#BookReview: Caterpillar Butterfly by Vivian French & Charlotte Voake #MPbooks

A fun book teaching kids about the transformation of a caterpillar to butterfly.

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Caterpillar Butterfly book coverTitle: Caterpillar Butterfly

Author: Vivian French

Illustrator: Charlotte Voake

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book, Non-fiction, Nature

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Description: One summer, when she was small, Vivian French and her grandfather watched a family of tiny caterpillar eggs turn, stage by amazing stage, into beautiful butterflies!

My Review: This is a great book to show kids how caterpillars become butterflies but I’m afraid I just didn’t find it as good as others in the Nature Storybooks series that I’ve read. The paperback, wider than A4 in width but shorter is filled with thick glossy pages that contain both colourful illustrations and text. The book is a non-fiction which teaches all about the life cycle of a caterpillar to the stage it becomes a butterfly, but it has a story element making this easier for children to understand it.

The ‘story’, told from the point of view of the author herself, follows the little girl as she tells of the time she spent with her grandfather who grew stinging nettles in his garden because they grow butterflies. The girl’s grandfather shows her the eggs on the leaves of the nettles and after waiting a while she sees them hatched into small caterpillars which soon grow big and eventually turn into butterflies. This story is good but it somehow didn’t feel as engaging as other similar ones by the same author like ‘Growing Frogs’ and ‘Yucky Worms’. I’m not sure if it’s the story itself though or the illustrations but something about this didn’t feel as interesting as those other books.

Easy to read story text alongside the illustrations.


The illustrations are lovely and similar to some I’ve seen in other books. I don’t actually think there’s anything wrong or bad about the illustrations, they are lovely and in a style I do enjoy, however I can’t help but feel that, when compared to other books, there is a lot missing and the pictures could have had more. For example, when the butterfly is finally revealed, although we see it flying away, we never see it’s beautiful wings fully which would have made the story of the pretty butterfly all the more appealing. The illustrations, in parts, also make things like the peacock caterpillars white spots difficult to see. I only noticed any spots drawn the second time I looked at this book. It just feels like there could be more shown and perhaps this style of illustration, as lovely as it is, makes it hard to be as engaged as you could be reading this. Of course this is just my opinion.

The things that you learn about the caterpillars are interesting, like with other Nature Storybooks there are small snippets of text among the larger ones. These smaller snippets are in a font that was for me a bit difficult to read so I’m not sure if it will be easy for some children or not. The back of the book has a notes to teachers and parents section on how to use this book with kids and it supports Key Stages 1-2 of both Science and English so it’s a good book to use as a learning aid both in school and at home. The before last page also has extra pictures of different butterflies, their names underneath each one, which was a great addition as I didn’t know many species of butterflies and many kids might not either. However some of these pictures were again of the side-look of the butterfly and never the open wings which I think would have been good to see as butterflies can seem almost magical when you see some of their beautiful patterns. I think kids would engage much more if they could see these colourful wing images and it could give them a chance to spot these butterflies outside.

More illustrations in a fun but possibly difficult to see in detail style.


I do believe that this book could have been better, less text and more images perhaps or better and more colourful ones. But on the whole it is still a great book for teaching about the life cycle of caterpillars and how they turn to butterflies. Everything explained in the book is done in a simple and easy to understand way, and I found the autobiographical aspect of this book (the author writing of her own experience as the story) fun.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Do you like butterflies or learning of their lifecycle from caterpillar to butterflies?  Would you buy this book?  Let me know any thoughts you have, I love hearing from you 🙂 

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#BookReview: Walk with a Wolf by Janni Howker & Sara Fox-Davies #MPBooks

A beautifully illustrated book showing the life of this often misunderstood creature.

