Newest Animals and Wildlife Reviews

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Pairs in the Garden by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Lorna Scobie

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Pairs in the garden is a fun book/game hybrid for little fingers into creepy crawlies. It's a lift-the-flap book with a difference, because not only do you get to see what's underneath, you then must see if you can find a matching pair. But beware! You cannot just use process of elimination because there are 7 flaps on each page, but only 3 pairs to find. One poor creature is all alone with no partner. Full review...

Knowledge Encyclopedia: Animal! by DK

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The encyclopedia may be an informative type of book, but it's not always the most interesting. A series of dry facts plastered all over the page with nary an image in sight. This dry type of learning is never going to work with some of our modern youth, more used to spending time looking for imaginary animals on their phones, than researching real ones in a book. If you want to capture their attention, you must first draw their eyes. DK have attempted this in one of the most colourful and vibrant encyclopedias you are likely to see. Full review...

A Tale of Trees: The Battle to save Britain's Ancient Woodland by Derek Niemann

4star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

Ancient British woodland is something very special indeed. It captures our imagination, connects us to nature and fuels our creativity. The British have an almost symbiotic relationship with woodland and most of us have a small local patch where we can get away from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. It's hard to imagine life without our native woods, and yet in the 40 years following the war we lost more ancient woodland than in the previous 400. The destruction was large-scale and merciless and by 1985, we'd already lost a third of our ancient woodland. Predictions for the future were bleak: find a way to halt the decline or there will be nothing left outside nature reserves by 2020. Full review...

Planet Earth II by Stephen Moss

5star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

Planet Earth II is the official companion to the upcoming BBC wildlife documentary series of the same name. Our understanding of the world around us has reached a new level, courtesy of ground-breaking technology that gives us unparalleled access to a diverse range of environments and a sneak peek into previously hidden worlds. The book looks at six vastly different environments: Jungles, Mountains, Deserts, Grasslands, Islands and Cities and showcases some of the amazing creatures that live in each one. Full review...

Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive

5star.jpg Biography

Cameron and his wife, Sam, had been leading a very active, adventurous life. Even after the birth of their three sons they wanted to continue their adventures, so they decided to travel to Thailand for a family holiday. They were having a brilliant time until, suddenly, Sam was involved in a dreadful, almost fatal, accident. The accident left her paralysed and, because of the sudden and extremely severe impact on her life she slid quickly into a very deep and dark depression. Cameron feared for his family's future, and his wife's life, until one day a small abandoned magpie chick came along, and managed to change everything. Full review...

The Book of Bees by Piotr Socha

4star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

The Book of Bees may look like a typical picture book, but it has a lot buzzing underneath the surface. It is adapted from the original Polish book Pszczoly. Packed to the brim with bee facts and figures and accompanied by the wonderful comic-style artwork of Piotr Socha, the book is an odd amalgam: part coffee table book/ nature encyclopaedia/factfile/picture book. Don't be fooled by its simple cover; The Bee Book is a treasure trove of information just waiting to 'bee' harvested! Full review...

Lesser Spotted Animals by Martin Brown

5star.jpg Confident Readers

There may be as many as 5,500 different species of mammal on our planet, but how many of those do we actually get to see and read about? 'Animal Books' are packed with cute pictures of tigers, elephants, monkeys and zebras, but what about their lesser-known neglected cousins? Don't they deserve a minute in the spotlight? Numbat, Solenodon, Zorilla, Onager and Linsang: Now is your time to shine! Full review...

Rainbow Dust: Three Centuries of Delight in British Butterflies by Peter Marren

4star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

Peter Marren is a wildlife writer based in Wiltshire. His fascination with butterflies began when he was a child: he still remembers catching a Painted Lady in his hands at the age of five and it transferring some of its colours onto his palm. Rainbow dust, he dubbed it. 'It was a Nabokov moment because only he could put into words what most of us can only feel: the frankly sensual moment in a child's life when the full force of nature is felt for the first time.' Full review...

100 Facts Butterflies & Moths by Steve Parker

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Damn those bees. They're not the only flying creatures vanishing from our world at alarming rates, and the others, like butterflies and moths, are actually runners-up to Mr Bumble and his mysteriously dying ilk in pollinating plants. Plus they're more visually attractive. But even though this book has two nudges and a thanks given to the Butterfly Conservation body, that's certainly not the more notable feature of these pages. What stands out is the superlative content. Full review...

