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Books about animals, birds and all living things, their habitat and our world
May 2022 Non-Fiction Book of the Month | Ending with a call to readers to change the world, this handsomely illustrated book tells the story of the first Greek gods. We see it all from the viewpoint of Gaia, the goddess who created the world as a beautiful, peaceful place only to watch in anguish as her husband and then her children squabble, fight and even infect the mortals with their greed and jealousy. The stories are full of drama - Cronos swallowing his children, the gods of Olympus battling giants - and the book also describes the creation of the Furies and the Fates, giving us a different view of them. Told via a striking graphic novel format, it’s a visual treat while the direct, straight to reader text is very engaging. Much more than an introduction to early Greek myths, it will make readers see the world and their role in it differently.
This is the latest book in Ben Garrod’s excellent series, Extinct. Previous books have examined mass extinctions and the creatures that disappeared from Earth as a result, from Hallucigenia to the Megaladon, and we’ve learned that extinction can be a natural process and can even help evolution. But the mass extinction he’s examining in this book is different, because the Anthropocene has been caused by humans. The subject of this book, the Hainan gibbon, is not extinct but it is critically endangered. With the help of experts, Garrod explains the impact humans have had on habitats and species and how it’s still possible for us to save the Hainan gibbon and other endangered species. As with all the books in the series, it’s full of information and the latest scientific thinking, explained with real clarity and quite a bit of humour, the text accompanied by wonderful full colour illustrations. Garrod’s passion and enthusiasm shines through and readers of any and all ages will benefit from reading this series.
May 2022 Debut of the Month | Every page in this gloriously illustrated picture book exhorts readers to be wild and presents them with a series of unforgettable scenes to inspire them: a child carried on an elephant’s trunk, flying on the back of a swan, diving into the deepest blue. A text to stir the heart accompanies the illustrations and the final page leaves us standing with the child, arms flung wide under a sky full of stars. Truly beautiful, this is a book to summon up all that the world can offer and the possibilities in all of us for adventure, joy and discovery. Stunning.
The benefits – to physical and mental health – of going out for a walk are widely acknowledged, and they are all captured in this bright, joyful picture book. We join little Maya as she sets out for a walk, grown up in tow. There are so many fun things they can do together, from spying tiny secrets – busy ants scurrying, baby plants sprouting – to listening out for noises or copying animals. Each double page is lively, full of things to spot and name, and Maya herself is a busy bundle of energy at the centre of it all. It ends with Maya tucked up in bed and an invitation to think about the walk you will take as you drift off to sleep, while a final spread reminds us of all the things we can do on a walk. Walking, whatever the destination, will be much more fun after reading this.
Prize winning illustrator Mini Grey has used her many talents to create this wonderful tour of the development of our planet and all its inhabitants. Our guide in this amazing show is Rod the Roach and he and his insect pals all put on the most amazing stage show illustrating each of the developmental stages of the world. Where the stages’ wings would be there are side panels packed with information, small illustrations, and useful guides to how life might have been. The orchestra pit is where we can see the tape measure which gives us a timeline with lots of annotations, tiny illustrations and notice of when all the ice ages or warm ages happened. This is a visual delight that will have children poring over it as they look at the amazing planet that we live on. Each double page spread has so much to read and marvel at on it, that children will find it engrossing and informative in equal measures. I can see this being a classroom favourite for many years to come. This reader certainly gained a lot more knowledge about microbes than she had ever thought possible - and in such an entertaining way. The last double page spread is a full glossary of all the unusual and difficult terms that readers may not have come across before. This makes it into so much more than just an illustrated book but into a vital information resource for young readers.
The planets are going on holiday. Jupiter, Venus, Mars, Uranus, Mercury, Neptune and Saturn – they’re all packed and ready to go. But apparently there’s no room on the bus for Earth. She’s upset, and then determined so she sets off in her car and confronts the others about why didn’t they let her on. Their answer is surprising: they left her out because they think she’s got fleas… When Earth points out what the real reason is for all that movement, the others are amazed at the myriad of birds, fish, animals and insects that live on Earth. She explains to them too that they can’t catch the things she’s got, to support life you have to be just right. In Alex Latimer’s illustrations all the planets have personalities and their holiday to the Milky Way looks like great fun. There’s a message to learn about being kind to others, but lots of information to pick up too on the planets and their characteristics, and it’s all delivered in a satisfying rhyming text. And how can you resist any book that depicts the moon as a friendly little dog?
