Tag Archives: non-fiction

My Body by Bloomsbury Discovery


IMG_1196My Body by Bloomsbury Discovery and illustrated by Joelle Dreidemy, large format non-fiction boardbook with flaps, published by Bloomsbury Publishing Plc in 2014.

Most children love lift-the-flap books, and this one has dozens of flaps that open to reveal lots of fun facts and information about the body. A wonderfully engaging book for preschoolers and children in lower primary, My Body covers human evolution and the various body systems in a detail appropriate for this age group. The main illustrations were plentiful, detailed and clear, showing a good life-like representation of the human body. There were also lots of other illustrations on every page with more facts, and these had more of a cartoon quality about them.

The flaps were a big attraction for my preschooler, but once we started reading, she really got into the information too. She asked a lot of questions while we were reading, she came back to the book later to look through it again herself, and asked me to re-read a few sections to her. We ended up reading the whole book in one sitting as she was enjoying it so much. The information contained within this book was detailed enough that my second grader also found it useful and enlightening. I have heard my preschooler repeat several facts she learnt from My Body, especially that people shouldn’t eat snot because it contains germs!




Ears, Eyes, Nose by Rebecca Bondor


IMG_1191Ears, Eyes, Nose by Rebecca Bondor, a Rookie Toddler boardbook, published by Children’s Press (Scholastic) in 2014.

This boardbook introduces young children to some of their body parts. It contains clear photographs of children pointing to their own ears, eyes, and other parts. Seeing children just like them can help toddlers and young children to engage in learning new things. And with only one large print word per photo, and a sturdy board construction, this is a great book to start learning body parts with babies and toddlers.

Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and Lynne Avril Cravath


IMG_1170Amazing You! by Dr. Gail Saltz and illustrated by Lynne Avril Cravath, paperback non-fiction, first published by Dutton Children’s Books in 2005, this edition published by Puffin Books in 2008.

Amazing You! is a basic look at the reproductive systems for young children. Aimed at preschoolers, this book provides information on body awareness and answers questions about ‘private parts’. It is a good first journey into what can be an awkward topic for many parents.

The text and illustrations are clear and simple, using anatomical names and easy to understand language. There is also a helpful section at the back of the book for parents on talking about sexual curiosity and where babies come from with their children. When it comes to describe how babies are made, it does not go into extensive detail, but sticks to the basics of egg and sperm, all a preschooler really needs to know. The book mentions that sexual curiosity is natural and normal, including masturbation and asking questions. It also reminds us that our bodies and our sexual organs should not be a source of embarrassment or shame, because they are all part of us, and we are amazing!

Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole


IMG_1174Mummy Laid an Egg! by Babette Cole, non-fiction paperback, first published by Jonathan Cape in 1993, this edition published by Red Fox in 1995.

Dad and Mum have decided to tell their kids where babies come from. They tell the kids that sometimes dinosaurs deliver babies, or they can be grown from seeds, made from gingerbread, or they can even be found under rocks! And in this case, the kids exploded from a huge egg that Mum laid on the couch. The kids think this is hilarious. They quickly begin on a journey to set their parents straight, including lots of drawings explaining just how babies are made.

A light-hearted look at reproduction, this book is perfect for younger children from preschool up. The drawings are humorous, educational, and appropriate for the intended audience. The language is easy to understand for children, and the subject matter is treated without any of the seriousness that sometimes surrounds this often delicate topic. I think this book would be especially good for parents who are a little nervous about having “the talk” with their kids, it is a great way to lighten the mood.

Both my preschooler and second grader love this book. I think that it is the best introduction to the sensitive subject of conception and reproduction that I have come across. It is honest, frank and amusing. I particularly like the pages that show how mummies and daddies fit together, some truly awkward and hilarious positions! My kids laughed at the ridiculous stories that the Mum and Dad tell their kids, as well as at many of the drawings throughout the book. It covered the basics, and my kids were happy with the content, re-reading it several times, asking questions and discussing it. A really nice book, I am very glad I purchased Mummy Laid an Egg!


What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth


IMG_1168What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth, non-fiction hardback, published by Seven Stories Press in 2012.

This book is bright, colourful and simple, and suitable for young children who are first becoming curious about where babies come from. It introduces sperm and eggs, and the concept that both are required to create a baby, but it is quite vague about how this actually happens. In fact the whole book is rather vague. It is one of the most abstract non-fiction books I have ever read. However, while it doesn’t present detailed information, it does provide prompts to begin the discussion of this issue in as much detail as a parent thinks is appropriate for their particular child at the time. It also provides opportunities for kids to ask questions. This book could be used to start a discussion that many parents find difficult to conquer.

I read this with my preschooler and second grader. They both thought the illustrations were a bit odd, especially the people that were coloured with blue or green or purple skin. My preschooler said a few times that people are not that colour! They were also amused that the sperm and egg had been given faces and that they perform a special dance together to form a baby. I think this book was actually too abstract for them, and they were quite distracted by the less than life-like pictures. They asked a few questions, but it didn’t develop into a deep conversation about how babies are formed, instead, it left them with a very superficial view of how life develops. We used this book as a first stepping stone onto more detailed texts.

