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September 2019 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Matt Sewell is a passionate bird spotter as well as gifted artist and his enthusiasm shines through in this sumptuous book. He’s selected favourite birds from around the world, the exotic as well as the everyday, and each one featured is illustrated in his beautiful and expressive watercolour. The passages of text that accompany the illustrations include fascinating facts as well as information on the bird’s appearance and habitat, and some of the facts are really quirky – how the Australian Southern drongo came to provide the slang term for an idiot for example. This is a book to delight, intrigue and inspire 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
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
Winner of The English Association 2013 Prize (Non-Fiction 4-7) A beautiful book which brings nature to life in words and pictures. Nicola Davies interweaves fact and fiction as she brings each season into focus. She celebrates new growth and the rich harvests of autumn. Stunning, richly textured illustrations encourage young readers to look closely at the world around them.
Winner of the IBW Children's Picture Book Award 2014 A beautiful book which brings nature to life in words and pictures. Nicola Davies interweaves fact and fiction as she brings each season into focus. She celebrates new growth and the rich harvests of autumn. Stunning, richly textured illustrations encourage young readers to look closely at the world around them.
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! ~ 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!
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.
A wonderfully innovative collection bursting with energy, you can’t help but read with a smile. Chrissie Gittins is on a mission to save words from extinction, with forty exuberant and informative poems to celebrate amazing animals, birds and plants. The imagery is joyful; adders dance, beetroot paint your kitchen, and melons have an annual party, whilst Paul Bommer’s entertaining illustrations make the poems zing off the page. This is Gittins at her very best, playing with style and composition, and writing with zeal. Also check out BBC1 Countryfile on Sunday 22nd October for an interview with poet Chrissie Gittins. Chrissie is being filmed at the North Cornwall Book Festival talking about her latest children’s poetry collection ‘Adder, Bluebell, Lobster’. The book takes 40 of the 110 nature words deleted from the Oxford Junior Dictionary as titles for new poems.
Poems that span the globe encouraging all readers to look at the good and the bad aspects of it make this a rich and original anthology. Twinning the themes of the wonders of the world and the horrors of how we despoil it means that the poems are both celebratory and angry. That leads to an interesting contradictions of styles and moods. Piet Grobler’s vibrant illustrations bring the feel of different countries to life. ~ Julia Eccleshare
5+. With over 500 questions covering every corner of the animal kingdom, this title presents a mix of topics ranging from dancing bees to the colour of a giraffe's tongue. It features a variety of question types to keep you on your toes, including multiple choice, true or false, odd one out, and what am I?
A wonderful story about a blackbird and the many animals he involves in getting a message to his friend Apollo the swallow thousands of miles away in Africa. This is a Blue Banana title, perfect for developing readers who, either alone or in shared reading, are able to enjoy a single story but still with some speech bubbles and gorgeous full bleed illustrations on virtually every page. Follow the Swallow is part of the Banana Books reading series – quality stories for young readers – which in turn is divided into Green, Blue and Red Bananas. Green Bananas, are for first readers, generally from 3-5 years, Blue Bananas, like this one are for developing readers (age 5+) and Red Bananas are for newly fluent readers (age 6+). Every one of them is written and illustrated by well established authors and artists. ‘I love Bananas! They’re just right for the very young. They take children on adventures into life, into the imagination and into reading for pleasure’ - Wendy Cooling, creator of Bookstart. If you enjoy reading this Blue Banana and/or would like to see other titles in the bunch then click here.