Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon

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Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: Dinosaurs is a fantastic educational book for confident readers, mixing a fun comicbook style with a slew of fascinating facts. The Henry's House series also includes books about bodies, Egyptians and creepy-crawlies, which are just as excellent. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 978-1407107196

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Henry's House is extraordinary: it's full of fossils, footprints, and even real dinosaurs. Jaggers the caretaker and Mr Boffin show him around, explaining all about dinosaurs, as Henry sees for himself just what amazing creatures they were, and learns the differences between the various types.

Educational books for children often get the tone completely wrong: they're either far too dry and textbooky, or they prioritise fun over facts, leaving them sorely lacking. Series like Horrible Histories have redressed this balance somewhat, and Henry's House builds on this. The comicbook style works perfectly to both draw children in and clearly present factual nuggets. A child wanting to learn will learn (and have fun in the process); a child wanting a fun read will have a fun read (and learn in the process).

Mike Gordon's illustrations also strike a nice balance, between the fun of cartoons and easily-identifiable representations of the dinosaurs - the dinosaur on the front cover is slightly more cartoony than those within. Henry's dog, Mothball, offers comic relief throughout, keeping everything fresh and exciting.

As a non-fiction book, you don't expect a strong narrative, but everything in Dinosaurs ties neatly together, flowing brilliantly from page to page. It can be read from cover to cover without feeling like you're ploughing through a disjointed series of facts. There's also a handy index if you need to look up one particular topic, either for a project, or just to tell your parents the cool information about Mamenchisaurus and its 11m neck.

There are further books in the Henry's House series, looking at bodies, Egyptians and creepy-crawlies (books on knights and castles and space will follow in March 2010). They're all as enjoyable and informative as Dinosaurs. They can work as both standalone books, or a collection, making them ideal for children interested in just one thing, or those who are unabashed devourers of knowledge.

Any young child who is able to read for themselves will love poring over any and all of the Henry's House books. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Planet In Peril by Anita Ganeri and Mike Phillips is in the Horrible Geography series - a sister series to the more famous Horrible Histories. It's as great as you'd expect. The Comic Strip History of the World by Sally Kindberg and Tracey Turner is also a fantastic read for any young fact-lovers, mixing a comicbook style with fascinating trivia exactly as Dinosaurs does.

Buy Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dinosaurs (Henry's House) by Philip Ardagh and Mike Gordon at Amazon.com.


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