Walk with a Wolf book coverTitle: Walk with a Wolf

Author: Janni Howker

Illustrator: Sarah Fox-Davies

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book, Non-fiction, Nature

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Description: Come on a journey you will never forget – to the far wild north where a she-wolf roams with her pack…

My Review: This is a beautiful book with some truly stunning illustrations. The book is shorter than A4 in height but wider and is filled with thick glossy pages of some beautiful and colourful illustrations and text. The story is all about the life of a wolf, the various things wolves do to and is told in a wonderful way. Although the book is part of the Nature Storybooks collection it is a non-fiction book with a story element that makes it easy to tell children the various things about wolf life.

The book begins by asking us to ‘walk with a wolf’ and briefly describes her habitat and what she looks like before giving us more insight into the life she lives. It explains many things that wolves do such as why they howl, how they hunt, how they rest and sleep. Each page is filled with illustrations and text which is simple to understand but something about this particular book is different to others I’ve read and there’s a beautiful way certain lines are written, starting off new sections with phrases like ‘run with a wolf, charge with a wolf’ and ‘rest with a wolf’. It really engages you and makes want to read on.

Some lovely images around easy to read text.

The illustrations are some of the most realistic and beautiful I’ve seen! The way the wolves coats look is especially amazing with individual hairs and even eyelashes in some close up images being visible. The pictures not only show well what is happening in the story but it’s also mesmerising and magical to just look at some of these and I think many children, especially those with an interest in animals, will really love looking back at this again and again for the pictures alone.

The very fist page of the book, before the actual ‘story’ begins, has a short description of how wolves used to roam in many countries but are now only found in a few, as well as telling us the setting for this particular tale. The back page has a notes for teachers and notes for parents sections with information on how to use the book. The book actually supports Key Stages 1-2 in Science and English making this a great read for both at home and in the classroom.

Stunning illustrations show the wolf in detail.

There’s something just so beautiful and magical about this book and given the fact that so many people see wolves as only dangerous creatures to be feared I think many kids would benefit from reading this as it really does make you feel respect for these animals, and you may even grow to love them, especially with such beautiful illustrations.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Do you like wolves?  What do you think of this book, or its illustrations?  Let me know any thoughts you have, I’d love the hear from you 🙂

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#BookReview: Growing Frogs by Vivian French & Alison Bartlett #MPBooks

A fun book to interest kids and get them involved in nature.

Growing Frogs book coverTitle: Growing Frogs

Author: Vivian French

Illustration: Alison Bartlett

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book, non-fiction, nature

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Description: What happens when you take an empty fish tank, add some pond water and pondweed, scoop in a little frogspawn…and wait?

My Review:  I remember the fun and excitement of growing frogs in the classroom of my primary school which had its own pond so when I read this book I couldn’t help but enjoy it and can really see kids being fascinated by these creatures! ‘Growing Frogs’ is an excellent introduction into the way frogs grow from their spawn to adulthood and is beautifully illustrated. The book is shorter than an A4 piece of paper in height but wider and has lots of thick and glossy pages filled with colour.

There is a story told in this book from the point of view of the little girl who at first is a bit wary of frogs but soon grows to love them as she watches some frogspawn grow up. Although there is a fictional element to this book, it’s really a non-fiction paperback and does explain to kids all about the way that frogs grow from egg to tadpole to adult but in a fun way. At first the girl thinks that the frog spawn is disgusting, but as her mother carefully takes some to keep in a fish tank at home (along with all the necessary pond weed, stones and of course water) the girl then watches the eggs mature and eventually become very small frogs, and during this process she grows to love them. The way the growing process is explained is simple and easy to understand. Having seen this myself when I was young I can understand the girl’s interest and fascination. There are pictures and descriptions of just how the eggs, then tadpoles, look as they are growing and it makes you want to see this for yourself. One thing I really enjoy about the way the story is told though is the fact that it does also explain to kids how to be careful and respectful with frogs at all stages of their lives.

Lots of colourful and bright illustrations.

