Newest Children's Non-Fiction Reviews

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Iggy Peck's Big Project Book for Amazing Architects by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Out of all the things I wanted to be as a child, an architect was not one of them. Which is a shame, perhaps – I might have had a few Prince Charles-friendly ideas under my belt, and even if I hadn't exactly progressed at that I might have been more at ease at those stupid team-bonding 'build-a-this-or-that' exercises you are sometimes forced to undergo as an adult. I never knew I would ever hold any importance in my ability to draw buildings, conceptualise towns and create model structures of my own creations – partly because I knew I had no ability. But for the likes of Iggy Peck, the whole idea is never in doubt – he spends his entire time thinking of buildings and how to improve on the ones he knows. And so, for the duration of your engagement with these pages, will you. Full review...

My First Wild Activity Book by Isabel Otter and Maxime Lebrun

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

You sit down together as a family and ask your child what they would like to read from your bulging bookcase. Will they choose the timeless classic that you yourself read as a child? Perhaps they will pluck for a modern tale with its dayglo colouring and storyline based around pants? Nope. Neither of these. All you will hear is Stickers! Your child would rather play with a sticker activity book than read with you, so best make it a worthwhile sticker activity book. Full review...

Scientist Academy: Are You Ready For the Challenge? by Steve Martin and Essi Kimpimaki

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Kids seem to have an innate curiosity about the world around them. They are constantly asking How? and Why? Curious kids and budding scientists are going to love the new Scientist Academy book by Ivy Kids, which is filled with practical experiments and fun activities with an educational twist. Full review...

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Unicorns and Rainbows by Rebecca Jones

5star.jpg Crafts

I've a problem with many colouring books for children: some initial effort goes into the colouring, but the chances are that little will be kept on a long-term basis and it's not particularly satisfying. How much better would it be if the colouring produced something which could be sent to someone else, who would appreciate that it's unique and that effort and care has gone into the card? How much better to give a child something like The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Unicorns and Rainbows than an ordinary colouring book which will soon be discarded? Full review...

Wilfred and Olbert’s Totally Wild Chase by Stephan Lomp

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Meet Wilfred and Osbert. They're not only the kind to completely flout the rules of the natural history explorer's club they belong to, but when they both spot an undiscovered butterfly together, they are the kind to fight tooth and claw to be the first to lay claim to it alone, and devil take the other one. What they don't know is that the drama that ensues when they're tailing this particular specimen will involve no end of peril – nearly drowning, almost being eaten by a lion, crashing a hot air balloon one of them just so happened to have in his pocket… This, then, is a fun and silly biology lesson – but that's only the best kind, surely? Full review...

Hidden World: Forest by Libby Walden and Stephanie Fizer Coleman

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

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… Full review...

Time Atlas: An Interactive Timeline of History by Robert Hegarty and Marcelo Badari

3.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

While it's always useful for a child to have access to an atlas, so they know where they are and what there is in every other location, it's equally important that they know when they are, and what has happened at any other place in time. That's the ethos behind this Time Atlas, which only has a few spreads, but takes us right back to prehistory, through the birth of civilisation, and up to today – as well as asking a few questions of what might happen in the future. It is, after all, vital we know not only where we are, but where we may be going… Full review...

Festivals and Celebrations by Sandra Lawrence and Jane Newland

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Every day is a feast day, if you follow the Christian calendar very closely – there are probably enough saints now for each day to have about three people attributed to it. But that's just one religion, one way of thinking, one culture – the world is host to a whole lot more, and in every corner they have their own way of celebrating. Some poignantly light small fires and set them afloat to guide the visiting spirits of the deceased back to their post-life homes; some rejoice in the return of spring, or the bounties of the summer's harvest; some just throw crap like tomatoes or coloured water over each other. But the world has a ritual calendar of events such as these, and this is a brilliant book for the young that shows how diverse our celebrations can be. Full review...

Myths and Legends by Sandra Lawrence and Emma Trithart

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Mythology is a peculiar realm, when you think about it – not quite legend, and not just the religions of the dead civilisations, but something like a mixture of the two. Certainly some of the entries in this pleasant little read hit on legend – King Arthur, Robin Hood – but we also seemed to believe they were true, even if they didn't fit into any pattern of organised worship. But seeing as it is the gospel truth that people lived by these mythologies, it's vital for the young to have some grounding in the subject, and this book is pretty good at providing such. Full review...

Dinosaur Detective's Search-and-Find Rescue Mission by Sophie Guerrive

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

This is a horrific world. Monsters leer over all the mountain tops, there's a giant octopus in one building and a green giant's arms coming through the windows of another, and everywhere you look someone has lost something. Luckily the Dinosaur Detective is on hand to help. Yes, despite his paws looking incredibly ungainly on the controls of his flying machine, he is able to visit all eleven zones, and find the five things requested of him in each. But can you? Full review...

Girling Up by Mayim Bialik

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Aimed at teenagers, this book focuses on growing up as a girl, or Girling up if you will, and what it means to transition from school girl to grown up, via that hideous detour of teenage years. Full review...

10 Reasons to Love an Elephant by Catherine Barr and Hanako Clulow

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Ten reasons to love an elephant, eh? Well, personally, I've never needed ten reasons as they've always been my favourite large animal, the gentle giants of Africa and India, but it was good to find out more about them. Perhaps the most surprising fact which I discovered was that they live in herds headed by their grandmothers. Female elephants and their calves stay together and the oldest female elephant is the one in charge as she knows where to find food and water - and she knows her herd. She remembers about people too. Full review...

