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

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

Category: Animals and Wildlife
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Forget any idea that this is a book which will keep you or your child occupied for a short time - the is an activity book to work at and treasure. It will give focus to trips outside.
Buy? Yes Borrow? No
Pages: 80 Date: January 2016
Publisher: Fine Feather Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1908489265

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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.

When I was a child, 'collectors' went in search of bird's eggs and pinned butterflies to boards - then they displayed them without shame. Fortunately those days have gone and The Nature Explorer's Handbook is firm in insisting that there are rules which must be abided by and you're encouraged to take photographs where taking the object would be unethical. Not harming the environment is a primary aim. I was pleased too to see that there's an emphasis on safety, even though the book is remarkably light on telling you what not to do.

The scrapbook is divided into three sections: Earth, Air and Water. Earth looks at seeds, grasses, flowers, skulls, rocks, minerals and fossils, leaves, patterns, colours, tracks and signs. There's a remarkable amount of information in a small space - and room (occasionally I'd have liked it to be more generous - I quickly ran out of space in the section for 'collecting patterns') for your own collections. My favourite section was the one on mammal tracks and signs. (Yes - I do know that this book is aimed at children, but I'm a beginner and I certainly didn't feel patronised at any point.)

Air covers, clouds, feathers, owl pellets, moths, butterflies and insects, outer casings of mammals which are shed as they grow, and spores. The section on owl pellets (and how to dissect them) is fascinating (although you shouldn't keep the pellets indoors as clothes-moth caterpillars often live in the pellets) and I've a pretty good idea of where there are pellets to be found.

The Chapter on Water looks at beachcombing, seaweeds, shells, tadpoles, pond dipping, predicting rain and watery weather. Previously the only sign I knew that there was likely to be rain was cows lying down, but this is apparently not the most reliable and there are quite a few more examples given. I'm off to the coast in a few weeks so the article on beachcombing will come in handy.

I've only done a small amount of work on my collection so far, but I'm conscious that it's given a focus to my trips outside which might otherwise have been lacking. I wish that I'd been introduced to something like this as a child - it's a wonderful encouragement to look at the natural world, rather than a screen and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

We've recently seen another book from Fine Feather Press - here at Bookbag Towers we had great fun with The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham. It would delight any budding bird watcher.

Booklists.jpg The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook by Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington is in the Top Ten Children's Non-Fiction Books of 2016.
Buy The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook by Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook by Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook by Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Nature Explorer's Scrapbook by Caz Buckingham and Andrea Pinnington at Amazon.com.


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