Echo Weblog

a blog about my daily life, passions and happenings

Archive for the category “Children's books”

Nature School…for nature lovers!

Your very own nature adventures in a book! Mick Manning and Brita Granström show you how easy it is to become a nature explorer! Nature School takes you on an exciting adventure to discover the secrets of nature, learn how to find and preserve wildlife and make you feel closer to the world around you.

Review: An excellent introduction to nature for young children.

In this book Mick Manning and Brita Granström invite children to become nature explorers, and find out about the natural world by undertaking some simple but interesting activities. The authors/illustrators use lively and colourful illustrations to complement the text, the tone of which is very readable and child friendly. The information is accessible and the practical suggestions are well within the range of most children under adult supervision. Additional ‘nature tips’ mean that the book packs in a lot of information in a very easily digested format. Ideas for practical activities and exciting projects include making a bird box, making a pond in a jar, creating a mini beast motel, and keeping a nature journal. Readers of this book will certainly be better informed by the end of it, and the activities – if undertaken – will help children to develop a closer relationship with nature.

This is a valuable teaching and learning resource for teachers, as well as a fun read for children that encourages them to try some of the exciting projects detailed within.


Look at the picture….

On Friday 19th February I attended the second meeting of  Write Away at Walker Books London (click here to read more about it).  The topic covered was “reviewing picture books” .  As a reviewer- guest I sat, listen and absorb everything and I realised that is always tricky to review picture books and understand the love-hate relationship between text and artwork.  The morning was a mix of presentations from illustrators (which their books are familiar to me because we have read them with my son!) , designers and reviewers and a reviewing workshop session based on new books from the Walker list.

I particularly enjoyed Deirdre McDermott, picture book publisher at Walker Books who welcome us all and commented that text and image telling stories at the same time and image is the language of imagination.  As a publisher she said our aim is to make books for children to enjoy!

I also enjoyed listening to Antony Browne, illustrator of books for children, he took us on a tour on some of his books including the Hansel and Gretel, the Gorilla and Changes and he talked about all the visual elements (style, colour, line, shapes, mood, font etc) and how important they are in connection to the story and how artform brings unity with the story. He urged that we should concentrate on the picture not only on the plot we should develop or see more what’s going on the picture.

Bruce Ingham author of the Pencil, talked about how he was inspired to write this book and highlight some of his experiences working with authors, publishers, graphic designers.  He shared some of his thoughts  his little drawing book with sketches and illustrations with the audience. He said a picture send signal for us (the audience) to look at and should open it up!

Next we heard from Nicoletta Jones Sunday Times reviewer who pointed out that reviewers should  find details and focus more on visual observations and make connections beyond the obvious.  Nicolleta’s lifting, warm voice had us all entranced throughout her talk. I especially loved her phrase about ‘If only I had a thousand of words’.

All speakers were inspirational and truly wonderful and we heard some of the reviewers opinions about writing negative reviews  how to approach  them or what does it mean some books are difficult to review. Shame though that the schedule was tight and wasn’t enough time to chat to people and share ideas.

Unfortunately, I had to leave promptly at noon, I was not able to stay and join the guided tour of the pre-Raphaelite collection in the Tate Britain .

But I promised to myself that I will keep writing, reviewing and evaluating picture books by using my instinct if not only my knowledge – after all I am still learning….

Perfect books about starting school!

Take a look at the list below and you’ll find books which  Alex has borrowed, read and loved before the start of the school year.


Harry and the Dinosaurs Go To School (Picture Book) Harry and the Dinosaurs Go…
Ian Whybrow
I Am Too Absolutely Small for School (Charlie and Lola) I Am Too Absolutely Small…
Lauren Child
Little Rabbit Goes to School (Picture Puffin) Little Rabbit Goes to…
Harry Horse
Silly School Silly School
Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? How Do Dinosaurs Go To School?
Jane Yolen

Reviews of these books you can find on the Write Away website.

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