Non-Fiction Book Reviews

100 Children’s Books that Inspire Our World

Colin Salter, ed. Hetty Hopkinson, pub. Pavilion Books

The first impression made by this book is as a very handsome object: solidly made, well designed and illustrated in full colour. It might be called a coffee-table book, except that it is far more interesting and informative than most books in that category, certainly for lovers of children’s literature.

 

Salter’s 100 choices are given chronologically, each being afforded a double-page spread with information about book and author, a reproduction of the cover (usually the first edition) and inset pictures. The 100 books of the title are supplemented by a list of fifty near-misses, given rather shorter shrift in an appendix. Anyone might spend a few happy hours reading this book through, but it is perhaps more likely to be used for dipping, or as a quick reference. (I have not spotted any serious errors, other than two concerning the name of Diana Wynne Jones, once referred to as Wynn in the text and later incorrectly indexed under ‘W’ rather than ‘J.’) Each author is rationed to one book, but in some cases (J. K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket) the rules are bent to allow in a whole series, while in others (C. S. Lewis, Joan Aiken) this option is not taken.

 

Anyone reviewing such a book is inevitably going to wonder about the basis of selection. Which books were included, which omitted? Who is the ‘we’ in the ‘our world’ of the title? And what kind of inspiration is being referred to? Is this a list of classic books? Popular books? Prizewinning books? Ground-breaking books? 

 

The answer, as provided in the Introduction, is disarmingly simple. These are the personal favourites of the author, his family and friends, and the staff at Pavilion, augmented by an attempt not to leave out obvious classics. In this, the writer and his team were largely successful, although a few omissions dazzle (how did Tom’s Midnight Garden fail to make the cut?). This is a solidly canonical list, albeit with a pronounced Anglo-American emphasis (more than half are British). Some European classics turn up early on, but there are no books from the last 60 years written in any language other than English.

 

Of the titles that are included, most are well-known books of deserved repute – plus one or two surprises, such as Alan Aldridge’s and William Plomer’s now-obscure The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast (1973). YA titles may be a little thin on the ground (no The Outsiders, Annie on my Mind, Junk or Noughts and Crosses, for example), but there is a strong representation of picture books and humorous books, categories are too often underrepresented in lists of children’s classics.

 

Catherine Butler

Backward Science

Clive Gifford, illus. Anne Wilson, pub. QED

As I drew this book from its package, I felt a tingle of anticipation. Could this title be that rarest of things, a factual book about science and technology designed to appeal to both boys and girls? Would I give this present to both my nephew and niece (8 and 9 respectively) without reservation? The answer is a definite and delighted ‘Yes.’

 

The author’s success in revealing what life was like before world-changing discoveries embraces a simple but clever idea to work backwards from our present. Children have very little understanding of time as it progresses forwards through history, relating far better to the recent past when their mother was a young woman, or their grandfather a little boy.

 

Each double page describes ‘Life before...’ moving on to four short pieces describing a scientific discovery or invention, a biography, “How it works” and its impact on daily life. The presentation of the information is clear, restrained, covering every sphere of human activity: farming, war, medicine, transport, industry and the domestic.

 

With pointers as to what drives technological innovation whether it be military or economic advantage, earlier versions of what we would call globalisation, or sheer curiosity. Frustration at the inadequacy of servants is a new one on me!

 

Importantly, the author has taken trouble to make sure that female and BAME scientists are represented (as are the larger contributions of other cultures). This, along with the excellent illustrations marks it out as one of a new generation of books that aims to cross gender (and other) divides.

 

The pictures are key to the success of this book. They lie neatly between the graphic and realistic and convey so much more than the science; the grind of daily life for women, the fury of the blast furnace, or the tedium of the scriptorium. They are original and modern in style and gently humorous without being trivial. Architecture, clothes and social interactions all convey the wider historical context. I particularly liked the vignette of a rather supercilious male boss dictating to his attractive and acquiescent female secretary (1970s). Such richness ensures this book’s appeal to all children.

 

I have some questions: Should the book have been called Backward Technology? -more accurate - if less appealing. Is the hoover a world changing invention? Would it not be more consistent for the timeline at the end to have run backwards in time? With regard to factual accuracy: I would like to have seen Marie Curie acknowledged as a Polish/French scientist. Minor gripes; they should not detract unduly from this wonderfully attractive and engaging book for children between the ages of 7-11.

