Book Bites: Discovering Science

Science. It really is the essence of life, or at least that’s what my Chemistry teacher always led me to believe. And I do, believe in science that is. I think because it is so darn interesting. If you are looking for meaningful, entertaining and interesting Christmas gift ideas that educate at the same time, look no further than some of these radically wonderful, non-fiction, science-y titles.

I See, I See
This little gem is simple and playful in presentation, a lot like Herve Tullet’s, Press Here and Let’s Play series of board books. But don’t be fooled by its economic word play and solid blocks of singular colours and patterns for this artful conception not only enthrals individual readers, it is specifically designed to entertain two or more readers…at the same time. Right side up and upside down text teams with ambiguous or reversible images, which invite page turns and plenty of oohs and aahs. One reader might see up, and the other see down for instance. You don’t need to understand the science of multistable perception behind this ingeniously designed interactive picture book by debut author, Robert Henderson. Ability to turn a page and interpret a picture are the only qualifications needed to enjoy I See, I See. Highly recommended.

Title: I See, I See
Author: Robert Henderson
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $19.99
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760524746
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Allen & Unwin, Boomerang Books

Argh! There’s A Skelton Inside You
Ever wondered how your hands withstand all that high- fiving? Well this quirky, post-modern, germ-laden picture book by the creators of, Do Not Lick This Book, provides all the answers and more with the help of microbes, Quog and Oort. These two are on their way to their mate, Kevin’s birthday party. All is well until their space craft breaks down. Readers are invited to help Quog and Oort who, being handless, need well, they need a hand. It doesn’t take much to convince Quog to grow a pair of her own hands but as young readers are about to find out, hands are so much more than hubs of nose-picking fingers. This focused explanation of the anatomy of hands transforms the arrangement of tendons, muscles, skin and bones into a fascinating and rib tickling story that sheds a beautiful new comic light on the concept of science without any ooey gooey bits. Bright and appealing. Bravo!

Title: Argh! There’s A Skelton Inside You
Author: Idan Ben-Barak
Illustrator: Julian Frost
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Children’s, $19.99
Publication Date: August 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760631635
For ages: 4 – 6
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Allen & Unwin, Boomerang Books

Australian Backyard Earth Scientist
I swoon over great reference books, the ones that divulge galaxies of information in easy to digest mouthfuls with oodles of captivating pictures and photos to support interesting facts. Australian Backyard Earth Scientist does just that providing answers for nearly every curious question a young budding scientist might have like; what is lightening anyway? Compiled by Sydney-based science and history writer, Peter Macinnis, this publication covers chapters on planet Earth, rocks, weather, the oceans, climate change and more. There are excellent lists to reference including a collection of easy to execute backyard projects, like making your own fossils (new projects are included in every chapter). This is a stunning book to browse through and get bogged down in. Youngsters will find plenty to mull over and put into practise which makes it a gift with infinite lasting appeal.

Title: Australian Backyard Earth Scientist
Author: Peter Macinnis
Illustrator: Tony Flowers
Publisher: NLA, $29.99
Publication Date: February 2019
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780642279347
For ages: 8+
Type: Non Fiction

Buy the Book: Boomerang Books, NLA

The Book of Stone
The Book of Stone has a restrained timeless quality about it. Gliding your hand over the engraved title on the fossil imbued cover feels as though you are entering the age of the Rosetta Stone from ancient Egypt. Brightly coloured geos, gems, fossils and crystals greet you before you even before you begin the story of stone. Each page turn feels like an adventurous step through time, creation, history and natural wonder as Mark Greenwood escorts  readers through  the creation of our planet, one stone at a time – explaining through poetic prose how each stone holds a story, a past, a purpose and a certain kind of magic. In this graceful way youngsters receive geographical enlightenment learning how stones are formed or in some cases, arrive from outer space.

Along with their genesis, we are shown how stones have contributed to the evolution of mankind, how they are the keys to unlocking the mysteries of prehistoric times and how they influence our physical and spiritual wellbeing. We use stone figuratively, practically to build and repair, to move forward, to enhance strength. This marvellous picture book demonstrates the quiet grandeur of stone and its significance in the natural world. And each stone and word is astoundingly illustrated by Tulloch in earthy tactile tones that enhance meaning. I’ve never encountered such a sublimely subtle science lesson that can be enjoyed individually or read aloud. Beautiful.

