A clever series to entice young naturalists into opening books. This is an emerging set from the Natural History Museum which combine information books with a making activity. Kiki Ljung’s illustrations are bold and colourful with plenty to catch the eye. The front cover itself is enticing; due to the 3D model the book is a board book throughout which makes it feel really ‘hearty’ to hold. The size and curved corners are also a little bit unusual – both books certainly make their mark in terms of wanting to be picked up.
Information contained inside is just enough either for younger readers but also for any age particularly if too much information in layout is overwhelming. It isn’t here and so these two popular creatures could be a sure fire way of collecting decent information books for any age which don’t feel – for an older struggling reader – as if it’s too babyish. The ‘welcome’ for the young palaeontologist or young naturalist is a nice personal touch to draw the reader in.
Both books start with a brief overview either with a Dinosaur timeline or with the life Cycle of a Butterfly. This is then followed by instructions as to how to make the 3D dinosaur or painted lady butterfly. This pattern continues with an information page and making page. The information is clearly laid out onto a whole picture page which is really effective. The facts are little pertinent snippets which broaden children’s understanding of living things. We find out, for example, that butterflies ‘roost’ when it gets dark or rains. In the Dinosaur book there are some refreshingly less known facts (well lesser known, maybe, to non-dinosaur experts like me) such as a T Rex possibly not being able to roar and that it was more likely it hissed like a snake or was silent! This maybe changes things for the Jurassic Park franchise?
Having made the creature you would still then have a book left or I think you could stand the creature up in front of the pages as there are lovely habitat backgrounds in the illustrations. So possibly for the very keen naturalist there would be a collection brewing of these books. They would definitely appeal to a wide ranging age group as they just seem to have the right balance of illustration, fact and making too.