maybe thousands of books written about the pandemic and its impact, but few will match Outside Inside for insight, power or truthfulness. In 48 pages and less than 500 words, LeUyen Pham manages to describe and explain the events of the last 18 months, how we all moved outside inside (except those who needed to carry on – the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, hospital porters). The words are beautifully simple; the pictures, a mix of full double page spreads, smaller montages and vignettes, seeming so but full of details, nuance and meaning. In a key moment, a page turn answers the question, ‘So why did we all go inside?’ with, ‘Mostly because everyone knew it was the right thing to do.’ Featuring people from across the globe, it unites us all, no matter how different our lifestyles and, though it’s not afraid to acknowledge loss, it ends on a message of hope: the arrival of spring, inside and outside. A timely, welcome book, composed with immense care and attention.
The Young Cyclist’s Companion is a brisk guide for the aspirant bike rider all the way from choosing a first bike to techniques for wheelies and bunny hops and the finer points of riding in a group. Peppered with inspirational quotes from pro cyclists as well as the likes of Freddie Mercury and Albert Einstein, it includes lots of practical advice on equipment, maintenance and road safety as well as fun facts from the history of bikes and bike racing. Whether you want know how to adjust your brakes to perfection, corner at speed or which side of your helmet straps the arms of your sunglasses should be on, all the key elements of riding and looking after your bike are covered with infectious enthusiasm. At 38 pages long it’s short enough to be easily digestible for young readers and riders but those pages are packed with a surprisingly large amount of useful and entertaining information. Best of all it makes you want to get out and ride. ~ Sam Huby, Bikemonger Read a short Q&A with author Peter Drinkell in World of Adventure - 50 Books to Inspire