 

Katherine Wilson

Be Plastic Clever

Amy and Ella Meek, illus. Sarah Goodreau, pub. Dorling Kindersley

Amy and Ella Meek are sisters, teenage activists and the founders of the charity “Kids Against Plastic”. In this book they detail the history of plastic, explain about the different types of plastic in use and the problems they cause, the what and how of recycling these, and the impact of plastic pollution worldwide.

 

There’s also a section dedicated to how you can make a change – in your homes and schools, locally and globally - as well as how to become an activist if you want to make a difference. 

 

The book has been sustainably produced and is written in a very accessible format with lots of fun black and white illustrations. It contains a huge amount of facts and information that will both fascinate and horrify, such as bio-plastics, often sold as environmentally-friendly, are actually super hard to dispose of. There are lots of inspirational quotes, pages on environmental heroes such as Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, as well as interviews with people involved in the fight against plastic pollution.

 

Although aimed at 8 – 12-year-olds, this book could also be read with younger children. 

 

Barbara Band

A Climate in Chaos

Neal Layton, pub. Hachette Children’s Books

I’m sure you have heard of climate change and greenhouse gases, but do you actually know what these words mean? I’ll be honest I struggled to explain it to my son.

 

So let’s start with climate change, I always thought it meant the change in the weather,  was I right - well sort of, weather can change in a few hours and affect several parts of the country but climate change affects the whole planet and it takes many years to change. 

 

4.5 billion years ago when the world was first formed it was HOT, but slowly it started to cool down oceans and land began to appear, life began to flourish. Now we come to the science part, we need oxygen to breathe but we breathe out carbon dioxide (I did know this), we need plants to take in the carbon dioxide and release oxygen (are you still with me?). Now on to the greenhouse gases - the carbon dioxide that isn't taken in by the plants travels up in the sky to join the other gases keeping the planet hot, like a duvet cover wrapped round the planet. All this would be fine if it wasn't for us, humans.

 

When we started burning petrol and coal we added to the greenhouse gases, then we started letting off methane (this is caused by farming cows and taking rubbish to the tip.) To make matters worse we started to cut the trees down. 

 

So back to climate change, the answer to what it is, is hotter temperatures, more droughts, bigger storm's, heavier rainfall, and the changes to animals’ habitats. 

 

What can we do to change this? This excellent book will help you to understand.

 

This book is an excellent resource for describing climate change to children of all ages, the pictures are brilliantly drawn and have so much detail in them. The first section of the book is all about climate change and its causes. The second section is full of things we can change ourselves and ideas about how we can encourage others to change their habits too.

 

The pictures are fantastic, packed with information. In summary a brilliant book for children of any age who want to learn about climate change. 

 

Helen Byles

Economics for Beginners

Laura Bryan and Andy Prentice, illus. Federico Mariani, pub. Usborne

Economics for Beginners is a comprehensive book on microeconomics and macroeconomics, the management of a whole economy as well as international trade.

 

The chapters on microeconomics examines the decisions of individual economic agents. It begins by introducing the basic economic problem, before exploring the notion of markets and how a rational, fully informed economic human supposedly makes choices. The book continues to explore the economic behaviour of individual businesses: why businesses exist and how they function. The second half of the book focuses on macroeconomics, including the different economic systems and the important role of governments.

 

Economics for Beginners clearly communicates economic theory, sometimes using simplified scenarios that enables readers to grasp the then more complex world of today. For example, the authors explain the basic economic problem by travelling back in time to show one prehistoric family’s fight for survival. This simple scenario explains important economic concepts of the supply of scarce resources, the demand for their use and the opportunity cost of how they are used. This is an important foundation for the rest of the book. Elsewhere simple scenarios are effectively used to clearly explain important economic ideas and theories, such as two women on a desert island explaining comparative advantage, the basis for international trade.  There are however many examples illustrating economic theory throughout the book allowing readers to appreciate the diversity of economic behaviour. The selection of examples includes many that children and young people will relate to and experience from for instance the market trading collector’s cards in the school playground to less familiar situations of stock market trading. The book continually makes powerful connections between economic ideas and everyday economic activity.

 

The writing is engaging and clear, introducing lots of economic language in an accessible way. The illustrations by Federico Mariani are appealing and combined with the text, highly instructive. It is therefore a fantastic book for young readers, who are unlikely to have had any formal economic learning at school and therefore completely new to the subject. There is however great depth to the book. This is particularly evident in the last chapter of the book, exploring even broader applications of economics to issues of environmentalism, conflict and space exploration.

