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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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | Full of clearly presented facts and figures, plus useful advice on ways they can make a difference, this is an excellent introduction to the climate crisis for young readers. The language is simple and backed up throughout by illustrations making complex issues easy to understand and digest. Broken into five different chapters, the book explains the basics – the greenhouse effect and the danger from burning fossil fuels; introduces the IPCC and spells out why we are sure there is a crisis; talks about what we need to do, and why we’re not doing it faster; and finishes by listing things individuals can do now to make a difference, no matter their age. The conclusion reassures readers that having read the book, they will have the tools to imagine the future they want as well as ideas about how to get it. As always in Usborne’s reliable information books, it directs readers to websites where they can find out more via the special Quicklinks (usborne.com/Quicklinks). A stimulating, informative, expertly targeted, and positive guide to the major issue of our time. This would be good to read in conjunction with Josh Lacey’s new Hope Jones series which looks at climate change and what to do about it through the eyes of a fictional character.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2022 Information Books 3-14 | September 2020 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | This is a non-fiction book with a difference! Using his amazing ‘tranimalator’ machine, which, he tells us, translates animals’ sounds into words, author Andy Seed ‘interviews’ a horde or scary animals, including a tiger, a fierce honey badger and a snow leopard. He asks them some really interesting questions too and we learn all sorts of things – why humans are scared of wolves, how a massive animal like a giant anteater survives eating teeny little insects, what lionesses think of male lions (not much actually!). It’s quirky and lots of fun – some of these animal celebs have wicked senses of humour – but genuinely informative (I had no idea that jaguars eat caimans, or that giant armadillos build new dens every couple of days, or that sloths have mould growing on them!). It reminds us how many of these animals are threatened too and what we can do to help. The illustrations match the tone and it’s bright and engaging throughout. This is a book that children will be keen to share and to return to.
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.
First published over 150 years ago, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species still shapes how we see the world, and his words and theories are fascinating for young people. This handsomely illustrated book clearly explains Darwin’s discoveries and what they revealed in a way that even young children will follow and understand. It’s divided into short, manageable sections, each examining and elucidating Darwin’s ideas on selection and evolution, the final pages bringing us right up to date and outlining what we can do now thanks to modern discoveries and technology. Beautiful to look at, it’s genuinely inspiring, a way to tune young readers into Darwin’s thought process and spark their imagination and interest in science as a result.
Merfolk of the World | We are all fascinated by mermaids – whether it’s the story of The Little Mermaid, or the idea of mysterious creatures luring sailors into danger. This beautifully illustrated book introduces readers to mermaids from all around the world – not just the UK and Europe but across the Americas, Australia and Asia too; it seems that people everywhere have always been entranced by the idea of human creatures living in the sea or deep lakes. Many of these mermaids are beautiful, some are helpful and kind, others anything but. The stories will catch the imagination, and this is a book to pore over and return to again and again.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Starting with a timeline that stretches from the ‘Big Bang’ to ‘The Modern Age (1940- the present day)’ this is a largely pictorial history covering physical and social developments in big, bold outlines which convey the main messages which are then fleshed out in much greater depth through detailed, fact-filled captions. The topics covered in each of the double-page spreads include ‘Our Home in Space’, ‘The Dinosaur Age’ , ‘Cities, Civilizations and Empires’ and ‘Technology’. The illustrations that convey them determinedly simple which gives the book a welcome, distinctively different look. Find out more about Anna and another of her books, The Mermaid Atlas, in this Q&A.
This practical cookbook from leading children's cookery author Annabel Karmel is filled with fun, tasty recipes that will help parents inspire young children with a love of cooking, food and healthy eating. Inside, you'll find everything from Hidden Vegetable Bolognese to Teddy Bear Burgers, as well as nutritionally balanced snacks and sweets like oat and raisin cookies and fruity ice lollies. Recipes include child-friendly versions of food from around the world, such as stir-fries, paella and kebabs. The recipes cater to all dietary requirements, featuring swaps for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan versions. Adults will appreciate the emphasis on nutrition and straightforward, step-by-step instructions. And thanks to the engaging illustrations, children will love discovering more about the food they eat, as well as helping to create meals they'll love.
It’s time to flex your green fingers and get growing food, and this fun, accessible how-to book will give children masses of inspiration as well as practical advice. All you need is some soil, a packet of seeds, a watering can and trowel. Don’t worry if space is limited – a balcony or windowsill can be turned into a space for growing things. With this book you can be as ambitious as you like and grow a bean den, or a pizza garden (yum!), or work on a smaller scale. Author Annabelle Padwick’s enthusiasm shines through as well as her expertise, and the book encourages children to record their activities as they work through her advice. A book to grow a lifetime’s love of growing things.
A World of Houses and Habitats | Learn how humans have built dwellings to suit all kinds of habitats. Adapting themselves to all kinds of landscapes and climates, over the centuries humans have used their architectural ingeniousness to build amazing dwellings: find them here, from houses on stilts and igloos to tree houses and skyscrapers. Fully illustrated with clear, engaging artwork and intelligent, simple and original text presented in a clean, appealing design.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month March 2021 | Filled with curious and intriguing illustrations and with an original text filled with unusual and fascinating facts, this handsome, large format picture book takes a completely new look at vegetables. Accompanying each vegetable, or sometimes a pair of vegetables as with a carrot and a parsnip which are similar although they are described as ‘an odd couple’, there is an elegant text telling something of the history of how each one comes to be on our tables, something of how each one grows and something about the traditions about how we eat them. The delights in this book are perfect for sharing for all ages.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | This is a superb example of an information text, ostensibly for younger children, but with multi-age and multi-curriculum uses. It is also a thing of beauty, printed on high quality paper doing full justice to the stunning illustrations, with the author’s expressive brush work, clever layout and a palette filled with watery blues and greens and the white and grey of rain, fog and snow. A little girl notices the role of water all around her—a sprinkler, a tap, a stream, a lake. She also notices that water sometimes tries to hide, or change state, and that water is part of every living thing including her. The book concludes with four pages of beautifully clear explanations of water forms (liquid, solid and gas), the water cycle and the all-important conservation of water. There are some excellent suggestions of how to play and learn about water and true or false questions to check understanding. These are very well suited to older children too, as indeed the book is, as a model of writing and the effective use of figurative language. Poetic descriptions make this an enjoyable read-aloud and the larger font labels that identify the source of the water on each page (including Zoe the narrator) are perfect for vocabulary building for the youngest child. A really well thought out and brilliantly executed early science picture book that deserves a place in every school.