The pictures are so colourful and quite simple, they look almost like a child’s drawing but I really love the way everything looks. Something about the colourful child-like drawings makes you really interested in looking at the book. I love the way the tadpoles and frogs look too, they look cute which can help kids who might feel wary of them to feel more for these creature and not be as worried.

I like the way this book ends and the overall ‘story’ told. The book is informative but at the same time can really inspire kids to want to learn about frogs which is a good thing. Just after the main story there are added notes about caring for frogs such as telling kids not to take frog spawn from wild ponds, and to return any frogs if you did take some eggs to hatch at home. I like this as again this book is teaching children, and maybe adults too, how to be respectful and careful when handling the eggs and frogs. There is a notes to teachers and parents at the very back of the book which explains how this book can be used with kids and the book does support Key Stage 1-2 of both English and Science making this a great book for learning both at school and at home. I also love the ‘about the author/illustrator’ section at the front of the book, especially how the illustrator’s mind has been changed about frogspawn. It’s just an added extra that makes this book all the better and more appealing for me.

The fun illustrations make the book so appealing!

Having experience the excitement and wonder of growing frogs I would really recommend this book for kids. Not only for children who like animals and creatures but also to those that perhaps don’t think much of or might even be a little scared of frogs, as it might just change their minds and inspire a future naturalist.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy


What do you think of this book?  Do you like frogs?  Did you watch frogspawn grow when you were younger?  Would you like to if you haven’t?  Let me know any thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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#BookReview: The Emperor’s Egg by Martin Jenkins & Jane Chapman #MPBooks

A fun and education look at the struggles of this penguin father!

The Emperor's Egg book coverTitle: The Emperor’s Egg

Author: Martin Jenkins

Illustrator: Jane Chapman

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture book, nature, non-fiction

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Description: Can you imagine being a male emperor penguin and standing around in the freezing cold with an egg on your feet for two months?  Welcome to the story of the world’s most devoted dad!

My Review: I’ve really enjoyed reading this book. ‘The Emperor’s Egg’ is a fun picture book, wider than A4 in size but shorter, it’s filled with thick glossy pages of very colourful illustrations and text. The book has a very fun feel to it while also being educational and gives kids a great introduction to these lovely birds.

The first page of the book gives a brief description of a penguin’s life, before the start of the actual story of the book. Although this book is part of the Nature Storybooks collection it’s a non-fiction book. It has a story about the emperor penguin but this is told with facts and is sort of like a documentary you’d see on television. I really love the way the ‘story’ unfolds in this book and the way the author writes it. It starts by explaining about Antarctica, how cold and remote the place is before showing us the only creature that lives some of the time so far south in the Antarctic, the emperor penguin. It then goes on to show the male emperor looking after his egg and the tough life he has to go through looking after the egg and the later hatched chick until the female comes to care for it.

Some great colours used in the illustrations.


The story is quite simple but what I really love about this particular author is how they’ve managed to make the reader feel so engaged. Rather than just stating facts about these creatures the author asks us questions, to imagine how it would be or how miserable we’d feel if we couldn’t eat for two whole months. There’s something about this style and the overall writing which I really enjoy as it helps kids to understand it more and I also really like this style as it’s very funny at times, especially when the mother finally returns.

The illustrations are wonderful. Each page is filled with colour and I love the purple blue background of Antarctica. The pictures of the penguins look realistic, you can even see the individual feathers in some illustrations and I just love the way the penguins look. The pictures really do make the book more appealing to read and I can’t help but look at this again and again just to see the pictures.

Some great and realistic illustrations of these penguins!

