Perfect gift books for curious youngsters by various authors – children’s book reviews –

Whether it’s learning the astonishing workings of the world through pictures, diving into a brilliant, fact-packed book just bulging with answers to all your questions, or discovering how to chat like a chicken and gossip with a gorilla, the clever boffins at What on Earth Publishing have just the gift book you’re looking for.
Britannica’s Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures about Earth, space, animals, the body, technology and more by  Valentina D’Efilippo, Andrew Pettie and Conrad Quilty-HarperBritannica’s Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures about Earth, space, animals, the body, technology and more by  Valentina D’Efilippo, Andrew Pettie and Conrad Quilty-Harper
Britannica’s Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures about Earth, space, animals, the body, technology and more by Valentina D’Efilippo, Andrew Pettie and Conrad Quilty-Harper

Age 10 plus:

Britannica’s Encyclopedia Infographica: 1,000s of Facts & Figures about Earth, space, animals, the body, technology and more – Revealed in Pictures

Valentina D’Efilippo, Andrew Pettie and Conrad Quilty-Harper

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Did you know that people can identify a picture of a familiar object in just 13 thousandths of a second... eight times faster than the blink of an eye?

Lure your children away from their screens and watch them enjoying pages full of exciting fun and learning as they journey through a magnificent and groundbreaking new encyclopedia which lets the pictures do the talking!

Britannica’s Encyclopedia Infographica has been conjured up by the endlessly inventive magicians at Britannica Books, a reference imprint for young readers, published in an exciting partnership between What on Earth Publishing and Encyclopaedia Britannica.

And this imaginative and authoritative encyclopedia is the perfect fit for children who are visual learners, revealing astonishing and awe-inspiring facts and figures about space, Earth, animals, humans and technology through 200 fantastic infographics, including maps, charts and timelines, and a host of topic experts.

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Children (and adults!) can grasp facts at a glance as they turn every page... discover the size of our Sun in comparison to the largest star in the universe, find out how many planets would fit between Earth and the Moon, find out which animal can leap 200 times its body length, learn yucky facts like how many cups of snot your body makes a day, compare the sizes of the biggest beasts that have ever lived, and witness what happens in a single second across the world.

With stunning infographics by internationally renowned data designer Valentina D’Efilippo, along with beautiful colour photography, as well as interviews with leading expert consultants for every chapter, there could be no more exhilarating and visually stunning way to understand and marvel at the world around us.

(Britannica Books, hardback, £25)

Age 10 plus:

Absolutely Everything! Revised and Expanded: A History of Earth, Dinosaurs, Rulers, Robots and Other Things too Numerous to Mention

Christopher Lloyd and Andy Forshaw

They say that reality is stranger than fiction and this brilliant, fact-packed book is just bulging with coruscating curiosities!

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After the huge success of What on Earth Books’ magnificent tome, Absolutely Everything!, which has seen global sales of forty thousand copies and been translated into five languages since it was first published in 2018, a revised and expanded second edition has now hit the shelves.

What on Earth specialises in the art of telling stories through timelines and for every question the book answers, it sparks another one, helping to encourage young readers into a lifelong love of enquiring and discovering.

And once again masterminding this mesmerising and fantastical journey into absolutely everything (well, almost!) is world history author, educator and lecturer Christopher Lloyd who guides us through an additional 64 pages, more photography and extra eye-catching illustrations by Andy Forshaw, all enhanced by a refreshed design and cover.

And five years after the first edition, there is now increased coverage of South America, Africa and Australia, and a shift from a European perspective to a global one. There is also a full update to take into account new discoveries, and an exploration of events that have taken place since the first edition was published, including the Covid pandemic and Ukraine war.

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The author’s aim is to make the story of world history as fun and accessible as possible for both children and adults. And always interested in finding ways to connect knowledge, he firmly believes that taking a step back to look at the big picture can be even more valuable than zooming in to look at the details.

So embark on a journey across millennia and around the world, from the latest understanding of the origins of the universe, the birth of the Earth, the very first life, the age of dinosaurs, the rise of humans, ancient civilisations, colonialism, wars, technology, everyday life, global struggles for freedom and equality, pandemics... and much more.

How was our universe made from a tiny speck of energy? Where did the first trees, plants, animals and humans come from? What happened to the dinosaurs? What was so miserable about medieval times? How were railroads and electricity invented? What are the perils of global warming?

With a mini-timeline in each chapter highlighting key moments, Forshaw’s richly detailed and colourful illustrations, stunning photography and Lloyd’s lively and engaging account of some of the most remarkable true stories through time, this is is a 416-page treasure trove of learning, and the perfect gift book for all youngsters with a thirst for knowledge.

(What on Earth Publishing, hardback, £20)

Age 7 plus:

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How to Chat Chicken, Gossip Gorilla, Babble Bee, Gab Gecko and Talk in 66 Other Animal Languages: Your guide to the language of cats, dogs, elephants, dolphins, bees and lots more!

Nick Crumpton and Adrienne Barman

Do you ever wish you could communicate with your cat, have discussions with a dolphin, or maybe just hob-bob with hippos?

Well here’s your chance with this riotously funny and fact-filled book in which writer and zoologist Nick Crumpton reveals how 70 different animals communicate with each other. Discover what their calls sound like, what those mysterious flashes, pops, thumps, rattles and rumbles mean, and enjoy the fabulous artwork of Swiss illustrator Adrienne Barman which gives each creature a character all of their own.

We live in a busy, bustling and noisy world in which almost eight billion people are saying hello across a wide range of six or seven thousand languages. But animals – wait for it! – have millions of languages. Insects, birds, reptiles, mammals and amphibians are all talking to each other, too, with a cacophony of grunts, squeaks and tweets that are all part of the natural orchestra that is life on Earth.

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Some of those noises can sound scary while others are sweet… so wouldn’t it be good to be able to understand what they were all trying to say? Acting as a translator, Crumpton guides us through the animal kingdom, revealing what a dog’s bark means and how an orangutan says ‘hello!’ (It’s whuuu-whuuu-whuuu, just in case you ever need it!)

Much fun is guaranteed as youngsters get their tongues round some key phrases ready for animal adventures that take them anywhere from their back garden to the shores of Antarctica, the African savanna and the bamboo forests of China.

Each sound has been researched using recordings and information from scientists in the field. Simply warm up your vocal cords and get ready to click (and purr!) like a chicken, buzz like a bee, rumble like an alligator, chirp like a panda, mumble like a meerkat and warble like a whale.

The perfect gift for all young adventurers... but be careful what you say when you meet that gorilla!

(What on Earth Publishing, hardback, £12.99)

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