Review: Find Tom In Time – Ancient Egypt by Fatti Burke.
Whoosh! A magic amulet has transported Tom back to Ancient Egypt alongside his Granny Bea and Digby the cat. There’s so much to see and explore.
Where’s Wally spotting challenges meet non-fiction in this addictive book which will keep everyone staring at the pages.
This isn’t a big fat history book. It introduces the reader to the idea of a different historical period through different spreads which show how life, death, religion, housing and daily life might have looked during that time. This gives an overview and flavour of what we know about the general period. Placing one period in relation to another can be difficult, and the first step is to understand that life has happened in times and places other than our own.
Tom sees so many places along the way that the series would be brilliant for anyone with burning questions. What did school look like? What did people eat and what kind of clothes did they wear? Alongside the spotting game, there are short bites of text to explain what is happening in the pictures.
The book is addictive, with additional things to spot on every page. It would be great to play alone or in a group, with each person looking for a different thing.
Granny Bea is a wonderful addition as a female archeologist. Certain jobs are surrounded by stereotypes and the only way to end this is to constantly show all kinds of people filling these roles.
A fun way to dive into a new period, and a great concept to hook budding historians.
Thanks to Nosy Crow for my gifted copy of Find Tom In Time – Ancient Egypt. Opinions my own.
Review: Alice In Wonderland – A Puzzle Adventure by Aleksandra Artymowska.
Fall down the rabbit hole and puzzle your way through Wonderland. This beautiful volume presents Wonderland as it has never been seen before. Familiar characters and settings remain, but instead of telling the story it is up to the ready to work through the puzzles and on to the next page.
From counting games to mazes, spotting challenges to pairing games, there is something for everyone. Some of the puzzles are more difficult than others, which ensures that everyone solves something and feels rewarded. Details from the book are cleverly incorporated into the game: finding a key to escape the rabbit hole, spotting a lizard inside the White Rabbit’s house, and spotting the differences between Tweedledum and Tweedledee are among many examples. Part of the delight is in recognising favourite scenes from the story.
Put this on a coffee table or in a book corner and it is bound to be poured over.
Aleksandra Artymowska has previously constructed puzzle adventures based on the work of Jules Verne, and her experience shows. The pages draw the reader in and maintain their attention, with additional mini-tasks to keep everyone going even when the main puzzle is proving hard.
Minimalist, modern characters are contrasted with a wealth of pattern and detail. The important parts of the illustration – the puzzle – draw the eye while the backgrounds are clean and simple. This ensures the focus remains on the important details, but it also creates a unique and attractive style.
This has proved a big hit in my household, both with Wonderland devotees and people who can’t rest until they figure out the answer. It is a perfect gift for fans of Alice In Wonderland. It is also one of those books which attracts anyone who sees the cover.
Thanks to Big Picture Books for my gifted copy of Alice In Wonderland – A Puzzle Adventure. Opinions my own.
Wilfred And Olbert’s Epic Prehistoric Adventure by Stephan Lomp
A time machine takes Wilfred and Olbert back to the beginning of time. Through a series of portals, they travel through pre-history, starting with the Big Bang and ending with the frozen ice ages of the Quaternary period. During their adventures, they see how animals evolved and the environment changed across millions of years.
A zany look at the prehistoric era which mixes puzzles, games and humour with an illustrated guide.
Fact file this isn’t. Information is, on the surface, kept a minimum with a short line of summary at the top of each double-page spread and name labels for the animal life in the pictures. The many speech bubbles are filled with jokes and follow Wilfred and Olbert’s adventure.
Actually, the book is packed with information, but most of it is in the pictures and puzzles. Each spread is a great at-a-glance guide to the different ages. Did you know the dinosaurs had to contend with meteors? Or that corals were around right when the earliest life began? All of this information can be learned through the pictures.
This would suit readers who enjoy reading pictures – really taking time to get information out of the illustrations. It is encouraging to see books which take a fun approach to non-fiction. We can learn in hundreds of different ways and books which encourage play and laughter are picked up many times by readers who might shy away from traditional fact-files.
A double thumbs-up for Wilfred and Olbert. Looking forward to learning where their next adventures take them.
Review: Peek And Seek by Charlotte Milner and Violet Peto
A flock of birds. A troop of monkeys. Peek under each flap to discover different animals, learn fun facts about their species and uncover a great big hide and seek game. With five different flaps and ten things to find in each spread, this book will keep young explorers happy for hours.
I adore this book because it is a fact-file which is accessible to very young readers. Before we read paragraphs and sentences, before we even recognise letters, we have positive experiences with books. Hide-and-seek games are a wonderful way to share time with children. They are also brilliant for keeping kids entertained and they encourage children to be observant. Trusting that information is on the page, even if we can’t initially see it, is an important step to analytical-thinking.
The short facts on each spread will encourage reading skills and help children to take an interest in wildlife. With more people than ever out of touch with nature, it is important that we use books and media to pass on our knowledge and vocabulary of the natural landscape.
Peek And Seek is bold and colourful, with appealing illustrations. Each spread takes us straight into the landscape of the different species, from the snowy mountains where the wolves hunt to the burrows and tunnels beneath tree-roots where rabbits hide their food. There is lots to be learned from the illustrations alone: which other species can be found in a habit, what sort of home the animals keep and whereabouts in the world they might be found. The illustrations promote huge amounts of conversation which will teach children about the natural world.
An attractive and engaging book which demands to be shared and enjoyed together.
Many thanks to Antonia Wilkinson and Dorling Kindersley Limited for my copy of Peek And Seek. Opinions my own.