This book has a great introduction to the story of what happens with emperor penguins and the laying and hatching of their chicks. Although quite basic it’s a great book for kids especially those who don’t know much about penguins as it makes you like these animals more. The back of the book has a page with notes to teachers and parents about using the book with kids and it supports Key Stages 1-2 of Science and English too so is both a great learning resource to use at home and at school.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to get their kids interested in animals of for those who have kids that are already interested in animals. This particular book has such a fun feel to it and even though it doesn’t go into details of raising the chick to adulthood, it is more than enough of an introduction to this amazing bird.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


Would you love to read about the emperor penguin?  What do you think of this book?  Do you like penguins?  Please let me know any thoughts I love hearing from you 🙂 

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#BookReview: Nature Storybooks Every Wonderful Word is True Collection #MPBooks

A wonderful box set of books for nature and animal lovers or those wanting to inspire such traits.

Nature StorybooksTitle: Nature Storybooks: Every Wonderful Word is True

Authors: Various

Illustrators: Various

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Children’s picture books, non-fiction, nature

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Description: From the tiniest little turtle to the majestic mother tigress, these ten beautifully illustrated information books are an ideal introduction to animals of all shapes and sizes.

My Review: This is a brilliant box set collection of some wonderful children’s books. Nature Storybooks is a series of picture books, each a non-fiction that talks about a different animal/creature and teaches kids some interesting facts as well as hopefully making kids more aware of each animal. This particular collection has a total of 10 of these books, all housed in a nice and sturdy box. The outer box which is made from a very sturdy cardboard houses all ten books and can stand on its own upright. The books are easy to pull out and put back in.

The box is very sturdy and appealing to look at 🙂

 

The ten books you get talk about a variety of different animals from tigers and polar bears to frogs and worms. I’ll go into more details about the individual books below but first I’d like to state that every picture book is shorter than an A4 sized piece of paper although wider, almost square in shape. They are all filled with lovely thick and glossy pages which have lots of colourful illustrations and some text. The books are all non-fiction but are called Storybooks as there’s a story element to all of them, such as following an animal as it grows up, in the same way television documentaries have stories of the animals they show. Each story is interesting and many of the things kids learn will really engage them to be interested in the natural world. Some of the picture books might even inspire a new found respect or love for a creature where previously there was none.

The back shows all the books in the collection. The spines can be easily read.


Personally I feel some books are better than others but the majority of them are brilliant. Not only are the facts kids learn about each animal interesting and easy to understand but they are accompanied with some brilliant illustrations. Some of the illustrations are so amazing that they look almost like photographs of the animals, while other books have a more fun feel with even some humorous bits (Yucky Worms is a book that’s especially funny). I’ve enjoyed reading each book and although I have personal preferences, such as Yucky Worms, Big Blue Whale and One Tiny Turtle, and a book or two I feel weren’t as good like Tigress and Caterpillar Butterfly, each book is still one I’d recommend and my review for this collection shows my overall feel for all these books.

The collection out of its box holder.

I’ve written reviews for each book and will be posting reviews about these throughout the month (links below to reviews already posted) but below is a quick snippet of what each book in the collection is about:

The Emperor’s Egg: About the incubating, hatching and raising of an emperor penguin’s egg/chick until the female returns. It has some beautiful illustrations and a fun way of telling the facts and story.
Growing Frogs: Very fun and colourful illustrations accompany a story of growing frogs at home. Will make kids interested in frog life while learning to respect them.
Walk with a Wolf: Some beautiful writing and some of the most realistic and best illustrations I’ve ever seen. Learn about things a wolf does and builds respect for these creatures which are often feared.
Big Blue Whale: Learn some interesting things about the life of a blue whale. Makes you feel for these creatures and want to protect them.
Yucky Worms: Funny and fun book which shows kids how to respect worms and how good they are for your garden and how tough their lives are. Even learn about the biology of a worm and dispels some worm myths. All kids should read!
One Tiny Turtle: Beautiful illustrations about this loggerhead turtle’s life from very young up to when it grows up and returns to the beach to lay her own eggs. Makes you aware of these animals and it really is a book you’d want to look at over and over.
Ice Bear: Some really stunning illustrations and told from the point of view of an Inuit it teaches you about the polar bear, some facts and about a mother raising its cubs.
Tigress: Again beautiful illustrations as we follow a tigress raising her cubs. Shows you some of the life of tigers but the language is a little more poetic than in some books.
Surprising Sharks: Fun facts about various sharks, it’s a great way to stop kids being afraid of them and want to know more. Fun illustrations and lots of different unheard of (to me) sharks mentioned.
Caterpillar Butterfly: Learn about how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. Lots of great facts but not the easiest of illustrations and font of some text to see. But overall still a good book.

