If … A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers by David J. Smith ill Steve Adams

How big is Earth or the Solar System or the Milky Way galaxy?

How old is our planet and when did the first animals and people appear on it?

Some things are so huge or so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch?

How big is Earth or the Solar System or the Milky Way galaxy?

How old is our planet and when did the first animals and people appear on it?

Some things are so huge or so old that it’s hard to wrap your mind around them. But what if we took these big, hard-to-imagine objects and events and compared them to things we can see, feel and touch?

If …’ introduces some of the mind-boggling concepts of our world and suggests ways of understanding them. Our planets are shown as a series of balls from Mercury (ping pong ball) to Jupiter (fit ball). Our galaxy becomes a plate and our solar system a speck of dust too small to see. History becomes a calendar and continents animals with the ocean (and a blue whale) occupying ¾ of the earth’s surface. The painterly illustrations are full page and include children and adults helping to present and understand the information on offer. Text boxes provide extra information. Humans are shown large and small, the different scales helping to clarify the text information. There is also plenty of other information embedded in the illustrations. There is a contents page and final pages offer notes for parents and teachers as well as information sources.

If’ is a picture book for children who like their information straight up. It will also help parents and teachers answer some of those curly questions in an age-accessible way. Information-hungry children will find plenty to engage and entertain as well as ideas and suggestions to stimulate further exploration and investigation. It’s easy to see ‘If’ being used through primary years both at school and at home, particularly for those who struggle with longer fictional texts. Recommended for primary-aged readers.

If Cover

If …, David J. Smith Steve Adams New Frontier Publishing 2015 ISBN: 9781925059267

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s author and bookseller

www.clairesaxby.com

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs, by Helen Martin and Judith Simpson

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a sturdy board book introducing dinosaurs to small children. The text is sparing and the illustrations gentle. Size comparisons are demonstrated very clearly in illustrations where the text indicates ‘small’ and ‘tall’ etc. Accurate names are used, but so too are descriptors like ‘spiky tail’ for the Kentrosaurus and ‘three sharp horns for Triceratops. The narrative text is rhyming, and different font sizes are used to help differentiate between the narrative text and labels and the like. Illustrations are pastel coloured with plenty of white space to allow close examination of each of these remarkable creatures.

Dinosaurs continue to entrance generation after generation of young children. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs is a new title for the very young in a series that includes the beautiful ‘Animals’. The ABC Book of Dinosaurs offers accurate information in a very simple style without overwhelming the illustrations or ‘dumbing down’. Danny Snell’s illustrations have smiling faces…even the big-toothed Tyrannosaurus Rex appears almost friendly. A beautiful book. Recommended for toddlers and dinosaur fans.

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs [Board book]

The ABC Book of Dinosaurs , Helen Martin and Judith Simpson, ill Danny Snell
ABC Books Harper Collins 2009
ISBN: 9780733324796

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
www.clairesaxby.com

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