Terrible True Tales from the Tower of London by Peter Cottrill

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The history of the infamous Tower of London is full of gore and death. Its rich history dates back to the eleventh century and since then it has played host to many famous figures, many of them ill-fated prisoners. The history of the Tower is told within this book's pages, only this time it's told by the ravens that live there. They are the Tower's guardians who reside there permanently due to an ancient legend that all of London will fall should they be removed, and after centuries of watching over the Tower they have their own version of history to tell. Full review...

Cool Physics by Sarah Hutton

4star.jpg Popular Science

If you aren't entirely sure about a phrase such as Christiaan Huygens states his principle of wavefront sources, don't worry – it was only in 1678 that it happened, so you're not too far behind in physics. Brownian motion, and the gravitational constant being measured both date from before the Victorian era, and all of these three things are on the introductory timeline in this book, which I think might well be proof enough that a primer in the world of physics is very much needed. Full review...

The Prehistoric Times by Stella Gurney, Matthew Hodson and Neave Parker

2.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

With the ability to read the news on our phones or watch the 24 hour news channels, the days of the newspaper appear to be coming to an end. You could say that they are going to be extinct, much like the dinosaurs. So, if newspapers are a thing of the past and so are dinosaurs, it would make sense that dinosaurs had their own newspaper? Turns out this was the case and The Prehistoric Times covers several different eras on the hunt for only the best news and views. Full review...

Around the World Colouring Book by Thomas Flintham

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Colouring books are a useful way for children to relax, develop manual dexterity and explore colour, but in the dash to appeal to the child so many miss the opportunity to be gently educational and to still appeal to the young. The two are not mutually exclusive! Look for instance at this colouring book: it's got page upon page of pictures to colour (with just a little narrative to set the scene) with the added attraction of four pages of stickers. You'll see grey shapes - and that's the signal to get stickering! Full review...

My Burptastic Body Book (Dirty Bertie) by David Roberts and Alan MacDonald

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Oh, to be young and innocent, and to be full of questions. Questions like 'is eating my bogies good for me', or 'why is poo brown', or 'what makes sweat smell'. You don't have to be a kid like Dirty Bertie to want to know the answers – respectively, no; it's down to dead bacteria; and it doesn't – it's other bacteria again. If you think you have a lad (or, let's face it, a lass) interested in learning such stuff, this book could well be the place to turn. Full review...

Grow: A Family Guide to Growing Fruit and Veg by Ben Raskin

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I worried when I looked at this book: Grow, it said, A family guide to growing fruit and veg. Why did it worry me? Well, it's a mere 48 pages and the cover says that it includes Games, stickers and MORE! I have weighty tomes which don't completely cover what I need to know about growing fruit and veg, so wasn't this going to fall a little short? Well, it doesn't - not at all. Full review...

Rainforest Masks: Ten 3D Rainforest Masks to Press Out and Make by Gavin Rutherford and Tanya Batrak

4.5star.jpg Crafts

I have been having the most tremendous fun making rainforest masks: you know the effect that you get when a really talented face artist does a young child's face and you see the tiger? Well, this is an even better result and it's in 3D. All the creatures are, as you would expect, from the rainforest regions of the world, but there's decidedly more here than the usual suspects. You get a green iguana, toucan, jaguar, emperor tamarin, blue morpho butterfly, red-eyed tree frog, Brazilian tapir, giant otter, blue-and-yellow macaw and the emerald tree boa. Never heard of some of them? Well, don't worry: the book is gently educational, with a paragraph telling you just enough about the creature. Full review...

National Trust: Complete Night Explorer's Kit by Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

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. Full review...

National Trust: Go Wild in the Woods by Goldie Hawk and Rachael Saunders

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I am a man who likes his creature comforts. Always have been, always will – and creature comforts don't involve snuggling down in a sleeping bag, however comfortable, to watch creatures, as far as I'm concerned. Luckily, however, many people are of another bent entirely – they find no problem in getting out and about, taking whatever weather and wildlife can throw at them, and spending time out of doors for the hell of it. This book is the first stage to that, and needs to be read in full before you step out your front door. And even if it's your only stage, it will still be pleasantly educational… Full review...

The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman and Us Now

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Dinosaurs… farm machinery… science fiction… trains… cars. I can't think of many other subjects that inspired the young me to have a full non-fiction book about them on my juvenile shelves. Most of course I lost interest in with maturity. But the young child these days won't be much different, for good or bad, and so they will like as not want a book about broom-brooms for the shelf. And this is pretty much the go-to volume for such an interest. Full review...

In Focus: Cities by Libby Walden

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The first book in this series promised 101 close-ups, cross sections and/or cutways, but here we're restricted to just ten. Why? Because the subject matters are so much bigger – one is home to 37 million people, of all things. Yes, we're talking cities, and while this book tries to follow the previous – different artist every page, an exclusive inside look within the volume, and a self-deceiving page count – we are definitely in new territory. We're seeking the trivial, the geographical and the cultural, all so that the inquisitive young student can find out the variety to be had in the world's metropolises. Full review...

Minecraft Guide to Creative: An Official Minecraft Book From Mojang by Mojang AB

3.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Minecraft isn't just about surviving Creeper attacks or crafting enough torches to stop the Skeletons from spawning near your respawn point. Alongside the survival mode there is also the Creative side. This book explores what you can do when you aren't having to make everything from scratch. Full review...

Minecraft Guide to Exploration: An official Minecraft book from Mojang by Mojang AB

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Ever wondered how on Earth to get started with this 'ere Minecraft malarkey? Look no further as this is the guide for you! Full review...

My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I never really caught the bird-watching habit, even with the opportunity of growing up on the edge of a village in the middle of nowhere. It was in the family, too, but I resigned myself to never seeing much that was spectacular, and once you've seen one blackbird you've seen them all, was my thinking. If I'd had this book as a youngster, who knows – I may have come out of it differently, having been shown the diversity of the bird world in snippets of text, and some quite unusual illustrations… Full review...