 

In addition, Economics for Beginners is supported by Usborne’s Quicklinks, a range of internet resources helping readers explore economics further.  Many of these excellent links are to specifically designed primary and secondary educational packages by central banks. There are also some economic games and activities, such as a Space Trader game for primary children and a Monetary Policy Game aimed at secondary schools.

 

Economics for Beginners invites young minds to see the world anew, transforming their understanding of their own and others economic behaviour.

 

Simon Barrett

Every Second

Bruno Gibert, pub. What on Earth Publishing

'Every second, every minute, every hour, every day, every year, so many things happen around the world.’

 

Across our planet, every second, 1 wedding is celebrated, 2,050 chicks hatch from their eggs and 9,200 kilograms of poo are made by humans. Every Second is a book filled with incredible, illuminating, illustrated statistics. Designed to help us consider the impact of human behaviour and better understand the world we live in, this collection of info-graphics is ideal for curious youngsters.

Statistics range from the seemingly light-hearted every second ‘8,000 scoops of ice cream are eaten’ to ‘485 trees are cut down and 158 are replanted’. No comments are made on the facts included, yet strong political and environmental themes emerge from the comparisons the reader is invited to make. We learn that every second, £700 is invested in humanitarian aid and £46,760 is spent on arms and weapons. The careful placements of these shocking statistics encourage powerful questions and discussions – especially when shared with children. 

 

Every Second appeals on a visual as well as informative level. Gibert has used a stylish colour palette and bold, graphic illustrations to add punch to the, at times uncomfortable, facts included. As you’d expect from a text published by What on Earth Books, this is a thought-provoking picture book for a more enlightened generation. 

 

Abby Mellor

Get Ahead in Chemistry from the Periodic Table to the Apocalypse

Tom Whipple, Illus. James Davies, pub. Walker Books

Get Ahead in Chemistry is not a textbook, your teacher probably hands them out at the start of a lesson. Neither is it a revision guide. Your school probably produced a list of revision guides you could buy at the start of your GCSEs. It is, according to Tom Whipple, an assistant, sitting alongside the textbook and revision guide, ready to read.

 

Get Ahead in Chemistry is superb.  Tom Whipple, science editor at The Times, has teamed up with illustrator James Davies to communicate a clear narrative about GCSE Chemistry with great humour and memorable, real-life applications of chemistry to help consolidate knowledge gained in the classroom and independent study.  The book is well structured, beginning with an in-depth explanation of the atom, the basic ‘brick’ to use Tom Whipple’s word, that is central to understanding the later chapters on different chemical reactions. The final chapter goes global: the chemistry of the changing Earth’s atmosphere. Each chapter starts with a break-down of the topic and a reflection on the importance of this knowledge. The main text itself is usefully divided into a number of sub-headings and accompanied by numerous illustrations by James Davies, including annotated diagrams and artwork developing Tom Whipple’s funny, and at times, zany extrapolation of chemical knowledge.

 

This book will help students retain knowledge. The humour and the sometimes bizarre real-life cases are more than a hook to encourage students to continue reading and learning, but a hook to also remember that learning. The book’s success however is advocating why chemistry matters. There is substory throughout the book of Clare, a chemistry nerd, travelling back in time and using her knowledge of chemistry to take over the world!  Whilst this might be a Chemist secret desire, this flight of fancy shows how important chemistry has been to human development.  From making fire, firing pots, growing pots, washing, drinking, cooking and keeping food fresh to gunpowder plots, can all be explained by chemistry. It is often the case that students are more likely to put effort into subjects they see are relevant.

 

Although originally released to support students sitting exams in summer 2020, this book should be a staple for every student starting GCSE Science. It provides the big picture, not only of key concepts, but why it is worthwhile to study Chemistry.

 

Simon Barrett

Invisible Nature A Secret World Beyond our Senses

Catherine Barr, illus. Anne Wilson, pub. Otter-Barry Books

Invisible Nature a Secret World Beyond our Senses is an illustrated children’s book to explain the hidden forces of sight, sound, touch and smell that lie beyond our senses – but affect our lives - and are used by many different kinds of animal. It is a fact-based book with lots of illustrations to back up the facts and information. The book starts off with the Big Bang and then goes through a discovery to the natural powers of animals and how people have learned to use them.