I can’t imagine why such an informative book hasn’t been written before! Looking at how the animal kingdom builds its homes and the ways this has influenced people to look at new construction methods and ways of living. A simple but fascinating story plays out here arranged into five different areas – looking at construction methods, the materials used, the shapes that nature produces, energy use and water use – all vitally important topics in modern construction. Animals and insects covered include the well-studied bee, termites, and coral as well as the wonderfully named Diabolical Ironclad beetle. Light is explored through the peacock and energy through the prairie dog and the tree. Who knew that the camel was fast becoming more famous for the way it’s nose works - by condensing the vapour it breathes out back into water and keeping it within its body? Or that this technology could now be used to help deserts bloom? This is a fascinating look at all sorts of animal builders and their legacies to us – arranged in such a way that it can be dipped into or read cover to cover. The bright illustrations and text blocks provide lots of information in a very accessible format. As is always vital in a book like this a detailed contents page and index help students find what they are looking for and a fun quiz finishes off the read. A book that will be used again and again.
A Story of Hope for Us and Our Planet | Whenever a new story by Michael Morpurgo, the nation’s most beloved storyteller, is published, it’s worth taking note for, as we know, the charm of the tale usually contains a vital and important message. In this wonderful story, told with Sir Michael’s trademark gentleness and empathy, he starts with a ‘conversation’ between himself and a blackbird that starts an idea which one animal passes to another and so travels the world through each animal’s song, whisper, call or cry until the whole of the world is singing together in gladness. It is a delightful whimsy that conceals the truth that everything on the planet is interconnected, that we are all reliant on each other’s place in the natural order of things. In so very few words Sir Michael gently reminds us that we are merely the custodians of our planet and that we are responsible for its preservation, that each and every one of us is a part of this world and needs to care for it. Gloriously illustrated by Emily Gravett, who makes sheep look fun and crocodiles kind, this is truly a book to gladden hearts, young and old alike. ~ Paul Blezard The LoveReading LitFest invited Michael Morpurgo to the festival to talk about his books, A Song of Gladness and the urgent need for us to join together in caring for the planet and every creature in it. The digitally native, all year round, online literature and books festival, with new content released every week is a free-for-all-users festival. What are you waiting for? Check out a preview of the event and sign up to become a member.
This wonderful picture book explores themes of empathy, mindfulness and personal growth through the eyes of a child. Beautifully written and illustrated by the aw ard-winning artist Emma Carlisle, What Do You See When You Look At a Tree? urges readers to reconnect with nature by asking questions that encourage critical thinking and reflection on their own development, as well as helping to establish a deeper appreciation for the environment and their place within it. Stunning watercolour and hand-finished artw ork draws parallels to the bestselling The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse, and evokes the classic nostalgia of E. H. Shephard's much-loved Winnie-the-Pooh.
We are all on Earth but for a fleeting moment, yet no two lives are the same. From the delicate mayfly, which lives for just a few precious hours, to the death-defying immortal jellyfish, this book about animal life cycles is a celebration of creatures big and small. Beautifully written by bestselling children's author Lily Murray, this book explores lifespans across the animal kingdom. Beginning with the very shortest, and ending w ith the longest, learn about the lives of the incredible monarch butterfly, the mysterious axolotl, the grand Galápagos tortoise and many more in this uplifting and eye-opening book. It has never been more important to appreciate and understand the diversity of life. Stunning illustrations by highly-commended artist Jesse Hodgson perfectly capture each animal in their natural habitat, making this the ideal gift book as well as educational.
Every page in this gloriously illustrated picture book exhorts readers to be wild and presents them with a series of unforgettable scenes to inspire them: a child carried on an elephant’s trunk, flying on the back of a swan, diving into the deepest blue. A text to stir the heart accompanies the illustrations and the final page leaves us standing with the child, arms flung wide under a sky full of stars. Truly beautiful, this is a book to summon up all that the world can offer and the possibilities in all of us for adventure, joy and discovery. Stunning.
Young readers who love the idea of exploration and in particular journeys to far off places to meet the animals that live there, will find lots to enjoy in this bright, stimulating information book. Double page spreads depict different habitats, from grassland to mountains, rainforests (you’ll need to turn the book sideways for that one) and the ice caps (North and South, turn the book upside down). Each scene is full of the amazing animals that thrive there, all depicted in attractive cartoon-style illustrations while integrated text gives us background information together with some amazing and memorable facts. Did you know for example that brown bears can eat for up to 20 hours a day; that marine iguanas, the only sea-swimming iguanas on earth, sneeze out salty sea water after a big swim; or that camels have two sets of eye-lashes. The page layouts and illustrations are very appealing and this is a great and inspiring way to explore the world without leaving home.
