Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman

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Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A very simple but effective book for simple but effective learning about the world of the woodland around us.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 18 Date: July 2017
Publisher: 360 Degrees
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978184857597

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Sometimes, less is more. But a wood doesn't understand that, does it – it just stretches on and on, expanding outwards and outwards, and upwards and upwards – it's quite a galling thing for a young person to understand. This book reverts to the very basic detail that will let the very young student get a grip on the life in the forest, whether they can actually see it for the trees in real life or not…

The script is perfectly short and curt, but is hard to see at first. In fact it really is reduced to the bare bones. With each double page spread we get a sweeping statement, regarding the animal life in the trees, or the plant-life itself, or what might be found in a woodland pond, and after that it's up to us to go exploring. That's not exploring in a wood per se, but in the book, as we have to lift back six flaps on each spread to get the full information about each subject.

So, for example, after ten words about insects we have a flap for each of bee, grasshopper, snail (an insect only in the author's imagination, it has to be said), ant, butterfly and ladybird, and upon turning the flap over we get a pleasantly painted landscape image and a sentence about the subject – and that's it. The way the animals of the forest are different to the young of the forest and the animal homes of the forest means we get a greater variety of critters than we might have expected, but we do only learn one fact about each one.

Luckily, that's enough – this format is surely a very successful one at just sparking initial knowledge and the beginnings of curiosity. I can see it on the kindergarten bookshelf, if they have a non-fiction section; I can see the artwork being very aesthetically pleasing to the target audience (although who put so much black ink against dark brown earth tones is beyond me); and I can predict a lot of surreptitious learning. Certainly, when the book goes into real educational mode it presents not just one image to go with the one blunt statement, but something more complex – such as a time-lapse presentation of the aforementioned butterfly's life cycle. I can't say I found the flaps perfectly easy to pull back each time, but the book seems sturdy enough for the multiple uses it could only inspire.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

National Trust: Go Wild in the Woods by Goldie Hawk and Rachael Saunders is for when the audience has matured enough to not just do their exploring in the library, but out in the great wild world.

Buy Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman at Amazon.com.


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