It’s World Space Week so I thought I would share this gorgeous little board book which is perfect for babies and toddlers.
Featuring bold illustrations and lots of eye-catching shiny sections, it introduces small children to some very big ideas. The pages are folded like a concertina and they are designed to be stretched out to create a frieze. You can use it to keep a baby entertained during tummy time by standing it up in front of them, and toddlers will enjoy sitting in the middle of it and interacting with the pages.
On one side of he frieze we see all of the planets laid out in order. Each of them has a very expressive face (which can be used to talk about emotions) and a descriptive name which tells us something about that specific planet – Little Mercury, Red Mars, Cold Neptune etc. As someone who was born in the seventies I love that there is also a little nod to Pluto as I refuse to accept that he’s been downgraded!
“Wow! Wow Mummy, wow!” – and that’s pretty much all Ivy said the first time we flicked through this stunning book together! I have to admit she’s right. It’s an absolute joy to behold and is jam-packed with amazing facts about nature.
This non-fiction book takes you on a mesmerising journey around the world as we learn the effects the seasons have on different environments.
First up is the European Oak Tree which should be very familiar to your child if you live in the UK. The clever laser cut pages show us the tree at different stages throughout the year and the text introduce us to the variety of tiny creatures which call it their home.
Zara is an incredibly curious little girl. She loves learning about how things work and her super smart Gran is always on hand to answer her questions.
When they go for a walk to the shops Zara sees lots of interesting things which spark some in-depth conversations. How do lifts work? How can cranes lift such heavy things? How do roller coasters stay on the track when they go upside down? How do escalators run? What is wi-fi for? Her gran patiently answers each question with lots of detail to satisfy the little girls curiosity.
Gran also tells Zara about some famous engineers who have helped shape the world we live in, including Leonardo Da Vinci and Rahman Khan. Zara is particularly interested in the story of Alicia Boler-Davis whose childhood was very similar to hers. She loved problem-solving and fixing things as a little girl and went on to work as an Engineer at the General Motors car company.
It’s never too early to get kids thinking about the little things we can all do which make a difference to our planet. This lift-the-flap board book from Pat-A-Cake is perfectly pitched to teach your little ones the basics of key environmental issues.
Each double page spread tackles one issue and then introduces you to small child who wants to help. We then learn three ways in which they can effect change and see which option they choose. As an example, Harry learns that vehicles pollute the air but he wants to help jeep the air clean. His Mum explains that instead of using the car for their trip to the park they can walk, cycle or scoot. Harry considers each of the options and then decides he would like to walk.
Little Sophia Sparks is a brilliant inventor who creates wonderful things out of items she finds in her home – like rockets and robots and even a house with legs! She wears a bright blue bow in her beautiful curly hair and she’s pretty sure that this is the source of her creativity. With the bow in place she comes up with idea after idea.
When her teacher announces to the class that they are going to work together to transform an old bus into something exciting, Sophia is over the moon – until she realises that she has lost her precious blue bow. As the other children get to work Sophia’s tummy starts to churn and her mind goes blank. No bow = no inspiration!
Whilst we were playing in the garden yesterday Ivy noted that there are more animals around than usual, and she’s right. Over the last few weeks we’ve spotted lots of birds, a family of squirrels and even a baby fox venturing in to our little patch of South London. The current situation means that, with fewer cars on the roads and fewer people in the streets, the animals are starting to claim back their territory. And it’s wonderful!
I jumped at the opportunity to have a little chat about how humans have encroached on the natural world and later we grabbed this book off the shelf and explored the subject further. She’s only 4 so she’s a little young to grasp the enormity of climate change but Neal Layton has done a fantastic job of breaking down the science so that it’s easy for childen to understand.
Ivy and I have spent all afternoon in the garden so this feels like a very appropriate choice for today! This beautiful non-fiction book celebrates plants from around the world and it has taught us lots of fascinating facts.
Split in to four chunky chapters, this illustrated compendium looks at all aspects of plant life. In the early sections we learn everything a child could possibly need to know about what plants are, how they grow and why they matter. But it was the second half of the book which completely captured Ivy’s imagination, as here we discover how plants sustain our everyday lives. She was amazed to discover there were plants in her toothpaste, in her clothes and even in her medicine!
As an added bonus there are 12 DIY projects included. We’re planning to try them all over the coming months but I think we’ll start by making a plant maze and and a wild weed bottle garden. The invisible ink project looks fun too!
If you’re looking for a simple but effective way of teaching your child about germs then I highly recommend this book! It uses a mixture of cute characters and photographs taken under a microscope to show how germs spread and where they live.
On the first page we meet Min the microbe, a little blue creature with an enormous grin (who is actually an e-coli).
The reader is encouraged to take Min on an adventure by touching the page to pick him up. You are then asked to transport him to a variety of places, including your teeth, your top and your belly button! In each instance we see photos taken under a microsocope of the surface Min is standing on, as well as the other microbes he meets along the way (Hello Rae the streptococcus, Dennis the fungus and Jake the corynebacterium!).
Jakob lives on a space station at the very edge of the galaxy with his granny and a robot chicken called Derek. Life is good, but deep down Derek really wishes he had some friends to play with.
One day, whilst exploring one of the empty decks, he finds an enormous abandoned space rocket. He shows it to Granny and her whole face lights up. This is the space train which she used to ride when she was a young girl! Once upon a time it streaked across the universe carrying star explorers and comet chasers to the 2,747 stations in the star network.
Jakob’s mind starts to whirr. If he can get the train running again then he can travel to other planets and meet other children! Granny rolls up her sleeves and gets to work. Can they work together to fix the train and head off on an intergalactic adventure?
Technically this book is a little old for Ivy – the publisher recommendation is 6 to 8 years – but she’s had so much fun with it this week that it really doesn’t matter!
Our World by Isabel Otter and Hannah Tolson is a fantastic book of facts with an interesting interactive twist. It takes five different habitats – desert, rainforest, polar, savannah and sea – and teaches you about the flora, fauna, animal life and indigenous people.
Despite the slightly older age bracket, Ivy has shown lots of interest in what the book has to say. Her favourite section is about the arctic and antarctic and she has learned that penguins and polar bears actually live on opposite sides of the world (something i’m ashamed to say I didn’t realise until I was in my twenties!)