The month of November has seen a celebration of the inspiring world of non-fiction for children organised by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. As the month ends I want to highlight a wonderful book that is a perfect introduction to information books for babies, toddlers and pre- schoolers. Britannica’s Baby Encyclopedia has been created with an understanding of this very young audience’s needs and would make a brilliant present this Christmas.
First, the appearance and feel of this encyclopedia is just right for little ones. A large format book with a sturdy board cover and card pages which will withstand poking and exploring by curious little fingers and although big the book will lie completely flat when opened out so is suitable for ‘tummy time’ for the very young and can be shared when sitting next to an adult too. The cover has die cuts revealing pictures of the different topics covered underneath and is bright, cheerful and inviting.
The topics covered are: Earth, Animal, Plants, Food, Machines, Art, Music, Numbers and Shapes. The clear text is wonderful to read aloud with its lively and rhythmic vocabulary. A lot of thought has clearly gone into the explanations enabling the child to learn the meaning of words as they also learn about the subject being discussed. For example, “People travel over bridges…and through tunnels.” “A butterfly flutters up-up-up in the air…as worms burrow deep down in the soil.” “Legs can move and explore. They help with crawling…and walking.” The emphasis is on ensuring that the topics are made relatable for the young child listening and the content is pitched just right to encourage curiosity and discovery. Much of the information is about subjects that children naturally find interesting such as animals, how plants grow, different types of food etc. There is a lovely balance between the familiar every day events and the world wide context for example a rabbit hopping out of its hutch and an elephant stomping through the forest.
The illustrations are wonderful being clear and containing accurate detail to point out and discuss with children. They include babies and young children taking part in activities which children will recognise and be familiar with adding to the appeal. The pictures are bold and bright and support the learning well. This is a cleverly designed book.
I would highly recommend this book for very young children and it would be wonderful to use in an Early Years setting and would be a much appreciated Christmas gift by both little ones and their parents.
I should like to thank Laura Smythe and and What On Earth Books for my review copy.