National Trust: Complete Night Explorer's Kit by Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb
|National Trust: Complete Night Explorer's Kit by Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: The book herein doesn't seem to be separately available, so it's a good job the deluxe collection of items does make a full, encouraging pack to get the young themselves packing for a night outside.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 80||Date: June 2017|
|Publisher: Nosy Crow Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
There is a misfortune to the modern world, in that we have killed off a common hobby from when I was a lad. Nowadays light pollution is so awful it's certainly not uncommon for people to hardly see any of the stars and to get to learn the constellations, and while I only went out to go 'meteor hunting', it's patently obvious that the chance to lie down and stargaze is a dying one. Elsewhere the nocturnal youth can struggle to have much opportunity to explore the night-time nature as this book suggests – it begins with setting up a tent in your back garden, and too many don't even get that chance, for want of possession of one. Yes, if this book is only read once in the daytime and never referred to again, due to lack of opportunity, it really will be a crying shame.
In actual fact, what we have here is not so much a book but a full pack. The review of this might almost be better served by one of those 'unboxing' videos, but I'll give it a go. A see-through plastic bag with rucksack-styled handles (for those with the very weeniest, least broad backs, mind) contains a wee little torch, complete with batteries and its own handy handle, a sturdy card star map for both hemispheres, a sheet of fluorescent star stickers (which, to the parent's relief, are already peeling themselves off their backing sheet, so doubtless won't stay on the ceiling for long), and the main product, the full Out and About – Night Explorer! book.
I took the presence of the star chart and stars to be evidence of an astronomical bent to this book, but that's not the case. We start firmly on the nature trail, with guides to what animals we might bump into at dusk on our explorations – or at least what dung and pawprints we might get close to. There are guides to moths, bugs, owls – all with spotting guides and some basic information (and some details for us mature types – did you know the tapetum was the shiny bit of a cat's eye?). Other night-time birds, amphibians and flowers that greet the dark with extra scent and so on are covered before we finally look up and see the constellations. The book is peppered with a few tasks and suggestions of activities – although not enough to make the book justified for those few with no chance to live it out, in the way I mentioned at the beginning.
The script, by Robyn Swift, is pretty decent fare – very attractive in how it doesn't talk down or repeat itself, but covering all the basics for the junior schoolchild very well. It's certainly a full-colour book too, although I wasn't taken quite so much by the artwork from Sara Lynn Cramb – she had far too many smirking bats for my taste. But she's fine when it comes to diagrams and other informative illustrations, meaning this book – and package – has a lot of brains about it. So for various reasons I can only hope that it sees much use.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
And if you do take the advice to stay out at night and explore, then you will need all the information in the sister book, National Trust: Go Wild in the Woods by Goldie Hawk and Rachael Saunders, addressing how you get through both the day and night safely and happily.
You can read more book reviews or buy National Trust: Complete Night Explorer's Kit by Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy National Trust: Complete Night Explorer's Kit by Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb at Amazon.com.
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