Sea Journal by Lisa Woollett

5star.jpg Popular Science

Over the course of a year Lisa Woollett invites us to go with her on her visits to various beaches in the British Isles, although 'visits' might make what happens sound a little too formal. Woollett knows her local beaches, and some further afield, in much the same way that a gardener knows their own plot. She's aware of minute changes, how the phase of the moon will affect the tide, what she can expect to find in the strandline and where it's come from. She delights in every variation of the weather and she's a mine of wonderful information from ancient myths to up-to-the-minute science. Full review...

Nature's Day: Out and About by Kay Maguire and Danielle Kroll

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I love books which encourage children to interact with nature - as opposed to a computer screen. I like to see them getting outdoors, preferably getting a bit dirty, being independent and getting excited about nature. A good teacher will inspire children, but Nature's Day: Out and About provides support and encouragement in equal measures and might just be what a child needs. Full review...

Pattern Play: Cut, Fold and Make Your Own 3D Animal Models by Danielle Kroll and Nghiem Ta

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Here's a neat idea for you. Provide pages with animal prints on one side - only by animal prints, I mean the sort of colours and pattern which you see on animals, not paw prints! Some are subtle and others are rather more in-your-face. On the reverse of these printed pages provide a cutting line so that you can cut and fold the paper and it becomes a 3D model of an animal. Provide some stickers which replicate faces, tails or beaks - or whatever else you feel needs highlighting - and number these so that they get into the right place. All you need to add to the mix is a pair of scissors, parental supervision if necessary for the cutting, a little imagination and you have hours of fun. Full review...

Penguins and Other Sea Birds by Matt Sewell

4.5star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

I've always been fascinated by Penguins: I think it's because they look so smart and striking, yet survive in extreme conditions, so the opportunity to review a book which contains fifty penguins and other seabirds was too good to miss. Just the pictures would have been enough - the minimalist watercolours of street artist and ornithologist Matt Sewell - but Sewell's whimsical wit and ability to teach without being preachy makes this a book to treasure. Full review...

Out There by Chris Townsend

4star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

Chris Townsend has been Out There as a long distance walker for almost four decades. For most of that time he has been equally out there as a champion of the outdoors. He is the author of many books, many accounts of his treks, and his web site and blogs receive many thousands of visits. Here, for the first time, he gathers his thoughts and experience into a single volume, singing a hymn of praise for the Wild, and stirring defence against human predation. Full review...

Outside: A Guide to Discovering Nature by Maria Ana Peixe Dias, Ines Teixeira do Rosario, Bernardo P Carvalho and Lucy Greaves (translator)

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I'm on a mission: I want children - adults too - to spend a lot more time outside. I want them to have the benefits of fresh air, increasing their levels of vitamin D and the knowledge of what nature can offer them. I'd like the television, computers, mobile phones, video games and even books to be laid aside and attention given to what is available for free, but which - if we don't care for it - might not always be there. Fortunately the authors of Outside: A Guide to discovering Nature have the same ideas. Full review...

The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook by Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington

5star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

An activity book, but not as you know it is what it says on the back cover - and I have to agree. Here at Bookbag we tend to avoid 'activity books' as they usually have soft covers, lots of stickers and they're the sort of thing you pick up at the supermarket checkout in the hope that it will buy you an hour or two's peace in the school holidays. The Nature Explorer's Handbook is a different beast altogether. It's part album in which you're going to collect and store your own finds, part explanation of the best practices of how you should go about this and part nature guide. It's a substantial hardback book with an elastic band to keep it shut - as it's really going to get quite bulky when your collection grows. Production values for the book are high - this really is something which will be treasured for years. Full review...

The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Take a well-put-together board book (don't worry about it being a board book - no one is going to say that they’re a bit too old for a board book once they see it), add exquisite pictures of a dozen birds - one on each double-page spread - and then fill in the details. You'll need the name of the bird in English and Latin and a description of the bird in words which a child can understand but which won't patronise an adult. Then you'll need details of where the bird is found, what it eats, where it nests, how many eggs it lays, how the male and female adults differ and their size. Then you need a 'Did you know?' fact and this needs to be something which will interest children, but which adults might not know either. Does it sound simple? Well it isn't, but 'The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs' does it perfectly. And there's a bonus, but I'll tell you about that in a moment. Full review...

