With distinctive styles of art and illustration in each book, these could be considered art books as well as information books. Featuring a variety of topics, these would be wonderful in class reading areas and libraries. I want to highlight the Endpapers on most of these books as well, as you get a true sense of artistry from these even before you begin reading.
What it’s Like to be a Bird by Tim Birkhead and Catherine Rayner, Published by Bloomsbury Children’s
Tim Birkhead and Catherine Rayner have collaborated to create a stunning book about our feathered friends. Students will be unable to resist picking this one off the shelf. As I was reading through this I was endlessly fascinated by the facts and the narrative style of the text. Each double page spread is gloriously illustrated in Catherine Rayner’s wonderfully distinct style and titled in creative ways. Tim’s clear experience and knowledge shine through, and his lovely way of introducing each bird truly sets the scene. From watching the red-capped manakin preparing for mating to the pairs of swans sailing through the water, you get a sense of what it is like to be a bird. Featuring twenty species of birds, from partridges tricking foxes, and game playing ravens, there is so much to enjoy and learn. I was enthralled with this book and loved flying around the world learning about these intelligent and clever species of birds.
Beetles for Breakfast by Madeleine Finlay and Jisu Choi, Published by Flying Eye Books
This bright and boldly illustrated book is the ultimate book for environmentalists and would be Eco-Warriors. Don’t be fooled by the title, this book is not a beetle compendium but a guide to imaginative and creative ways to save the planet. Scientists are constantly working behind the scenes and out of sight on weird, wacky and wonderful ways to eliminate waste, produce power naturally and use bacteria in new ways. Readers can dip in and out of rooms in their house or plan to go to the park, farm and beach. Each section will provide some clues as to how we may use things in the future or how we may eliminate items to save the planet. I was astonished several times over with some of the ideas, inventions and potential plans. I think the illustrations provide this book with a retro feel even though the concepts are entirely futuristic. I will be continuously dipping in and out of this one, and will potentially adopt some of the suggestions over time. Fantastic new information book and one that will prove to be very popular.
Mummies Unwrapped by The British Museum and Tom Froese, Published by Nosy Crow
The Ancient Egyptians are always a fascinating topic in schools- largely due to their practices, beliefs and structures. Many of us will have visited the British Museum to see mummies first hand, and we know they had interesting methods in preparing bodies for mummification. Simply written, in short bursts of text, this book is accessible for younger Egyptian fans, as well as older ones. The images are brilliant- colourful and informative, and a perfect accompaniment to the text. Each double page spread answers a well known and often asked question- What is a Mummy?, What Happened to the Organs?, Who are the most famous mummies? This golden, hard backed volume will be a hugely welcome addition to any classroom or school library- perfect for replacing outdated relics on the same topic.
Rescuing Titanic by Flora Delargy, Published by Wide Eyed Editions
The Titanic seems to fascinate children of all ages and the story is a familiar one to many, even after 110 years. This book takes a different approach and this new perspective is entirely welcome. When the Titanic struck the iceberg, SOS calls were sent but many ships were too far to assist. The Carpathia was the closest but it still took time for her to arrive, too late for many. The Carpathia was a more modest ship, carrying cargo and passengers bound for Europe from New York. A harrowing account of the events are laid out for readers with clocks in the corner showing exact times, correspondence and decisions that would affect both ships. While reading I felt such a sense of urgency on behalf of the Carpathia who even at full speed would take hours to arrive. She too had to navigate the ice in the water for her own safety and arrived to the devastation of too few survivors. Bearing her new passengers to New York, the Carpathia and crew were given a heroes welcome though the loss and grief were evident. It is so wonderful to see the Carpathia given the credit and acknowledgement she deserves. Brilliant illustrations offer a deeper look into the fateful events.
Inside Animals by Barbara Taylor and Margaux Carpentier, Published by Wide Eyed Editions
I can imagine this book being immediately popular and much coveted in the library. Many year groups cover the human body and so children learn about the bones, internal organs and functions of humans but there is so much to learn and discover about our favourite animals. This brightly illustrated and colourful book will fascinate readers as they see inside a snake, elephant and whale. The sheer vastness of some creatures is highlighted brilliantly by taking a look at their skeleton, muscles and organs. Some creatures are so small it can be hard to believe they have some of the same organs and functions as the larger creatures. This is a book to dip in and out of, with pages to entice and enthral, discover and learn. Promised to be brilliant and bizarre, this is one to add to any school classroom and library.
100 Things to Know About Inventions by Clive Gifford and Yiffy Gu, Published by Happy Yak (Quarto)
100 Inventions are featured in this fantastic book. Everything from the wheel to the World Wide Web and the pacemaker to Lego. Short explanations and clever, detailed drawings will help readers learn about a variety of inventions. The number 100 is used wisely in this book, from the title to the number of inventions to the 100 word descriptions of each one. Concise and fascinating, much of history is covered within the pages of this book. This would keep readers occupied for hours on end as they delve into the past learning about items we take for granted or perhaps no longer use in the same way. A handy timeline at the back will help readers piece this altogether. Credit is given to inventors where known and readers can then take the next step to do further research on either the item or inventor.