For The Under 5s Babies in the Bayou – Jim Arnosky There are lots of babies in the bayou, some have sharp teeth, hard shells or quick claws, but their mothers watch over them all and protect them from harm. A rich introduction to a habitat we have never read about before. Text is easy to follow, illustrations colourful. Recommend. In the Pond – Anna Milbourne The storyline follows a tadpole as it grows into a frog, encountering other pond life along the way; a fish, ducklings and dragonflies. Text is simple but plenty of information for little ones. Lovely, bright pictures. Recommended. In the Nest – Anna Milbourne The book captures the first days and weeks of a nest of baby birds. The parents build a nest, lay eggs, eat seeds and bugs and the babies grow feathers, learn to fly, feed themselves and gain independence Informative with bright illustrations. Recommended Under the Ground – Anna Milbourne Slightly different to Milbourne’s other titles above, this is a beginner reader and contained a bit more information. We journey to the centre of the earth and discover what is beneath our feet, plants and animals, underground trains, fossils, caves and gold mines. Recommend. Baby Bat’s Lullaby – Jacquelyn Mitchards Mama bat and her baby wake up at dusk and take a flight into the sky, soaring and exploring togther until bedtime at dawn. Text is rhyming and illustrations soft. Recommend. Help Me by Paul Geraghty A herd of elephants are on the move in the night. An impala watches a tortoise stumble towards the water, hatchling turtles slip into the pool while crocodiles sleep. A tortoise slips and a suspenseful chain of events begin. Highly recommended. Hush, Hush by Margaret Wild Baby Hippo couldn’t sleep, he was too awake and full of energy, so he took a walk instead. Along the way he meet all kinds of baby animals being called by their mothers to sleep, he then wanted his mum and to go to sleep. A really sweet book, just perfect to snuggle with the children, text has a musical rhythm, gorgeous illustrations. Highly recommended for little ones. Little Humpty – Margaret Wild “In the hot, hot desert where the wind whirled and the sand swirled, lived Big Humpty and Little Humpty” Big Humpty is concerned that Little Humpty needs playmates of his own and so they travel to the Great Waterhole. Along the way Little Humpty tries to guess what they will find there. Text is caring, pictures are delightful. Highly recommended. For 5-10s A Butterfly is Patient – Diana Hutts Ashton Charlotte’s alert had me checking our library and we were thrilled with this book. Lots of informative information about butterflies accompanied by gorgeous illustrations!! The children were so inspired they went outside butterfly hunting immediately, using the internet for identification, as sadly as the book is American it didn’t help us identify our butterflies. Still it inspired an awareness and interest. Highly recommended. An Egg is Quiet- Diana Hutts Ashton Again plenty of information with incredible illustrations, the colour spreads are vividly eye catching. This book inspired plenty of interest although it didn’t capture the children’s interest as intensely as the butterfly title, perhaps it was the subject matter? Nevertheless highly recommended. Dolphin Baby – Nicola Davies We learnt much from this book, about dolphin behaviour, anatomy and ecology, from birth through to a few years old. The children were able to recall in great detail all they learnt about dolphins. A newly discovered author for us, factual information accompanied by soft illustrations. Highly recommended. Bat Loves the Night – Nicola Davies This book is based on pipistrelle bats (American bats). We learnt about the bat’s roosting preferences, its navigational skills and how it hunts. Highly informative and again lovely illustrations. Highly Recommended. Just Ducks! – Nicola Davies All about mallard ducks, again informative accompanied by soft watercolour illustrations. Plenty of information about how ducks behave, where they nest and sleep, what they look like and why they keep their feathers oiled. Didn’t capture the children’s interest as much as her other books, simply because the subject matter wasn’t unfamiliar to them. Recommended. White Owl, Barn Owl – Nicola Davies The white owl is a rare American bird. Once again the author weaves plenty of factual information into her lyrical text. The birds live in the open woodlands and grasslands, their habitats have been threatened by the lose of nesting places and diminished food supplies. The grandfather builds a nesting box and the owl eventually accepts the box. Highly recommended. Non-Fiction Every Planet Has a Place – Becky Baines Becky Baines is another newly discovered author for us. The text in these books are basic, with extra text for the older child, yet packed with information. Possibly suit more the under 8 child. The planet book was our favourite, highly informative and easy to digest, colourful photographs. Highly recommended. What did One Elephant say to the Other – Becky Baines Obviously about elephants, how they communicate, their habitats and more. Again easy to understand text with clear photographs that enhance the text. Highly recommended. Den is a Bed for a Bear- Becky Baines Plenty of information about bear dens, how, when and why they are used. Again clear text with colourful photographs. Recommended. Exploring the Deep Dark Sea – Gail Gibbons This book was an extremely detailed tour beneath the ocean’s surface. We journeyed through each zone of the ocean, observing what lived in each section until we reached the ocean floor where it is completely dark. We also looked at the history and science of diving. So many interesting facts with colourful illustrations. My boys in particular were fascinated. Aimed at the 8-10 year old. Highly recommended. Conception to Birth Angel in the Waters – Regina Doman A tiny baby grows in its mother’s womb, exploring the waters and talking to the angel who is there. Lovely, gentle illustrations perfect for very young children to see the journey of conception through to birth. Being Born – Shelia Kitzinger We bought this book over a decade ago when expecting our third child, I had long been a fan of any of Kitzinger’s birth books. The microphotography in this book is astounding! Via the incredible microphotography we see sperm entering the ovum and follow the growth of the baby throughout the nine months to birth. The tiny white silhouettes are the actual size of the baby at 30 and 37 days!! imposed upon the enlarged photographs of the baby. The colours are vivid against the background of glossy black paper. Text is written in second person, concentrating on how the child felt, what he did and how his mother felt about him. The descriptions are powerful, gentle and yet very informative. This is a very ‘real’ book with photos of the birth, though it shows no blood or pain, but a newborn with a squinced up face, who has a little suckle before falling asleep. There are a couple of parts of this book I don’t share with our children. Whilst I choose not to read the short passage on how fertilisation happens (I’d prefer to discuss this individually, at appropriate ages) it is explained simply and nicely. And I don’t always share one of the birth photos with my children (dependent on the individual). This really is an incredible book, a fantastic explanation of conception, development and birth with stunning photography! Where do Babies Come From? – Angela Royston A simple introduction to the natural cycle of life; a seedling, a duckling, a kitten and a baby. The focus is on how the baby, duck etc grow inside the mother and emerge. “An egg joins with a sperm inside the mother to make a tiny kitten” simple and discreet. Readers are simply told that human babies are “pushed through a special passage between the mother’s legs.” Pictures are always discreet and attractive. Perfect introduction for when a young child asks questions with just the right amount of information.