The best nonfiction for children combines detailed information and attractive presentation to create a package that invites children to learn while still being an important part of their reading for pleasure. Flying Eye Books achieve this with these two wonderful new books exploring the world’s oceans.
Professor Astro Cat’s Deep Sea Voyage by Dr Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman
Visually appealing and bursting with facts and information the latest offering in this popular series exploring our world is perfect for budding naturalists. Suitable for both browsing and for finding out this deserves a place on all primary school and family bookshelves.
Professor Astro Cat and his team explore the aquatic world from the seashore to the ocean floor discovering a wonderland of fascinating life hidden within its waters in this enjoyable and informative book. As the reader accompanies the feline professor’s team on their adventures they will learn where the oceans came from, what exactly a coral reef is and meet sharks, jellyfish, seabirds and a plethora of other creatures besides.
The opening pages feature an area already familiar to some children, the beach. However the seashore hides secrets under rocks and in the shallows and this introduction will capture the reader’s interest. The book then moves through the formation of the oceans, how they are mapped and then investigates life in the many different areas of the world showing the enormous diversity of life found in the sea. Topics such as food chains and tectonic plates are included providing an informative introduction to these subjects. This is all presented in an extremely child friendly manner with the use of coloured text boxes, bite sized facts and wonderful illustrations that include a touch of humour. However there is no suggestion of ‘dumbing down’ to the audience with scientific vocabulary used and a large amount of information to absorb.
There is plenty to pore over on each page giving this lovely book real browsing appeal. The final pages provide details of the current dangers to the oceans and what people can do to help the situation. There is a helpful glossary covering some of the language that may be unfamiliar and a useful index too. This book would be equally useful as a reference for topic or homework as for pleasure. A fabulous book for a wide age range, this is highly recommended.
Obsessive About Octopuses by Owen Davey
The latest addition to this best selling animal themed series looks at this curious creature found in the seas all over the world and is full of enough facts to answer the questions of even the most obsessive fan. Did you know that there are approximately 300 species of octopus? I certainly didn’t but now I know this and much more besides. A fact filled exploration of the lives of these creatures and their habitat presented in a format that will appeal to children of primary school age.
The stylish presentation gives this information book high shelf appeal and just like the previous books in the series provides a detailed insight into the lives of a particular animal with both detailed text and stunning illustrations. Did you know that the octopus is closely related to a slug? Or that it had a beak like a bird? That an octopus named the “Flapjack Octopus” exists? Fascinating facts such as these are the type of information that children latch on to and share. This is, in a similar way to the Astro Cat title, a book that lends itself to browsing. In school libraries children often share books such as this together during leisurely lunch time reading and I can imagine young readers delighting in telling others that the octopus has a brain shaped like a doughnut or that ruby octopuses appear to have individual personalities, some being passive and others aggressive. I am now imagining a stroppy octopus!
There is a section about the conservation of octopuses and how we can help them survive and finally an index listing all the different varieties of octopus listed and described. The endpapers are made up of a multitude of images of octopuses of various types, these are particularly striking against the black background.
Both of these books were published in March and are available to purchase. I would like to thank Flying Eye Books for providing my review copies.