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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.
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.
Puddocks’s Pond is written and illustrated by Nan Eshelby. It is an educational and entertaining children’s picture book written in rhyme. It is 36 pages long and each page has a beautiful, bright illustration to depict the story. Some illustrations are left blank for children to colour themselves. The drawings are quite detailed, so there is plenty on each page to encourage discussions about the animals and insects. Eshelby uses words that are easy for children to understand. Her clever rhymes tell the story of Puddock the frog. He tells the children that frogs speak to each other in rhyme. He has a magic lily crown which helps him to talk to the children, Maisie, Daisy, and Mo. He asks them to build a pond in the garden so that all the animals and insects can benefit from the water. He explains how they all need water to live. He says that soon frogs, toads, newts, dragonflies, pond skaters, damselflies, foxes, hedgehogs, and birds will visit the garden to use the pond. Eshelby shows children what tools they need to build a pond and how to do it. Puddock explains to the children that toads and frogs will lay eggs (spawn) in the pond and soon tadpoles will hatch, which will eventually turn into frogs. The author hopes the book will inspire children to build ponds and that they will always find ways to help wildlife. I recommend the book to children from age 4 upwards. This is an excellent learning resource. It encourages children to be helpful and caring towards nature. At the end of the book, the author provides more detailed info on frogs, toads, and newts. This information will appeal to older children up to the age of about 10. Susan Gibbs, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Shortlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2022 | Notes from the Klaus Flugge judges; A small child begins a magical journey on the back of a huge and beautiful baleen whale. Together they sail the oceans, dancing with dolphins, diving through the blue seas and exploring the ocean beds. The judges admired the way the illustrations carry the story “so that you are swimming with the whale”. Padmacandra’s images are full of atmosphere and beautiful to look at.
In this cheerful, bright and colourful counting story, Eliza explores the natural world around her closely, using her magnifying glass. On each page she discovers a new set of small creatures, all commonly found in gardens and parks, and all instantly recognisable. The creatures, minibeasts and even the acorns are given human features and funny phrases, which make them relatable, but they are also very carefully and realistically drawn. This is a book full of visual knowledge and the delightful collage-like textures add to the realism. There is so much to see and talk about within these pages, it would be a great pick for a young child interested in the natural world or a class starting out on a science topic. The reader will certainly feel like taking the author’s advice to follow their curiosity out of the door to explore! Rachel Elvidge, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Winner of the Blue Peter Awards 2022 Best Story | A heart-warming and magical story of a very special relationship between a child and a polar bear which will inspire readers of all ages to realise that they, like April, can make a difference in the battle against climate change. When animal loving April arrives on Bear Island in the Arctic Circle where she will live for the next six months while her father runs the scientific operations she is told that, despite the island’s name, there are no bears on it. The melting ice caps mean that the polar bears can no longer arrive from the nearest mainland near Svalbard. But April soon finds out that there is one bear left. And April needs to do everything she can to keep him alive. Confident of her ability to communicate with the bear and to feed him, April nourishes the bear and even plans his return to safety. Beautifully illustrated by Levi Pinfold, The Last Bear invites readers to care about the science behind the fate of an endangered species and to believe in one girl’s magical solution to the problem. **The images and illustrations in this extract are subject to copyright © Levi Pinfold and may not be used without permission.
October 2021 Book of the Month | Readers live the life of a young African elephant in this absorbing picture book, discovering lots in the process about elephants’ way of life and the threats they face from mankind. ‘I’ll tell you our history – hear every word’, says the little elephant, and we learn how the herds are led by the grandmothers, passing down information and knowledge to the younger members, until their ability to cross the savannah as they have for centuries is interrupted by man with roads and fences. Charlotte Guillain’s rhyming text and Sam Usher’s rich watercolour illustrations give a vivid sense of the elephants’ way of life and our young narrator himself feels very alive. The final pages contain more information about elephants as well as the work that is being done to protect them, and explains how young people can get involved with conservation either in Africa or closer to home. A well thought out information book, beautifully presented.
Longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2022 | Beneath our feetway deep and down are beasts asleep in the cold, dark ground. Dig down through the layers of the Earth and travel back in time. Meet the trilobites that scuttled and crawled; the munching, crunching dinosaurs; and a herd of roaming woolly mammoths. This rhyming read will take you on a prehistoric adventure!
What a delight! This book is appealing on so many levels. There's the rhyming storyline which is always nice to read to young listeners. The drawings that can be coloured in. The educational aspect of the life cycle of the bees - who knew there were so many species - which is interesting for all ages and a future reference point. Also, the idea of making a wild flower garden to put all that is in the book into practice. This is a wonderful book for youngsters to engage with nature and understand the importance of bees in our world. Definitely recommended. Maureen Gourlay, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
How many children dream of flying? Of what it would be like to soar through the air like a bird? This beautiful book is the next best thing, giving readers insight into the lives of some very special birds. Each turn of the page introduces a new subject, and we learn about red-capped manakins dancing in the rainforests of South America, the long-legged godwit, which migrates from Alaska to New Zealand every year, and, closer to home, noisy long-tailed tits, woodpeckers and peregrine falcons. Full of information, it reads like an adventure story too as we discover more about the birds’ extraordinary lives and habits. Catherine Rayner is one of our best-known illustrators, a Kate Greenaway Medal winner, and captures perfectly the physical presence of her subjects in glorious illustrations that fill the pages. A book to open up children’s eyes to birds and the wonder of nature.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month August 2021 | The perfect book for everyone to join in! Each of the beautifully illustrated double-page spreads introduces one of 12 animals or birds describing the special noises they make – and the very different reasons they make them. When humpback whales want to call to their whale friends they sing long and low through the water but when a lion roars his fearsome roar he is boasting just how strong his is! When an owl hoots its distinctive hoot he’s telling other owls to stay away from his special tree while a gibbon, swinging through the trees, often calls out loudly to tell his friends to come and share the fruit he has found. Join each of these creatures – and more – by following the fun and engaging illustrations on every spread. Soon readers and listeners will be whooping and whinnying and hissing and squeaking just like the characters in the pictures!
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