Tag Archives: kids non-fiction

Tummy Rumble Quake by Heather L. Beal

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Tummy Rumble Quake by Heather L. Beal and illustrated by Jubayda Sagor, 26 pages, picture e-book, published by Train 4 Safety Press in 2017.

Lily and Niko Rabbit, along with their childcare class, are practicing earthquake drills in the class room and outside. They learn about what an earthquake is, what it can do and how to stay safe during one.

Tummy Rumble Quake delivers information about earthquakes and earthquake safety in a way that young children can understand. It emphasises the safety aspects, and reminds the children of what to do in the event of an earthquake with a little song. It also opens the door for a discussion about these important safety procedures and allows the children to ask questions in a safe environment. I think it would be a good addition to classrooms in areas where earthquakes are common.

I had no idea what the Great ShakeOut was, so I Googled it. I assume that it is common for schools in areas prone to Earthquakes to participate in the Great ShakeOut and that the term would already be familiar to many readers there, however, the story could have been just as effective without these references.

Well, when I read Beal’s other safety picture book, Elephant Wind, I greatly disliked the illustrations, and that hasn’t changed for this book. However, the facial expressions have improved profoundly, Dylan’s arms are more in proportion and Ms Mandy’s feet are better this time round. So whilst I still don’t enjoy this style, these illustrations are an improvement.

Tummy Rumble Quake is most suitable for reading to pre-schoolers and lower primary school children.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

 

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Elephant Wind by Heather L. Beal

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Elephant Wind by Heather L. Beal and illustrated by Jubayda Sagor, picture e-book, 26 pages, published by Train 4 Safety Press in 2017.

Lily and Niko Rabbit are visiting a science fair with their childcare class when the tornado siren sounds. Their teacher gets them safely into the basement and explains to the children what a tornado is, and how to stay safe during one.

Elephant Wind explains tornado safety in simple terms that children can understand. It covers what a tornado looks and sounds like, and where it is safest to take cover. There is even a little song to help the kids remember what they need to do. Overall, it is quite informative and would be useful in school and childcare settings to prepare children for such adverse weather.

I dislike the style of illustrations in this book. While they are quite detailed, they are not appealing to me at all. It’s hard to explain why, but they just feel wrong to me. I don’t like the smirking fox child, or the stumpy arms on Dylan, or the way the teacher’s feet are aligned, so maybe it’s just about proportions, but the childrens’ facial expressions don’t change to suit the story either; even when Lily is scared, she’s still got a huge smile plastered on her face. It’s just not suitable, and I think the pictures let the book down.

Elephant Wind is most suitable for reading to pre-schoolers and lower primary school children.

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

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Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney, hardback non-fiction, 96 pages, published by EK Books in 2016.

Discover Australia in this beautifully illustrated book. It contains bite-size pieces about Australian culture, its quirks, landmarks, cities, flora and fauna. It is simple enough to be enjoyed by young children, whilst also being interesting enough to engage older kids and adults.

I found this to be a somewhat quirky look at Australia and I loved it! The illustrations are simply gorgeous; colourful, detailed and unique. I enjoyed reading all of the place names and other information contained in the outlines of each state or territory; these were very cleverly compiled. Reading Australia Illustrated made me feel great to be Australian! It made me want to travel and explore my beautiful homeland, and seek out some of the more unusual aspects of our nation.

I read this book cover to cover in one sitting, though I still took my time to enjoy it. It wouldn’t necessarily need to be read in order; it is browsable, and could make a good coffee table or waiting room book. I also think it would be a good book to spark the interest of reluctant readers, hopefully leaving them wanting to know more about Australia.

Australia Illustrated is suitable for children and adults alike. It is a great read and I highly recommend it.

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What are Diamonds and How Do They Form? by Judith Hubbard

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What are Diamonds and How Do They Form? by Judith Hubbard, non-fiction e-book, 63 pages, published in 2016.

Geology has never been my favourite facet of science, but this book impressed me. It was interesting, engaging and informative. The writing was perfectly pitched for the intended audience; it was clear and easy to understand with appropriate photographs and diagrams throughout.

This is the first In Depth Science book written by Judith Hubbard, and after reading this, I would definitely like to read more in the series. The way she conveys such complicated material is excellent, and I think it will help to get, and keep kids interested in earth sciences.

Towards the back of the book there was a section of interactive activities. These included a quiz on the content of the book, as well as a range of experiments and projects that could be done at home. Such activities are a great way to get kids involved and excited about science. There was also a comprehensive glossary explaining terms used within the text.

Suitable for middle and upper primary school through to high school kids. I will be giving What are Diamonds and How Do They Form? to both my 2nd and 5th graders to read.

 

*I received this book as a digital edition from the author in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

 

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Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers

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bigfootBigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest by S.A. Jeffers and illustrated by Catherine Straus, picture e-book, 24 pages, published by Jeffers Publishing in 2016.

Come on a journey through the Pacific Northwest to see if you can spot evidence of Bigfoot. Look for his footprints, nest or broken trees; you might even spy Bigfoot himself!

I had a lot of fun looking for Bigfoot on each page. The illustrations are very detailed, and evidence of Bigfoot is well hidden, so it was quite satisfying when I was able to spot him! It’s really difficult to decide which scene is my favourite, as they are all great, but I think I like the gold-panning river scene best. I really liked the way the trees on every page were depicted.