Title: The Book Of Stone
Author: Mark Greenwood
Illustrator: Coral Tulloch
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, $ 27.99
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781760650872
For ages: 5+
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books, Boomerang Books

Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures
If you harbour a serious animal-loving natural historian in your home, then look no further for the perfect Christmas gift for them. Fauna by the uber talented, Tania McCartney, is bristling, swimming and crawling with colour and fact. This is a nonfiction picture book with a difference for it focuses 100% on our fantastic ‘megadiverse’ array of Aussie animal (and bird and insect) species. McCartney’s stylised illustrations decorate each page spread, breaking up interesting ‘chunks’ of text and providing excellent visual perspective on size and anatomy. Multiple injections of humor ensure that information is retained and thought about. This is so much more than a collection of fun facts. Fauna is a magnificent informative distillation of some of our most intriguing and precious marsupials, mammals, birds and reptiles.

There is SO MUCH information here, all descriptive and utterly captivating and none of it too overwhelming for the junior zoologist to assimilate. Each revelation, each page turn into a new animal’s habitat, some shown in bright splashy colours, others more subdued, encourages a desire to discover more. I love it! Attention to detail is supreme as are the brilliant glossary and index listings at the back of the book. The fully illustrated Animal Kingdom Tree nomenclature is a stroke of brilliance. There is so much to admire and pour over in this book which not only informs children of the natural world around them but also improves their understanding of it on a real critical level and spurs a curiosity to learn more (although the information provided is more than adequate and complete for youngsters). Fauna is true a work of art married with instruction that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Title: Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures
Author: Tania McCartney
Illustrator: Tania McCartney
Publisher: NLA, $24.99
Publication Date: November 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780642279545
For ages: 5+
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: NLA

When We Walked on the Moon
No scientific roundup would be complete without a bit of intergalactic space travel. When We Walked on the Moon will have young astronomers ready to jump into their spacesuits and blast off into outer space before you can say Neil Armstrong. This exuberantly illustrated picture book chapterises the Great Space Race, where mankind’s desire to reach and walk on the moon became one of the greatest adventures of our time. It documents the development of Saturn V which was designed to not only escape Earth’s gravity but also fly faster and further than any other existing rocket. This led to the lift off to the Apollo missions, commencing with Apollo 11 on 16 July 1969.

It’s incredible to think that man walked in space and on the moon for the first time just 50 years ago. It’s even more incredible to think that this was repeated 12 more times before the final mission to the moon by Apollo 17 in 1972. There’s a lot of text to wade through in this book so it would suit slightly older avid space junkies but it is easy and fascinating reading that uncloses dozens of interesting background facts and figures about these space missions, what they achieved and their influence on our future space expeditions. Timelines and a biographical glossary of every astronaut mentioned are also included. This is a must for anyone who has ever star gazed and mused over the moon.

Title: When We Walked On The Moon
Author: David Long
Illustrator: Sam Kalda
Publisher: Quarto Group UK, $22.99
Publication Date: June 2019
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781786030917
For ages: 7+
Type: Non Fiction Picture Book

Buy the Book: Booktopia, Boomerang Books       


Norah Colvin said…
Thank you, Dimity. That's such a great selection of books. :)
DimbutNice said…
:-D some of my favourites. ;-)
Peter Macinnis said…
"...this is a revamped edition of the 2017 publication..." No it isn't!

Peter Macinnis
DimbutNice said…
Hi there Peter. Thanks for popping by and for the correction. Please note that all reviews are based on copies and information received from the publisher. Apologies for any misrepresentation or misunderstanding, it was certainly not my intention. Whatever the case, this was an enjoyable and insightful read! Dimity
Peter Macinnis said…
No probs. These things happen, but could you correct it, please. It came out once and once only in 2019.
DimbutNice said…
Of course, sorry! Done. :-) Our world has been changing so rapidly in recent times, hence these unintentional moments of neglect. :-)
DimbutNice said…
Of course, sorry! Done. :-) Our world has been changing so rapidly in recent times, hence these unintentional moments of neglect. :-)
Peter Macinnis said…
Yeah, we keep smiling and doing Good Things. Thanks, over and out.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: My Shadow Is Pink

Christmas Countdown Day 3 - The Grandest Bookshop in the World

Review: The Goldfish Boy