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!)
Benny the robot is a little bit different. All of his robot friends have lots of shiny buttons which do fun things, like flash lights, blow bubbles and play music. But poor Benny only has one button. It’s bright red and says ‘Only Press In An Emergency’.
The other robots make fun of him and call him ‘One Button Benny’ and this makes him sad. He doesn’t really know what an emergency is but he secretly hopes one will happen so that he gets to press his button and find out what it does.
One morning Benny wakes up, eats his breakfast and brushes his teeth, unaware that outside his house an actual emergency is unfolding. The evil Collectors have landed on his planet and they are planning to gather up all of the robots, crunch them up and turn them in to teapots! The Collectors are small hairy aliens with green bums and they mean business!
We love this series of books by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts. Ada Twist is the best of the bunch in our opinion but this one comes a close second!
Shy little Rosie Revere dreams of becoming a great engineer. Like a magpie she collects gizmos and gadgets that other people have thrown away and in her bedroom at night she turns them in to amazing inventions – including a hot dog dispenser and some helium pants!
Her favourite uncle is a zookeeper so she makes him a special hat (made of parts of a fan and some squirty cheese) to keep the snakes off his head. She proudly hands it over but her uncle laughs! He says he likes it but poor Rosie is mortified and vows never to invent anything again.
But then one day she discovers that her very clever aunt (who used to build aeroplanes) dreams of being able to fly and she begins to wonder if she could make this happen. Can she use all of her ingenuity and help her aunt take to the skies?
Ivy and I both love the ‘Ten Little…’ books by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty so we were super excited to discover this brand new addition. I believe there are now 7 titles in the series and this one is definitely in our top 3 (our absolute favourites are Ten Little Dinosaurs and Ten Little Superheroes!).
The story starts with ten shiny new robots who have just been switched on at the robot factory. They are very excited by their surroundings so they decide to explore – with catastrophic results! We slowly count the robots down from ten to one as they encounter lasers, crushers, cogs, drones and explosions.
Can the last remaining robot restore order to the factory and bring all of his robot friends safely back together? Of course he can!
If you’re a fan of books with strong female characters then this new one from Suzanne Hemming (author of ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘) is definitely for you.
The story is about a young princess called Florence who has her heart set on becoming a great engineer. She has the brain and the ambition but she has one problem – her father, the King, says that instead of pursuing her dream career she has to marry a Prince and have babies.
Young Flo is devastated. She has no problem with Princes and babies but she also wants to be a great engineer and the King says she can’t do both. She flees the palace and bumps in to her old babysitter, who sits and listens to her woes. The lady tells her that you always have to be who you are, not who other people think you should be. She shows Flo a picture of her wedding day (where she married a Princess) and says that when you follow your heart, some people will accept who you are and some won’t but what matters most is that you are always true to yourself.
We are big fans of the ‘Ten Little …” series by Mike Brownlow and Simon Rickerty and this one is our second favourite (Nothing beats Ten Little Dinosaurs!).
The story sees our ten tiny heroes take on the League of Bad Guys who have an evil plan to take over the city. They do their best to battle the hilarious baddies (which include Hippo Man, Glue Girl, Crab Man and Hypno Girl) but on each page we see one superhero disappear. The book counts backwards from ten until eventually there’s only one hero left. The bad guys think they’ve won and start to celebrate but the Super Kids have one last trick up their sleeve. Can all ten of them reassemble and save the day?
Ivy gets really excited when we read this as the rhyme is really bouncy, the illustrations are a riot of colour and there are lots of big superhero words to shout as you read – POW! ZAP! SPLAT!
Buy it now: https://amzn.to/2Jybh5x