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With Spring on it's way and the promise of time to spend outdoors in the better weather, here's a fabulous selection of books that will help you and your children enjoy your garden and the great outdoors and perhaps even discover a life-long hobby in the making.
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.
Studies have shown that time in nature can have a positive impact on physical health, mental health and development so if you’re worried about your children spending too much time indoors, it’s well worth getting hold of a copy of this book. It’s full of information and activity ideas to make a trip out, whether into the countryside or a local park, a fun experience for all. Colour illustrations give it the friendly feel of a picture book, but colour photographs of trees, leaves and flowers make it a useful information book too. With helpful notes for adults at the back plus suggestions for further reading, it’s a valuable guidebook and one that will inspire fun days out, and even a lifetime love of nature.
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.
Anyone who fancies becoming a nature detective needs a copy of this book. Over pages packed with colour illustrations and animal facts, it explains how to read the signs that wild creatures leave, whether that’s paw tracks, a tuft of fur, a hole in the ground, or a pile of poo. The first section is poo based, with pages called Faeces Fun and Who Dung It?, but lots of other things are covered too including where and how animals build their homes and how you can spot who’s been eating what. Text and illustrations are engaging and lively and this is a book as entertaining as it is informative.
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!
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
A trip to the country, local park or even into the back garden will be lots of fun with this special pack, which has everything children need to discover and find out more about the nature surrounding them. It contains a 32 page colour book full of suggestions for things you can do outside, from animal tracking to making a mini pond. There are spotter sheets so that you can note down what you see on your outdoor adventures and a tally sheet to keep a record, and there’s even a poster for your bedroom wall. Just the thing to encourage youngsters to put down the console or remote control and head outside.
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 March 2018 This chunky book imitates a bird house in shape and makes a great format for an attractive lift- the- flap information book about the different habitats of birds. These include duck houses which float on lakes and ponds for ducks, dovecotes set up high on walls to keep the pigeons and doves who use them safe from predators, and owl boxes so owls can sleep safely. There is also information about feeding birds and providing them with water. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2018 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King Coo by Adam Stower Splish, Splash, Ducky! by Lucy Cousins We Are Not Frogs! (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear by Margrete Lamond Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird What Do People Do All Day? (50th anniversary edition) by Richard Scarry Bird House by Libby Walden Bug Hotel by Libby Walden Alone Together by Clayton Junior The Lost Penguin by Claire Freedman
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. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for March 2018 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King Coo by Adam Stower Splish, Splash, Ducky! by Lucy Cousins We Are Not Frogs! (Little Gems) by Michael Morpurgo The Sorry Tale of Fox and Bear by Margrete Lamond Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird What Do People Do All Day? (50th anniversary edition) by Richard Scarry Bird House by Libby Walden Bug Hotel by Libby Walden Alone Together by Clayton Junior The Lost Penguin by Claire Freedman
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
Whether you want to learn about different bugs, find out how to spot insects, or take part in creepy-crawly inspired activities to brighten up a wet day, this We’re Going on a Bear Hunt inspired guide will get you going. It’s full of information about the bugs that share our gardens, parks and houses, and those that live by rivers or in woods. There are four pages of stickers so that you can record what you’ve seen, and lots of suggestions for fun bug-related things to do both in the house and outside. Clearly and attractively laid out, it’s very accessible for children and great both for school projects and fun family days out. ~ Andrea Reece
From exploring the great out-doors to exploring great cities let some of these books be your children's guide.
Join some experts in each of their fields and let them guide you through birds and wildlife in your garden and beyond, get your children growing their own vegetables, learn about survival and so much more.
So leave that computer or television behind and get out there and enjoy yourselves!
Click here to download an activity pack, produced by Julia Green, the author of The Wilderness War, full of exciting outdoor activities to do including building a campfire, making a pond, ID the trees around you, go tracking animals and lots more.