Our Amazing Planet by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins

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Our Amazing Planet by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: An excellent and engaging reference book that will be an asset to any one with homework assignments or simply a thirst for knowledge
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: August 2014
Publisher: Wayland
ISBN: 978-0750281218

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As reference books go, this is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Covering topics such as space, planet earth, the animal kingdom and the human body, this colourful book is a powerful tool for homework help from juniors through to early senior school, beautifully presented and easy to draw information from.

I remember many Saturday afternoons spent in the Reference Library, reading encyclopaedias and photocopying the relevant bits because you weren’t allowed to take them home. With the advent of the internet, the young uns of today don’t have this burden, but for extra reading or research I still push proper, paper books over online resources. After all on the internet you have to know what you're looking for, whereas with a book like this you can just turn the page and learn something. I would never have Googled the gestation period of a golden hamster, but I now know how long it is thanks to this book.The great thing about this one is that it is packed full of knowledge just like those old, dusty volumes… without being an old dusty volume.

Each page in this book is crammed full of information provided through illustration, fun fonts, big numbers that jump out at you. It’s a book you can flick through for information or inspiration when you just fancy learning a little something, or one you can approach in a targeted fashion, with a specific homework topic in mind. It’s really easy to understand the information because of the way it’s presented so you don’t have to interpret bland lines of text, you can see it immediately and remember it in that way. For example, there’s a great page on food webs that shows the sort of ratio of plants to herbivores to carnivores etc. in a way that you couldn’t get just from reading it.

Some of the comparisons in this book are really fun and designed to make you think but also to remember things easily. For example, it’s all very well to say that squid are fast movers, but when you see that they’re faster than an Olympic sprinter… well, that puts ‘fast’ into perspective.

The illustrations are brilliant – I especially like the start of the section on the human body where there’s a human skull that looks like something from Mexican art. They’re more block outlines rather than detailed drawings a lot of the time, and that gives the book, again, a nice accessible feel rather than one of an academic text book. Or to put it another way, it makes learning a bit more fun and laid back, and not too serious. After all, I never saw a purple ostrich in a biology text at school, but this book still taught me its height compared to a horse, an elephant and a giraffe.

This book made me smile and it taught me things, a winning combination. I loved the mix of standard facts and more obscure knowledge that gives you a little edge with assignments, and it was so easy to read I almost forgot I was learning. Top marks.

Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! 2014, according to our reviewer, gets children excited about reading, in much the same way I think this one will.

Buy Our Amazing Planet by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Our Amazing Planet by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Our Amazing Planet by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Our Amazing Planet by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins at Amazon.com.


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