 

Reading the book there were lots of interesting facts that an adult will learn from as well as the children. It is fascinating to read how animals use their senses and interact with each other and the world. The facts could open up to further discussion and questions from your child. As it is a fact-based book it does not have to be read all at once (as there are 40 pages) and will be very helpful if any of your children have schoolwork on any of these subjects. This subject is clearly explained in a fun way using the lives of animals to explain the subjects with lots of illustrations. 

 

Francesca Jones

Marvellous Magicians

Lydia Corry, pub. Thames and Hudson

Marvellous Magicians takes the reader on a tour of the history of magic and illusion via biographies of several famous magicians. 

 

We begin with the art of illusion 5000 years ago and learn about the first automatons before entering the worlds of Jean Eugène Robert Houdin, the Father of Modern Magic; Richard Potter, the Emperor of Conjurors; Harry Kellar, the Dean of Magic; Adelaide Herrmann, the Queen of Magic; Ehrich Weiss aka Harry Houdini, the Handcuff King; Howard Thurston, the King of Cards; and more. 

 

The magicians featured are worldwide and diverse. There are pull-out spreads and the pages are filled with details including a short biography of the person, an explanation of their top trick and other amazing facts about them. We learn about the magician’s toolbox, the art of the magician’s assistant and the magician’s code of keeping secrets.  There’s also advice on how to become a magician today. 

This visually stunning book, that is a mix of history and biography, is filled with vibrant illustrations that evoke the excitement of the magician’s world - children are fascinated by magic tricks and this book is one that is sure to delight them.

 

Barbara Band

Nature’s Light Spectacular

Katy Flint, illus. Cornelia Li, pub. Wide Eyed Children’s Books

Once long ago, an aspirational civil servant wrote that teachers should aim to inspire a ‘sense of awe’ in their lessons. The sentiment is without doubt a noble one; but was sadly lost in translation as teachers planned meticulously to include at least a three-minute period of AWE within any 30-minute session. Largely due to well-meaning misinterpretation, awe was killed stone dead.

 

Because awe doesn’t really work like that. Really good awe (although that’s probably tautological – you can’t have mediocre awe) comes from nowhere, hits you like a freight train and leaves you reeling.  And that’s what Katy Flint is aiming for in this book.

 

Nature’s Light Spectacular provides young readers with a whistle stop tour of nature’s most amazing events, without getting bogged down in the detail.  The message is, quite simply, LOOK!  This is INCREDIBLE! TOP NOW AND REVEL IN THE SHEER WONDER OF NATURE! The book features 12 lavish double page spreads which illustrate meteor showers, glowworm caves, blood moons and lesser known phenomena such as the firefall at Yosemite, California. Each page has a cogent, clear explanation of what’s going on, which is just enough to place events in their context, but not so much as to dilute the emotional impact with heavy detail.  After all, if you’re not inspired to start with, you’re probably not going to bother to find out more anyway.

 

You could read this book with tiny children – simply to revel in the colours and images. It lends itself to step by step discovery over a number of years, and could remain of value to young secondary school children who may start to explore the events it describes in more detail. It’s a beautiful book, illustrated with a contagious enthusiasm for the wonders it portrays. It’s awe in print: to be enjoyed spontaneously and unreservedly.

 

Laura Myatt

The Secret Life of Trees

Moira Butterfield, illus. Vivian Mineker, pub. Words & Pictures

The Secret Life of Trees is a hard-back educational story book about the life cycle of trees. My first impressions were very good. It is a large hardback so it feels nice and weighty in my hands, but not too heavy that a child couldn’t carry it. The cover features a lovely illustration of a tree along with some cute animals, and although the illustration isn’t particularly eye-catching, it has a shiny, embossed accent which really takes the quality to another level. 

 

Upon opening the book, the first few pages are all solid colour as opposed to the default white. This makes me think that more care and attention has been put into making the book and as I start to turn the pages, I am impressed with the texture and feel. They are thick and matt which feels nice and would probably last through quite a few reads. 

 

There is a content page giving me a hint that it is quite lengthy. In fact, I found the book was quite a bit longer than expected, almost thought it was too long. The words were extremely detailed, but I think it could have gotten away with omitting some of the content as I had a general feeling of slight boredom as I got toward the end of the book. I think that I would consider reading the book in stages if I was reading to a child. As the tree talks about different stages in life, it almost has a ‘mini’ story in each stage. In this way, it could be possible to read each stage or chapter at a time, and not even in the same order to make it easier to keep a child’s attention. My initial reaction is to dislike how it breaks the rules of consistency like this, but setting itself out from the crowd like this is what seems to make this particular book work.

