Saturday 23 April 2011

Children's Book review : What's Biology All About? - Usborne Books

Last month, in honour of science week, the lovely Amy at Usborne Books gave us the chance to review not one but two lovely science-themed children's books. The first, for slightly older readers, was What's Biology All About? and, as you can see, 9-year-old Sophie was in her element.

The book deals with some quite complex notions but relies on short simple texts and a multitude of colourful illustrations to get the message across in an easily-understood way. The book is divided into broad chapters dealing with the huge questions What's Life ?, How do human bodies work ?, How do plants work ?, Where did life come from ? and Life on Earth. Within each chapter, there are numerous short paragraphs, fact boxes, glossaries of important or complicated vocabulary and diagrams.

 It can seem a bit complicated to have such a mass of information scattered in random places all over the pages but Sophie took to it like a duck to water and it actually reminded me of the way you "read" internet pages, scanning through sidebars, looking at pictures and text boxes and clicking through to different areas rather than reading left-to-right top-to-bottom.

I asked Sophie what she'd learned, as this is always the ultimate test to see if kids have actually understood what they've been reading. Sophie managed to accurately fill me in on a whole host of scientific facts about human, plant and animal life, as well as scientific discoveries and historical facts. I was amazed at how much information she'd absorbed in such a short space of time and, above all, with a huge smile on her face.

The suggested age is 11+ but Sophie is a curious 9-year-old and got on just fine. Reluctant readers will love the illustration-heavy format, as well as the simple hands-on experiments suggested to really bring the words on the page to life.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

Key Stage: KS3/4 S; Age 11+
ISBN: 9780746089422
96 pages
230 x 165mm
Author/Editor: Hazel Maskell
Illustrator: Adam Larkum

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds perfect for my science bonkers 11 yr old - Fab review (as always) xx


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