I find myself regularly drawn to non-fiction books.  I love being able to just dip in and out when I feel like it and there’s something very satisfying about finding out something new – every day is a school day, and at that…  My children seem to be following in the same footsteps, particularly my son, who 9 times out of 10 will pick up a factual book over fiction.  I thus picked these 2 books with him in mind: say hello to The Big Book of The Blue, written and illustrated by Yuval Zommer, and The Clue is in The Poo (and other stuff too), written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Claire Almon.

I’ve been eyeing up The Big Book of Blue for some time now, and I’m really glad that I finally bought a copy.  It’s packed full of information about marine life and is truly brought to life by Yuval’s amazing illustrations; it has also recently been nominated for the 2019 Kate Greenaway Medal.  As the title suggests, it is big – 35 cms by 24 – and each double-page spread focuses on an array of different sea creatures from whales to seahorses, dragonets to sea snakes.  I particularly love the fact that while the interesting and quirky snippets of information are written in simple-enough language for an emerging reader to be able to manage (my son is currently on Purple level at school and is able to read lots of this), there is enough information included to satisfy and interest an older reader.  It also discusses the different ocean families and their features, marine habitats and introduces some of the issues facing our oceans, such as plastic pollution, overfishing and global warming.  As my son is a huge fan of books where he has to spot things, he was very pleased to find that a sardine-spotting game has been included throughout the book and he really enjoyed the ‘fishy phrases’ glossary at the back.  Brilliant for both reading independently and sharing, this would make a super Christmas or Birthday gift for any child interested in sea life or nature.  The publishers have aimed the book at children in the 4 – 8 age bracket, but to be honest, I can see any children of primary school age being interested by it.  And if this becomes a firm favourite, then you might like to know that this is the 3rd in Yuval’s ‘Big Book’ series: The Big Book of Bugs and The Big Book of Beasts being the other 2.  I suspect that my son will be asking me for the Bug book next…

If you have a child obsessed by poo (as my son is), or one who loves adventures, then I suspect that this will go down a storm.  The Clue is in The Poo (And Other Stuff Too) is not just a compendium of poo you’ll be pleased to hear – there is indeed plenty of Other Stuff Too.  It is effectively a fun and interesting guide about how to become a nature detective, from the kit that you need, through to tracking droppings and footprints, identifying remains, feathers and bird eggs and spotting homes and habitats.  There’s also essential information on tracking more dangerous animals such as snakes, wolves and tigers, but hopefully you won’t spot too many of those in your local woods!  While the publishers have aimed this at an older audience to The Big Book of Blue (7 – 11), primarily because there is far more text and information, it will still appeal to a younger audience; my son is 5 and even though he will need some help with reading it, he will love it and will definitely be attracted by the full-colour graphics (and especially the pictures of remains and Komodo dragons feeding on a dead deer (it’s not too gruesome, honest!)).  This is the perfect book for all the budding explorers, adventurers and nature detectives out there.  I just pity my son’s Grandpa, because he won’t get the chance to sit down for 5 minutes once my son’s opened this on Christmas morning  as he will be pestering to go on an immediate adventure with camera, binoculars and poo-collecting kit at the ready!  I might have to ‘lose’ this gift until Boxing Day…

Finally, my daughter has just asked me if I’m reviewing these 2 books together because their titles rhyme!  That wasn’t my intention, but now that she’s mentioned it…


The Big Book of The Blue
Author & Illustrator: Yuval Zommer
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
ISBN: 9780500651193
Hardback:  64 pages

The Clue is in The Poo (And Other Stuff Too)
Author: Andy Seed
Illustrator: Claire Almon
Publisher: QED Publishing
ISBN: 9781784935733
Hardback: 64 pages

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