The English Countryside (Amazing and Extraordinary Facts) by Ruth Binney

4star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

I live in the countryside and spend as much time as the weather will allow exploring it, so the chance to read Ruth Binney's The English Countryside was too good to be missed. We've met Ruth before at Bookbag and we know that she writes well and interestingly, but just one thing was worrying me about this book. It's a hardback and beautifully presented but its the size of book that you slip into a pocket or handbag. Would it be rather superficial? Full review...

The Hunt by Alastair Fothergill and Huw Cordey

4star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

My mother has long complained that nature programmes too often concentrate on the death and violence, or how it's all about the capture and killing of one animal by another. She's long had a point, but killer whales swanning by doing nothing, and lions sleeping off the heat without munching on a passing wildebeest's leg really don't cut it when it comes to providing popular TV content. I doubt she will be tuning in to the series this book accompanies, even if the volume very quickly testifies that it's not all about the capture – often the chase can be just as thrilling, and the result for the intended victim is favourable. Full review...

Claxton: Notes From a Small Planet by Mark Cocker

4.5star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

In 2001, author Mark Cocker moved to Claxton, a small village in Norfolk that manages to be wonderfully remote, and yet only a few miles from Norwich. In a series of writings spanning the course of a year, Cocker quietly explores nature in the village, and his relationship to the living things around him, as well as the surrounding landscape. All written with a deep knowledge and a wonderful eye for detail, Cocker truly gets to the heart of the local wildlife and the local community. Full review...

Hare by Zoe Greaves and Leslie Sadlier

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

Some animals feature large in mythology and the hare is one of these. The hare we're going to meet is O'Hare - well, we hope we're going to meet him: hares are well known for being elusive and this one is no exception! We'll be following him through the churchyard on a moonlit night - see him leaping in front of the moon - and through a summer meadow, where we only catch sight of his hind legs and his ears. Look on the riverbank - is that him in the water? Then he's in amongst the cabbages - the farmer is not going to be pleased about that. Is he in the foxglove patch? We can see the fox, but it looks as though O'Hare has gone. The best sighting we have of him is on the corn field, where he's leaping through the stubble. Full review...

Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us by David Neiwert

3.5star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

'Profoundly humbling experiences are good for our souls,' Neiwert asserts in the first pages of his all-encompassing book about killer whales. For him, encountering orcas, one of the world's largest mammals, has been both humbling and inspiring, reminding him that humans are just one among many wondrous species and that it is wrong for us to exploit other creatures for our own benefit. After moving to Seattle, he tried for three years to see the whales, and finally gave up; it was only when he began spending time in the places where the orcas live, simply for the pleasure of it, that he started seeing them all the time. Full review...

The Tiger Prowls: a pop-up book of wild animals by Seb Braun

4star.jpg For Sharing

It's a hardback book with a striking cover and when you open it, don't expect endpapers or gentle introductions: as you lift the cover, the tiger of the title appears:

The tiger prowls, stalking through the jungle.
Paw after heavy paw crunches on the forest floor. Full review...

Dinoblock by Christopher Franceschelli

4star.jpg For Sharing

As befits a book about dinosaurs, 'Dinoblock' is suitably chunky. Not monstrously large but enticingly substantial in a 'pick me up and read me' kind of way. Inside this board book, twenty plus beasts are on parade. If you don't know your Triassic from your Jurassic step this way… Full review...

The Hounds of Falsterbo by Jules Nilsson

4star.jpg For Sharing

In between the beach huts
Where the white sands meet the seas,
The heather meets the sand dunes
And long grasses dance the breeze. Full review...

Favourite Deadly Facts by Steve Backshall

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Many people have wondered what limbo must feel like. I for one think it will be like being trapped on a long car journey with an enthusiastic child clasping a bumper book of facts. There is nothing quite like a book about how long, how short or how wide something is to put a certain type of child in clover. This type of book should come with a warning sticker on the front as any nearby adult is going to get their ear talked off, especially if it is a bumper fact book. Full review...

The Adventure Game: A Cameraman's Tales from Films at the Edge by Keith Partridge

4.5star.jpg Animals and Wildlife

Keith Partridge has been one of the world’s leading adventure cameramen for over twenty years. The award winning Touching the Void, Beckoning Silence and Human Planet are just some of the films that have taken him all over the earth, from the caves of Papua New Guinea to the summit of Mount Everest. No location has been too dangerous, no environment too wild, and if you have ever seen a climber or explorer in some outrageous position, chances are that Keith Partridge was there with his camera. Here Keith discusses the challenges that have faced him in the daring adventures has taken part in, with personalities such as Steve Backshall, Joe Simpson and Stephen Venables. Full review...