TV scientist Ben Garrod presents the biggest extinction events ever, told from the point of view of evolution's superstars, the most incredible animals ever to swim, stalk, slither or walk our planet. Whether you're 9 or 90, his unique exploration of the most destructive, yet most creative, force in nature makes top level science fun. Here are the superstars of the story of life, from the super-weird to the super-ferocious. Usually a species has 10 million years or so of evolving, eating, chasing, playing, maybe doing homework, or even going to the moon before it goes extinct. Thylacine was super-hunted. Wiped out by humans. The last wild thylacine was shot in 1930, and the last captive one died in 1936. We humans are the only species with the power to eliminate other species from the story of life. But who are the winners and losers? Collect all eight books about animals we have lost in mass extinctions caused by asteroids or mega-volcanoes, clashing continents and climate change.
Megalodon was a unique and terrifying killer, dominating every food chain in the ocean for millions of years, the ultimate prehistoric predator. So what happened to make it go extinct 3.6 million years ago in the Pliocene epoch? Scientist and TV presenter Professor Ben Garrod’s series examines the world’s mass extinctions from the point of view of creatures around at the time, and makes for an absolutely fascinating way of telling the story of life on Earth. Each book in the series is packed with scientific information, well presented through accessible text and lots of colour illustrations by a palaeoartist no less. There are additional contributions from experts, a glossary and – particularly useful – a pronunciation guide. Every book in the series will grab and hold the attention of young palaeontologists, but the story of the ferocious megalodons will be particularly gripping.
When Jonas the lighthouse-keeper is rescued from the stormy sea by a whale, they become friends. But soon Blue the whale is in great danger too, and now he needs help from Jonas. This touching love story from world-renowned picture book creator, Barroux, beautifully highlights the urgency of saving our whales and our oceans.
‘What is the most important animal of all?’, asks a teacher of a young class after they’ve spent a term learning about animals big and small. They all have different suggestions. George thinks it’s elephants, Nimmie puts forward bees, Seb votes for sharks and Kai nominates beavers. Others namr bats, tigers and even krill. As they make the case for their chosen animals, the children explain just why they’re so important, describing the effect they have on the environment and fellow creatures. Illustrations are perfectly combined with photos, fact boxes and text to demonstrate just how interconnected is our world and its ecosystems. The book provides a wealth of information presented clearly and in a way that will inspire young readers. The final spreads explain ‘keystone species’ and provide a glossary and ‘Find our more’ section. A very impressive and well-thought-out information book.
Created in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this bright, appealing and interactive board book is a perfect way to inform the very young about the wonders of fruit and vegetables. In the garden, vegetables are sprouting; we can see their leafy tops. ‘What could they be?’ asks the text. Lift the sturdy flap – just right for little fingers – and there are parsnips, potatoes are carrots growing underground. On the following pages, we can lift flaps to discover more about things growing in the greenhouse, the orchard and inside the net cage, while the final flap reveals the special things growing in the pretty greenhouse, including bananas, pineapples and papayas. The cheerful illustrations are true to life and lovely to look at, and there are mini-beasts and brightly coloured flowers to spot and name on every page too. Part of a series of (very) first information books, this will be lovely to share with little children and will teach them so much about the food they eat.
Created in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, this boldly illustrated board book introduces the very young to some of the brightly coloured birds in our gardens, parks and countryside. The text is short, of course, but thoroughly engaging and packs in a great deal of information. Special flaps, a good size for little hands, extend each page revealing more about the different birds featured, or answering questions such as, ‘who is flashing their pink and blue feathers?’ There are animals as well as the birds to spot on every page and this will be a lovely book to share with little children.
From its formation from a fiery rock, to the modern day, Anne Rooney’s The Story of Planet Earth is an exhilarating expedition through our planet’s 4.5 billion-year history, with Margarida Esteves’s rich illustrations further bringing this astounding story to life. Opening with interesting information about the creation myths devised by cultures around the world, readers are then given scientific explanations of the origins of the universe, the formation of Earth, and the early collision that gave our planet a new moon. From here we discover how Earth “settled into its orbit around the Sun, with its companion Moon going around it”, and then the beginning of life — though “scientists are not sure when or how life first started”. After explaining the three fundamental geological stages of Earth (snowball, icehouse and today’s greenhouse state), we then discover more about the likes of tectonic plates, volcanoes, mountains, and the explosion of life that happened 540-million years ago. Packed with facts, this is a great gift for confirmed young scientists. Moreover, the lively text and brilliant design (think fact boxes, clear headings and engaging diagrams) will surely spark an interest in science and geography in those who’ve yet to discover the delights of these subjects.
Winner of the Blue Peter Awards 2022 Best Books with Facts | An international best-seller, translated into 25 languages Often human scientists try and solve a problem or invent a new tool and they realise that animals have already invented it for them. In this book you will meet the animal inventors who have shared their super inventing powers to make amazing things for humans.
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