 

The book packs in facts and educational information from the point of view of a tree. The tree ‘speaks’ to the reader, taking them through its life cycle and that of its inhabitants. This works really well, and the addition of the very cute animals makes it more fun to read than just information about trees. The illustrations are cute and suitably ‘natural’ in colour and style. The text is broken into paragraphs dotted about the page between spot illustrations. This is good to break-up the rather large amount of text, but it got a bit confusing at times, with me reading the text in the wrong order or missing a paragraph completely. On some of the pages I faced some very large blocks of text and was put off immediately. Despite being very well written and charming, the pages which featured less text just seemed to work better. 

 

It is a collection of short stories, albeit with a running theme, but this is not mentioned anywhere on the outside of the book and I was actually pretty surprised with what was inside. It is by no means a disappointment, but I would have liked to have seen something on the cover that hinted at the practical guide inside. Another point would to have had the main character as a tree on the cover too. 

There are a few human characters who are featured throughout the book. I was pleased to find a good example of diversity in gender, race and age. The stories were from different countries all around the world, it was a nice touch to see their origins listed. I didn’t really find any of the stories that outstanding, they were merely a means to explain the tree’s story which took centre stage. Some of the people were illustrated so small that they felt like they had been squeezed in around the real reason for the book; the facts.

 

The facts on each page remind me of an encyclopaedia – they are well presented with bullet illustrations and in some cases numbered or with an accompanying diagram. I could imagine getting ‘lost’ in the book and studying it over and over. It was quite a lot of information to take in on one read even for an adult so I could imagine a child, even an older child, struggling with the barrage of school-like information. I fear kids might view it as a chore to read rather than fun. Although there are some activities that families could take part in in the real world. Activities like planting trees and other eco-friendly interactions.

 

Getting toward the middle of the book I hadn’t tired of the lovely illustrations. Some of them spanning a double page spread and some taking a rollercoaster ride around the text. Each turn of the page offered something different and creative, it was interesting to see what would appear next! As each chapter passed, the main tree got older until toward the end of the book he appears old and wise. A nice touch.

 

There is a lot packed into The Secret Life of Trees and after reading it all I would describe it as a ‘bumper guide to trees’ – there was so much inside, that it was too much to tackle in one go and would have to be split in several readings and re-readings. It is a well-made book that holds a lot of information. This would be an excellent addition to a school or children’s club, with its educational approach and interactive format, but for home reading, I can’t see it being a favourite due to its lack of fun and silliness. Sometimes simple can be better.

 

Izzy Bean

Philosophy for Beginners

Jordan Akpojaro, Rachel Firth and Minna Lacey, illus. Nick Radford, pub. Usborne

Philosophy for Beginners asks BIG questions about you and me, life and the universe in an accessible and comprehensive book on philosophy.

 

The concept of a BIG question is well-established in the UK education curriculum and the point of entry for many non-fiction books. The nature of BIG questions, illustrated with many varied examples of BIG questions, is explained in the introduction, some of which will be familiar to readers with a prior philosophical interest. The ambitious breadth however of this Usborne’s book is remarkable.  It includes chapters on epistemology, metaphysics, religion, mind, ethics, aesthetics, political theory, and logic and language, primarily from a western philosophical perspective, but including some eastern philosophy. The book also introduces how to do philosophy as well as learning about philosophy.

 

Each chapter is substantial, clearly explaining the main philosophical concerns, contributions and concepts. Unbelievably all this is squeezed onto a format of only twelve pages! There is therefore a lot of information to digest and discuss further.  Clever design by Freya Harrison separates out sections in each chapter, making the text easier to read. (In addition, her choice of blocks of pastel colours helps unify the whole book.) Moreover, Nick Radford’s illustrations powerfully add to the explanation, using dialogues, comic strips or juxtapositions showing alternative possibilities to demonstrate philosophical points. So, children who have more experience, perhaps of philosophy taught in school, or reading widely on the subject will enjoy and benefit from this book.

 

Moreover, the Usborne’s Quicklinks are excellent with material suitable for primary and secondary children. The links are to mostly well-regarded institutions, including the Open University, BBC, and TED-Ed as well as a number of independent productions of a good quality. There are also some fun games, such as Quandary, testing your role as a spaceship captain to solve the dilemmas of a new colony.