The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson and Heather Collins


IMG_1167The Bare Naked Book by Kathy Stinson with art by Heather Collins, paperback non-fiction, first published in 1986, this edition published in 2006 by Annick Press.

This is a simple look at our bodies, and the different parts that make them up. With basic language and clear illustrations, this is a nice book for toddlers and preschoolers. It introduces each part of the body, with some illustrated examples of each, such as pushing arms, hairy nipples and stamping feet. At the end of each page, it asks the child to locate that body part on themselves, which is a great prompt for learning body parts and for body awareness.

My preschooler liked the pictures, and had fun locating all her body parts as suggested by the book. She enjoyed perusing this book on her own too, looking at the pictures, and pointing out what the different parts of the body were doing.

Horrible Histories: Angry Aztecs by Terry Deary and Martin Brown


IMG_0855Horrible Histories: Angry Aztecs by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, paperback non-fiction novel, 138 pages, first published by Scholastic Ltd. in 1997, this edition published in 2008.

This is a book that tackles the perception of history being boring, and re-invigorates it in a format perfect for children thirsty for knowledge. I thoroughly enjoyed this informative look at the Aztecs, how they lived and how they died, including all the nasty bits, such as human sacrifices, violent ball games and dogs for dinner. There was information on the Aztecs’ neighbours, enemies and the Spanish Conquistadors, their diets, priests and marriages.

Angry Aztecs is full of historical facts that were easy to understand, and presented alongside amusing black and white drawings. As well as allowing easier visualisation of parts of the Aztecs’ history, the illustrations included some comics to help elucidate various points being made in the text. There were also engaging quizzes that assisted in consolidating the knowledge acquired throughout the book

A very definitely not boring insight into the peoples of this interesting empire of the Americas, this is a good read for middle and upper primary school children, especially those interested in history or other cultures. It is on my second-grader’s ‘to read’ list, along with many other titles from his fantastic series. Everyone needs some Horrible Histories in their lives!

Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary and Martin Brown


IMG_0831Horrible Histories: Terrible Trenches by Terry Deary and illustrated by Martin Brown, paperback non-fiction, 93 pages, this edition published by Scholastic Australia in 2014.

This book is packed full of facts about living through the First World War, presented in an interesting and engaging fashion. The illustrations are illuminating, and often amusing, while educating young minds as to the life soldiers faced in the trenches. The book was divided into two sections, covering both sides of the war. The first section is about the British soldiers, and the second about the German soldiers. It was nice to have both sides presented without the bias often seen in other history texts.

This was a very appealing non-fiction title suitable for primary age school children. History can often be presented in a bland and boring way to children, but this Horrible Histories book is certainly neither of those. Lots of black and white illustrations and comic scenes entertain and educate, as well as lightening the subject matter, and dispersing the text, making it easier for younger kids to read.

I enjoyed reading this book and learning from it. Reading about the different weapons, the uniforms, food and slang used in the trenches was very interesting and enlightening. My second-grader is also enjoying this book. We will definitely be looking for more Horrible Histories titles to read soon!

Fly Guy Presents Sharks by Tedd Arnold


IMG_0513Fly Guy Presents Sharks by Tedd Arnold, paperback non-fiction reader, published by Scholastic Inc in 2013.

Fly Guy and Buzz head to the aquarium to learn about sharks in this informative reader. It contains plenty of photographs throughout the book, complementing the interesting factual text. And Fly Guy and Buzz are always there, leading the way to more knowledge on sharks.

Moving onto non-fiction titles can be a little scary as they often have longer and harder words, and are more complicated than their fictional counterparts. Using some well loved characters, such as Fly Guy and Buzz, is useful in piquing the interest of young readers, especially those that may be reluctant to try non-fiction. I was impressed with the simple and interesting layout and facts. There was enough factual information to sink your teeth into (sorry about that awful pun!) without it becoming overwhelming.

This book is aimed at lower primary school children as a reader, but I read it to my preschooler, and she really enjoyed it. She loves Fly Guy, so this book had appeal before we even opened it. My preschooler did learn some things about sharks, such as they breathe through gills and they don’t sleep, she was particularly impressed by the Great White Shark being able to smell blood from so far away. She told me she is glad she’s never met a shark! She also liked the comments that Buzz makes, and the picture of Fly Guy pretending to have shark teeth. Combining Fly Guy and such an engaging topic as sharks was a stroke of genius, and we look forward to reading more in the Fly Guy Presents series.


Basher Basics: Maths by Dan Green


IMG_0158Basher Basics: Maths by Dan Green, paperback non-fiction, published by Kingsfisher in 2010.

Covering the basics of maths in an amusing and informative way, this book is a good read for younger learners. It is divided into four sections, one introducing numbers, one for shapes, one for operations and one for data. Within each section, the different aspects of maths, such as Add, Fraction and Average, have been personified with imaginative drawings, and a brief overview of what each one is. There are also some examples to help reinforce the information. At the end of the book there is a glossary of maths terms for quick reference.

This book contained simple language and easy to understand explanations of math basics. All of the information is presented in an appealing way suitable for children. The colour illustrations are well designed and fun. I think this book would be most helpful for students in lower to middle primary school. It is a good addition to our home library for both our second grader and our preschooler.