Board Book

Review: Gregory Goose In On The Loose board book series by Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley.

Review: Gregory Goose In On The Loose board book series by Hilary Robinson and Mandy Stanley.

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Featuring On The Moon and In The Jungle

Gregory Goose gets everywhere. The trouble is, it can be difficult to keep up with him when there is so very much to see. This wonderful board book series challenges readers to find Gregory Goose on journeys through different environments.

With bright and attractive pictures, these books offer an exciting game of hide-and-seek.

This format is ever popular, but what I love about the Gregory Goose series is it doesn’t push the game on the reader. It is just as possible to read through one of the books to enjoy the setting as it is to stop and search for Gregory Goose. Every double page spread introduces something new – so when Gregory Goose goes to the moon, for example, we are first introduced to rockets, then to stars, then to planets and so on. This makes the books excellent vocabulary builders. The close focus on one location makes it easy for the reader to pick up new words.

Gregory Goose himself looks friendly and inquisitive – much like a young child exploring the world for the first time. He is a kindred spirit on the great adventure that is this world. 

There is a rhyme scheme to the text, but it feels entirely natural, much like being spoken to in a slightly sing-song voice. This makes the books perfect for repetition – and they will certainly be on repeat for many readers!

The perfect books for little adventurers on the hunt for new facts about the world. 

 

Thanks to Catch A Star for my copies of the books featured in this review. Opinions my own.

Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: Small World by Ishta Mercurio and Jen Corace.

Review: Small World by Ishta Mercurio and Jen Corace.

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When Nanda was born, and she was wrapped in a bundle, the world was safe, small and warm. Over the years her world grew bigger and bigger, from the family dinner table to the playground to riding the roller-coasters at the theme-park. She went to college away from home, and her world grew bigger again as she learned about science and engineering. 

Finally, her dream came true and she set off into space. Her world became a rocket. A helmet. A small blue jewel in a dark galaxy. 

A beautiful story which turns the enormity of space travel on its head and celebrates the achievements of every individual who has ever made a contribution to space science. 

small world 2Small World is one of my favourite titles in the run of books published ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings. Its jewel-bright colours and geometric patterns make a change from page after page of stars and planets, and it adds a very human touch to a STEM subject. It also shows how an interest in engineering can begin with the smallest of steps. An interest in building blocks, constant observations and measuring the world in patterns and shapes. The best way to encourage interest in a subject is to show that learning begins with very achievable steps. 

Nanda was once a little girl who sat on somebody’s knee at the family table. Who tumbled down the slide, and played in her bedroom. Who went out with her friends as a teenager. Who studied hard enough to get on to a top science course. Understanding what it takes to be an astronaught will encourage readers to aspire to big things.

The illustrations turn the world into a kaleidoscope of colour and pattern, and I would love to imitate this style with watercolours or glass paint. This would be a beautiful book for encouraging artwork and think about how we observe shapes nature. 

A gentle and richly illustrated story which explores the human face of space science. A lovely book to read around the 50th Anniversary of the Moon Landings. 

 

Thanks to Abrams Kids for my copy of Small World. Opinions my own.

Non-Fiction · Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: Field Trip To The Moon by John Hare and Jeanne Willis

Review: Field Trip To The Moon by John Hare and Jeanne Willis

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The aliens watch while a group of children is guided around the moon. They stick together for safety … all except one boy who slips away to draw pictures of what he sees. When he gets left behind, the aliens creep out to watch him, and together they add some colour to the moon. 

A story of friendship, exploration and caring for the places we visit. 

With the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing in July 2019, a whole spate of books has been published, from fact files to real-life stories of space scientists to stories set in outer space. This book falls into the latter category, imaging what a school trip or day out might look like if we could travel en-masse into space. 

The story is told in rhyme and balances both the gravitas of major exploration and the light excitement of a day trip. The one child who does their own thing will be familiar to anybody who has lead a group of children outdoors (or been a child on a school trip) and I was pleased to see the story showing that this can be lead by curiosity rather than trouble. Although the boy is in the wrong, he is the only person who takes enough time to look back and admire the view of the earth. 

When the aliens come out, the real fun begins. 

Their world is grey, and they have never seen so many colours as the boy holds in his crayon packet. A new game begins and soon the boy is less frightened about being left behind. 

The illustrations have a futuristic feel to them, and the reader is always looking forwards on to the moon landscape as if they were standing up close to the boy. This sense of being right there makes the story even more exciting. 

This would be a lovely story to get readers interested in the Moon anniversary and to help them imagine where the future of space travel might lie. 

 

Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books for my gifted copy. Opinions my own.

Non-Fiction · Picture Book Reviews · Picture Books

Review: The Big Beyond by James Carter and Aaron Cushley

Review: The Big Beyond by James Carter and Aaron Cushley

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Once upon a time man looked at the skies and dreamed of the stars and planets which lay beyond the Earth’s boundaries. Over the centuries our understanding of space grew until, in 1969, humans walked on the moon. 

img_8837This beautiful rhyming picture book takes readers on a tour through the centuries, from the time when stories about the constellations were told, through Galileo and his telescope to the moonwalk and beyond. It is a beautiful introduction to physics and space travel and encourages readers to see themselves as future astronauts. 

Multisubject approaches are so important. It can be easy to talk about scientific concepts in isolation and yet when we give them historical context, it not only explains what the big breakthrough was and why the science is so important, but it emphasises that science is a process of question and discovery (and not one of parroting formula). Beautiful texts like this make this idea accessible and exciting. 

There is so much joy in the illustrations. What might have been a heavy topic is made fun through the young characters pretending to fly, looking at the constellations and dressing up as astronauts. This book is not only about history, but it is also a nod to the future and it encourages the reader to aspire to the highest travels. 

There is a lovely fact file at the end with some key dates and figures. This is written as a separate acrostic poem with the word rockets and again it was a joy to see creative writing forms used in a book about science. 

A joy to read and share. This will encourage readers young and old to look up to the stars. 

 

Thanks to Little Tiger Press for my gifted copy of The Big Beyond. Opinions my own.