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A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Have you ever wondered how a forest gets started? With huge trees growing up close and dense undergrowth covering the ground, their scale is so mighty that it is hard to think that they could ever have been small. Are they man made? Did an enormous giant or a massive business enterprise put them there? In a gentle and elegant story matched by simple, evocative illustrations Who Makes a Forest? helps children explore the multi-faceted ecosystem that sustains the many forests that cover so much of the earth’s surface. From the soil, made from the decay left by tiny clinging plants such as lichen and the insects that feed on them, through the first flowers that grow in that soil and the butterflies and bees and birds that feed off them to the massive trees and shrubs that we see today all stages of forest growth are covered. The book ends with 5 pages of useful facts about forests.
Rob Ramsden is an exciting new arrival on the picture book scene and We Planted a Pumpkin is a really lovely book, just the thing to get young children excited about nature, eager to plant seeds and see them grow. It stars two very young gardeners and follows them through the process of planting a pumpkin seed, from watching and impatiently waiting for it to grow as the seasons change. The children bring liveliness and action to every scene, but there’s always lots going on – new shoots appearing, mini-beasts flying in and out. Though it feels beautifully simple, it’s actually chockful of information and opportunities for learning. A gorgeous book to share with the young and likely to be the start of many adventures in the garden.
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.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | The newest addition to Yuval Zommer's bestselling series answers these questions and more as it introduces young children to all kinds of colourful, carnivorous, weird and wonderful flowering plants from around the world. Readers will enjoy learning about different edible flowers and why flowers are fragrant or colourful, not to mention grisly details about carnivorous and poisonous flowers.
We first met Mrs Noah in Mrs Noah’s Pockets whilst the family were all on the Ark. Now the Ark has made land and whilst Noah makes the Ark into a home, Mrs Noah sets about planting a garden in the fresh new earth. Her always deep pockets furnish all the seeds needed for the job, the ark provides the trees they have nurtured along the way and she enlists the children to help her tend the new garden. A deceptively simple story –it is in the illustrations that we see the development of the garden as the pictures move from a dark rocky palette, to a more organised series of garden terraces, with colour gradually growing in each spread as we progress through the book – until at last we have a wonderful explosion of plants and animals for all the birds, bees and humans to share. A wonderful celebration of the joys of planting and growing, I can see it being used to seed discussions around how you might create a garden – in school or at home. Plus, as the publisher points out, it provides a positive way of encouraging discussion around migrants and refugees – as Mrs Noah and her family build a new home in a foreign land. I can see this becoming a firm favourite in classrooms all over the country.
This little paperback does much more than it says on the tin. It encourages young readers to explore the outdoors (whether that’s via a ramble in the countryside, a trip to the local park or picnic in the garden) and shows them how to make the most of it by using their powers of observation and imagination. It asks you really look around and note what you can see, whether plants, insects or birds, and then to make sketches or maps of where you are. More, it encourages readers to make up stories and also includes short descriptions of famous people who found inspiration in the outside world, from Beatrix Potter to Claude Monet. It really should make young people see and think differently about the natural world around them, and packs in a great deal of information and stimulation.
Read this book and you will see flowers with quite different eyes. That’s its intention, as laid out in the introduction, and one it achieves quite brilliantly. Seventeen flowers are featured, most familiar to us all (dandelion, thistle, poppy, marigold), full colour, full page illustrations opposite a page of text. The text gives us size and appearance, where the plant grows, but also includes bits of history and folklore plus information on medicinal properties and how the plant has been used to heal over the centuries. Fascinating stuff, and you get a strong sense of the author’s expertise and enthusiasm. The illustrations are just as special, stylized, folk-art inspired images of the flowers with figures or birds and insects. Beautiful and mind-expanding.
The twelve poems in this book, one for each month, will inspire a year of nature watching and who knows, quite likely some poetry writing too. There’s drama and excitement in the opening poem which describes a legendary fight between warring starlings – ‘the Rorschach of the winter months’ - over Cork in the 1600s; other poems are quieter and February’s gives a beautiful close up view of frog spawn, opening up memories from Coelho’s own childhood. Many of the poems in fact reflect his own personal experiences and responses to nature, April showers, trips to the beach, walks through winter leaves, giving the poems a particular intensity and emotional impact. Kelly Louise Judd’s folk-are inspired illustrations make this as beautiful to look at as it is to read aloud. A superb collection and a lovely book to give.
Two young friends find a seed, and what an adventure follows. At first they play with it, but of course it doesn’t grow. Then they listen to it, plant it and wait as the seasons come and go until, in the summer sunshine, there stands a glorious sunflower. That’s not the end of the story though: the flower dies, as flowers do, but it leaves them more seeds. This is a beautiful and very clever illustration of the cycle of life, all wrapped up in a story that will be fun to read over and over again. The rhythmic text is great to read aloud and there are opportunities for children to copy the actions of its stars on every page as they dance, sing, get blown by the wind, and grow up like the sunflower.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Anyone who dreams of escape and adventure will love this book! Purporting to be the illustrated journals of an unknown explorer, discovered by Teddy Keen in a remote part of the Amazon, its almost 200 pages are packed with information on how to explore and survive in the wild. This covers pitching camp, making and sailing rafts, creating shelters in environments from deserts to the Arctic, as well as first aid and some ‘life-saving scenarios’. The pages are a mix of how-tos and anecdotes, with sketches and occasional full-colour double page illustrations and it’s guaranteed to light the flame of adventure in all readers! You don’t need to be in a far-off place to start an expedition of course, and the book makes clear that back gardens, parks and canals are all suitable locations for adventuring. An irresistible call to step into the wild.
June 2019 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2019 | Joe’s huge adventure starts with something very small, an apple pip. Though it takes a while, it grows – and grows. Inspired, Joe fills his balcony with plants and flowers grown from seeds, and thrilled with the effect it has on neighbours, decides to share them with people throughout his city. In an explosion of colour, a spectacular fold-out page reveals the extraordinary transformation he effects. A story of imagination and creativity that will brighten anyone’s world, this is a delight to read and share. Sam Boughton mixes watercolour with wax crayon, monoprint and photocollage to create scenes bursting with life and joy. Extraordinary indeed!
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.
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.
Bright and enticing, this activity book and the rainbow coloured ink pad will provide lots of fingerprint fun for all your little, budding artists. Children will delight in adding their own fingerprint art throughout the pages following the simple instructions. Highlighting the many delights found in the garden, they will be able to create birds, frogs, caterpillars, flowers, playful puppies and much, much more, all using a simple fingerprint technique. Colourful, cheery and easy to use this great little activity book comes complete with all the ink pads you need for your little ones to add their own creativity to the pictures and have some great (slightly) messy play. It’s so enticing you’ll be itching to have a go yourself just as we did in the Lovereading4kids office. It's great fun! ~ Shelley Fallows
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