Books, Learning, Reviews

Children’s Book Reviews: 2 Amazing Books

Today’s reviews include 2 books that are ‘AMAZING’ not just because of the presence of the word in their titles but because of their content. And reading these books reminded me of other similar brilliant reads that I have reviewed earlier on my blog, including ‘Atlas of Adventures‘, ‘Stuff You Should Know About Planet Earth‘, and ‘Brilliant Ideas from Wonderful Women‘, to name a few.

Amazing Evolution

Amazing Evolution

Amazing Evolution
The Journey of Life
by Anna Claybourne
Illustrated by Wesley Robbins
Quarto Publishing Group – Ivy Kids
Children’s Nonfiction
Pub Date 09 Apr 2019

Goodreads|| Amazon|| Book Depository
Target|| Barnes and Noble 

Book Description

Evolution can be a difficult idea to wrap our brains around: it deals with random, unlikely events, combined with vast lengths of time too enormous to comprehend. But the evidence is all around us–in the fossils of long-dead creatures, and in our genes and the relationships between all living beings.

Amazing Evolution shines a light on this incredible process, from the beginnings of life around 3.8 billion years ago, to the millions of different species alive today, including the moon-walking, talking apes with super-powerful brains–human beings!

Filled with clear explanationsbeautiful illustrations and fascinating facts about the planet’s strangest and most spectacular creatures, Amazing Evolution will keep children (and adults, too!) enthralled for hours.Delve into the pages and learn what makes a fish a fish, why giraffes have such long necks and how all living things, from cabbages to tigers, are related!

My Thoughts

Darwin is, I think, one of my favorite scientists ever. Biology was a long-time beloved subject, and discovering Darwin was like icing on the biology cake!

This book is, in that context, delightful – like a beautiful edible cake topper. I learned something new on every page.

Mary Anning was one of those new discoveries for me (a coincidence, I discovered her right around her birthday – May 21st!). She was a fossil hunter in the 1800s (so a Darwin contemporary).

Anna Claybourne takes us on the amazing journey of evolution all the way from a basic definition of evolution to predictions of future evolutionary changes in today’s species (including us). Wesley Robbin’s gorgeously colorful and detailed illustrations enhance the reading (and learning) experience.

We learn:

  • how life evolved from single cells to the millions of species currently inhabiting the earth; including those weird and wonderful ones we are yet to understand – like the Brazilian treehopper
  • about those who started it all (!!) – Darwin, Wallace, and also Mary Anning (you go girl!)
  • the answer to the questions – those we always had and those we did not know we should have asked, like:
    • What makes a species a species?
    • How are we related to the cabbage? (and we are!)
    • Are we still evolving? How?
  • so much more…

One smart visual aid I loved: a colored timeline (with different colors for different eras) is first detailed in a chart and later used as a sidebar on pages with the current era highlighted (by only using that color on the timeline)

In Summary:

Using brilliantly colored and detailed illustrations, clear concise text, and smart visual and textual aids, this book takes a complex subject and presents it in a easy to understand, accessible and delightful format for its readers (young and old).

I definitely recommend this book. Buy it for yourself and/or (I know I will). An Amazing Addition to any library – home, school or your local library.

Rating: A+
Reading Level: 8 – 12 years (well, really all ages)
Reread Level: A

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Ivy Kids for the digital ARC of this book. These are my honest opinions.

Amazing Expeditions

Amazing Books: Amazing Expeditions

Amazing Expeditions
Journeys That Changed The World
by Anita Ganeri
Illustrated by Michael Mullan
Quarto Publishing Group – Ivy Kids
Children’s Nonfiction
Pub Date 09 Apr 2019

Goodreads|| Amazon|| Book Depository
Target|| Barnes and Noble 

Book Description

Discover the stories and follow the journeys of more than 20 of the world’s most heroic and extraordinary explorers, including Ibn Battuta, Zheng He, Mary Kingsley, Norgay and Hillary, Ellen MacArthur and Neil Armstrong.

Throughout history, explorers have bravely ventured out into the unknown to discover new lands, seek treasure, make scientific discoveries or simply achieve something that’s never been done before. Amazing Expeditions will take readers on a thrilling voyage over land, sea, sky and space. Some of the journeys were triumphs and others ended in failure and tragedy, but each is a riveting story and a lesson in perseverance and grit that may well inspire a new generation of adventurers. 

My Thoughts

Like its companion book – Amazing Evolution – this book takes us on an amazing exploration through the ages. Anita Ganeri and Michael Mullan team together to create a wonderful partnership of words and images to take us on this learning journey.

Amazing Expeditions has 20 gorgeously illustrated double-page spreads depicting 22 explorers. I loved and appreciated that the explorers included covers a wide range – across time (from Hanno the Navigator in 6th century BCE to Ellen MacArthur’s 2005 expedition) and space (literally too with the inclusion on Neil Armstrong!) Women are not overlooked as well and I am glad for that (else how would I have learned about Mary Kingsley).

The book starts with a brief introduction of exploration itself (hows, whys, whens, wheres, whats) and then provides an easy to understand key to reading the maps used later in the book for each explorer(s). It also touches upon the importance of maps themselves.

Each double-page spread includes a brief biography of the explorer(s), a map of their journey(s), and 8-10 short numbered paragraphs beautifully laid out like a map (with arrows taking us to the next stop) that tell us more about the expedition(s).

In Summary

Visually appealing, textually accessible, and overall simply brilliant – this book is a must-add to any library; and will definitely bring out the explorer and adventurer that is inside each and every one of us. A perfect starting guide to make the reader curious to learn more.

Rating: A+
Reading Level: 7 – 11 years (well, really all ages)
Reread Level: A

Disclaimer: Thank you to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Ivy Kids for the digital ARC of this book. These are my honest opinions.

Both books go towards It’s Monday! What are you Reading? KidLit hosted over at TeachMentorTexts. Join in and check the other links to find fascinating new reads and discover wonderful older ones too.

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2 Amazing Books

7 thoughts on “Children’s Book Reviews: 2 Amazing Books

  1. I so enjoy your reading blogs especially about children’s books. I have 7 great grandchildren from 10 years to 4 months and you always share a great variety for all ages. No better time to start them reading when they are small.

  2. I hadn’t yet heard of either of these titles, so thank you for sharing your reviews! I’m going to go look them up right now. Have a great week of reading, Vidya!

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