 

Usborne’s books continue to be authoritative. Dr Alex Kaiserman of Oxford university, who teaches extensively across philosophy, was consulted on this specific publication. 

 

The title Philosophy for Beginners understates this fantastic book, yes for beginners new to philosophy, yes for readers with more philosophical knowledge, and yes for teachers like me teaching philosophy.

 

Simon Barrett

The Farm That Feeds Us

Nancy Castaldo, illus. Ginnie Hsu, pub. Words and Pictures

The Farm That Feeds Us takes the reader through a year in the life of an organic farm, a journey through the seasons and rhythm of farm life. 

 

This is a simplistic view of a small sustainable farm; modern farms are, perhaps, not quite like this, but it provides a good introduction and raises several points that could lead to further discussion such as connecting with the community, food distribution and responsible farming.

 

The illustrations, in gentle muted colours, are detailed and the pages are packed with information. Children can learn about different breeds of farm animals such as pigs, cows and sheep as well as other animals often found on farms like horses and goats.

 

There is information about farm machinery, natural pest control, farmers’ markets and county shows as well as snippets of science in the form of photosynthesis and pollination.

 

Although aimed at 7 – 11 years, this would be a good book to share with younger children as well as use in a classroom situation. A simple glossary explains some of the terms used, I would have liked to have seen an index too to make searching for specific topics easier.

 

Barbara Band

The Tale of a Toothbrush

M G Leonard, illus. Daniel Rieley, pub. Walker Books

When Sofia is allowed to choose a new toothbrush, she picks a sunshine yellow one, names him Sammy and puts an S on the handle. However, one day Sofia’s mum sees the bristles are worn and puts Sammy in the bin. 

 

The story follows Sammy’s journey as he’s taken on a ship full of rubbish to a hot place and how he tries to get back to Sofia with the help of a rat, a plastic bottle, some stars and an albatross. When he finally finds his way home and Sofia’s mum says she can’t use him to brush her teeth, Sofia isn’t worried as she has lots of ideas for how he can be useful. 

 

This book sends a message about recycling and reuse, highlights the issues around rubbish and the impact on wildlife as well as the environment, all wrapped up within a delightful story. 

 

The illustrations are bright, cheerful and amusing – Sammy with his rather funky bristle hairstyle is particularly endearing – and there’s some information at the end of the book about the problems with plastic with the suggestion of using a bamboo toothbrush instead.

 

Barbara Band

When Darwin Sailed the Sea

David Long, illus. Sam Kalda, pub. Wide Eyed Editions

A narrative non-fiction book that details the story of Darwin’s life, from his childhood in Shropshire when he was brought up by his sisters after his mother died to the publication of his theory of natural selection that caused a furore and divided opinion. 

 

In this biography the reader learns that Darwin failed to become a doctor or clergyman, both ambitions of his father; that he tended to avoid lectures, preferring to be outside in the natural world; and that at the age of 22 years he joined the Beagle on her second voyage. This was due to be a journey of 2 years – the ship finally returned after 5 years of sailing to South America, South Africa and Australia. During the journey, Darwin collected specimens and kept scientific journals which he wrote up on his return.

 

This is a fascinating and interesting introduction to Darwin’s life and his theory of evolution. Combining history, science, travel and adventure, the book is lavishly illustrated and also contains information about some of Darwin’s discoveries as well as the people who helped shape him. There is a small glossary and a timeline.

 

Barbara Band

World of Wonder: Mountains

Charlotte Guillain, illus. Chris Maddon, pub. Words and Pictures

Mountains form the backbones of the continents and this book takes you on a round-the-world tour from the Himalayas and Alps to the Andes and Rockies with specific mountains featured including the Matterhorn, Everest, Mauna Kea and Mount Fuji.

 

It looks at how different types of mountains, such as upthrust, fold and volcanic, are formed and there are descriptions of the habitats found on mountains from the lowland slopes to the peaks. Wildlife is included - insects, birds, reptiles and mammals – as well as features such as fractured ice, snowslides and icefields. The book also dips into river formation, mountain lakes and waterfalls. 

 

The illustrations are quite graphic in style and their cool colours evoke the feeling of wide-open spaces. Information is presented in short blocks of text making this book accessible to 8 – 12-year-olds. 

 

It is also full of interesting gems such as the fact that Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas is still growing at the rate of 7mm per year. A further resources list with both books and websites listed will enable any reader to explore the topic in more detail.

 

Barbara Band

Please reload