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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.
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 is a boy just like any other, but Joe loves to imagine. Joe lives in a pretty ordinary tower block, in a rather ordinary city. His world is rather grey. However, he spends his time imagining a wonderful world filled with exotic plants and unusual animals. Once day Joe decides to plant a seed on his balcony, he waits and waits but nothing happens! Joe gives up and goes back to his daily life, but one day when he least expects it he spots that the seed has turned into the most beautiful tree. Joe begins caring for the tree and growing lots of other plants on his balcony and soon everyone in the neighbourhood is getting involved.
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
Colourful, appealing and packed with information, this lovely book will make any family trip to the park, countryside or seaside even more enjoyable. It’s full of facts about the birds you could see, from robins and blackbirds, to skylarks and kingfishers, as well as tips on how to spot them, what to look for, and general bird-watching behaviour. There are stickers to add to record birds spotted, and lots of extra activities to do when you are back at home, from craft projects and board games, to recipes, and you can even learn to play a simple bird-song on the recorder. ~ 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
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017 Described as ‘the Bansky of the bird world’, Matt Sewell has created a fabulous hide-and-seek guide designed to inspire children to start bird watching both on the page and outside. Jungle, desert, woodland and city oasis - each beautiful double page spread shows an amazing wildlife habitat for birds and, in each, there is a native bird of that place hiding! Enjoy bird spotting and also Matt Sewell’s glorious and vibrant illustrations. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2017 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King of the Sky by Nicoloa Davies A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis King Coo by Adam Stower The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman The Big Bird Spot by Matt Sewell
In typically lively style Andy Seed provides youngsters and their families with loads of ideas for things you can do outdoors, whether that’s in the garden, at the beach, in the countryside or town. Some of the activities offer great opportunities to get delightfully mucky, while there are lots of quieter, more specifically educational ones too (like making a bird feeder, or a paper Frisbee). There’s a section of graded activity challenges at the end, which can and will be enjoyed by the whole family and it’s all laid out in a way that makes every suggested activity seem both fun and eminently do-able. ~ 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.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.