The story is told through simple rhyme, and contains facts about the myth of Bigfoot. The language is basic, suitable for younger children, and the text is quite clear, despite the busyness of each page. Some of the story is spent reminding the reader to keep an eye open for the ever elusive Bigfoot.

I read this as an e-book. Unfortunately, in this format each page didn’t align with it’s pair, as it would when the paperback version is opened to any given page. Ergo, I would have preferred to read the physical book, but it was really only a minor inconvenience, and I still enjoyed it very much.

Bigfoot Trails: Pacific Northwest is suitable for children and adults, though I think primary school students would enjoy it the most. It is good to share with children, helping them to spot evidence of Bigfoot, and talking about the legend. We also spoke about other things we could see in each scene, such as explaining gold-panning.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

New Library Additions May ’16

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Added some books to my home library this month!

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Physical Books:

E-books:

What new books did you get in May?

Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager

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birdsofafeathercoverBirds of a Feather: A book of idioms and silly pictures by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Robin Hegan, non-fiction picture book, published by Vanita Books in 2009.

Learn the meaning of some common idioms from the English language in this fun book for children. Each page contains one idiom, accompanied by a lovely and silly illustration. This is a great way to introduce idioms to kids of all ages.

The pictures were definitely my favourite part of this book. All of them were appropriate for the idiom it was illustrating, and they were all quite funny. They showed the literal meaning of each one, while the text explained the metaphorical meaning. I liked the ‘raining cats and dogs’ illustration best. Here ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ was depicted as being like a raccoon, yet this phrase has always made me think of possums!

The meaning of each idiom was explained and used in a simple sentence to demonstrate its usage. This text was small and upside down in the corner of the illustration. I didn’t like this, and I’m not sure why it was done this way. It just made it harder to read in a setting where it wasn’t answering a question, and I didn’t think it warranted being upside down.

Overall Birds of a Feather was quite good, and I think it would be suitable to share with pre-schoolers and primary school students.

 

*I obtained this book as a digital copy from Netgalley. I did not receive any other remuneration, and this is an honest review composed entirely of my own opinions.

Orange Animals on the Planet by Baby Professor

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orange animalscoverOrange Animals on the Planet by Baby Professor, children’s non-fiction e-book, published by Speedy Publishing in 2015.

Learn about orange animals all around the globe in this interesting and factual book for children. How many did you already know?

Orange Animals on the Planet is part of the Colorful Animals on the Planet series by Baby Professor. Each book is a discovery of animals of one particular colour.

Each page features a new orange animal with a lovely photograph plus some facts about that animal. A couple of the photos are not as sharp as I expected, but they are still good photos of these wonderfully orange creatures. There are photos on the front cover of a red panda and a goldfish, neither of which are actually included in the book, which I found a little odd. I love red pandas too, so I was a tad disappointed. However, I did learn about some new orange animals, such as the Red River Hog. And I never knew that flamingos came in an orange variety too!

Each fact was a good length for children to absorb. When describing the size of these creatures, most of the facts included metric measurements, and then the Baboon Spider was described in inches. I prefer metric as I am Australian, but either way, it is just best to be consistent throughout.

This is quite a good book for younger children. It is most suited to lower and middle primary school children to read themselves. Younger children can also enjoy this one read to them. I enjoyed Orange Animals on the Planet, and will be looking out for some others in the series.

Horrible Histories: The Big Fat Christmas Book by Terry Deary

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IMG_5904Horrible Histories: The Big Fat Christmas Book by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, hardback, 159 pages, published by Scholastic Ltd. in 2014.

Come on a journey through the twelve days of Christmas Horrible Histories style!

This book is divided into sections for each of the twelve days of Christmas from the 25th of December through to the 5th of January. Each part is dedicated to a different aspect of Christmas, such as food, animals, royals, games and weather. It covers many eras in history, from the Stone Age through to more recent history. Each section also contains some information on something that happened in history on that particular day.

There is a lot to learn in this interesting and entertaining non-fiction book for primary school students. The Horrible Histories series makes learning history fun, and this Christmas book is particularly good. I had no idea that Christmas was such a popular time for bad things to happen in the past! There are be-headings, ghosts, wars, storms and other amazing historical events to read about. It is made more fun through the use of anecdotes, comics, plays and illustrations.

With Christmas coming up, now’s a great time to sit down and read a good Christmas book, and this one really is fun. It’s a must for any Horrible Histories fan!

Horrible Histories: Horribly Hilarious Joke Book by Terry Deary

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IMG_5394Horrible Histories: Horribly Hilarious Joke Book by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown and Philip Reeve, paperback, 86 pages, published by Scholastic Ltd in 2009.

This is a collection of historical jokes, just right for middle to upper primary school students. The book is divided into sections based on the popular Horrible Histories books, such as jokes from the Groovy Greeks or the Incredible Incas. Many of the jokes were rather cringe-worthy and perfect for “Dad Jokes”, so I laughed a lot, and so did my kids. There are plenty of black and white illustrations to make you laugh too! It is a rather short book with only a few jokes on each page, so it was a quick read, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. We quite like this sort of humour in our house!