Review Blog

Oct 24 2016

A first book of animals by Nicola Davies

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Ill. by Petr Horacek. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406359633
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Animals. Poetry. A large format, hard-covered book filled with glorious illustrations of a vast variety of animals on our planet, accompanied by poems of varying styles and length, each of which talk about their habitat will be pored over by younger readers. They will read the poems out loud or share them with friends, laughing at the antics of the animals presented, but also taking in a great deal of information.
Entitled A first book of animals, it is not what most would expect, a tome with lots of pictures and a catalogue of information in a non fiction style, with perhaps maps and a fact file. Instead we find poems of varying length and style, some blank verse, others with rhyming lines or stanzas, some almost like limericks, but all readable and accessible for younger readers. The illustrations give the pages pizzazz with most colourful and engaging pictures, covering the whole double page. Younger readers will love searching out the various things in the background of each page against which the animal is set.
I loved the pages on the zebra and the camel, and can now work out the difference between the one humped and two humped camel.
The contents pages show the book is divided into five sections: Big and small, Colours and shape, Animal homes, Animal babies and Animals in action, and each section contains about a dozen animals to consider. Younger readers will learn about using a contents page and be able to select which animal they wish to look at in detail.
Fran Knight

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