Below are a couple of photos showing you an example of some of the books in this collection.

A page from the book ‘Yucky Worms’.
A page from the book ‘Tigress’

-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


What are your thoughts on this nature story book collection?  Would you have enjoyed these sort of books as a child?  Would you buy them for someone you know?  Let me know any thoughts I love hearing from you 🙂 

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#BookReview: My Favourite Animal: Dolphins by Victoria Marcos #MPBooks

A fun and informative book for kids all about this lovely marine animal.

My Favourite Animal DolphinsTitle: My Favourite Animal: Dolphins

Author: Victoria Marcos

Publisher: Xist Publishing

Genre: Children’s, Non-fiction, Nature/Animals

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Description: Learn all about dolphins in this fun and informational text. Like all books in the My Favorite Animal Series, Dolphins offers engaging facts and checks the reader’s knowledge and comprehension throughout the book.

My Review: This is a lovely book all about dolphins and is a great book for introducing these beautiful marine mammals to children. I’ve viewed a digital copy so I can’t comment on the size or the quality of the print book itself but it’s aimed at young children and filled with colourful pages.

Every page of the book is filled with colour, there are large photographs across one or two pages with text on the side or within each picture. The parts of text take on a dolphin/marine theme being grey, pale green or pale blue under the text rather than white. The start of the book has a beautiful photograph of dolphins along with the contents and the rest of the book is made up of simple facts explained alongside detailed dolphin images. The facts are easy to understand and written in a way that young children will easily grasp. Despite the seemingly simple facts there are interesting things even I didn’t know such as what the world’s smallest dolphin is and how fast dolphins can swim and dive. The book is a short one to read but along the way there are question pages that have another lovely photo of a dolphin along with a question. These questions are simple reminders to see if kids remember what they’ve read on the previous pages and are simple questions which kids should be able to answer. There is an unfortunate error on the digital copy I received via NetGalley (whether this is in the final version available to buy I don’t know) it’s on the first question which should be ‘What do dolphins breathe through?’ but my copy is missing the word ‘through’ which makes the answer on the back page seem wrong. As I said it may be a small error on my copy alone but worth checking before giving this book to kids (pointing out the missing word if it is indeed on the final version of this book).

The photographs are what really make this book special. The facts alone are interesting but it’s the photographs that appear on each page which really make this book worth getting. The photos are of the same quality as on the front cover. Every photograph features a dolphin, not all bottlenose, and many of the photos feature close-ups or some interesting positions such as one photograph, which really made me smile, features a dolphin close to the camera, near a turtle, its mouth so close you can’t help but think the dolphin is smiling and saying hi to the turtle.

The back of the book features a short glossary of terms and the answers to the questions. This is a simple and yet really lovely book to give to kids as an introduction to dolphins. I know I loved looking at photographs of dolphins as a child and just looking at such beautiful images can really inspire kids to want to know more. The facts in this book are a great introduction too, especially when read alongside looking at the pictures. The only thing I would have liked as an added extra would have been a note on the photo (or in the back of the book) of which dolphins feature in the photographs as well as a possible picture of an orca after it is mentioned in this book. However overall I think this is a lovely book and I’ll be looking into more of the ‘My Favourite Animal’ series of books.
-Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy.

No pictures were available for this review as this was a digital copy of the book.


Do you like dolphins?  Would this be a book you’d like to have read as a child?  Please let me know any of your thoughts I’d love to hear from you 🙂  You can also find me in these places: 

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