Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers
Katie Daynes and Marie-Eve Tremblay. Usborne 14 pp. £9.99 (2012). Age 3+
This interactive board book by Katie Daynes is food for enquiring minds, answering questions from 'How deep is the sea?' to 'What makes a car go?' and the age-old 'Why do I have to go to sleep?' Questions are divided into types — How? What? Why? — and each has a flap to lift to solve the mystery. Marie-Eve Tremblay's quirky cut-out illustrations give this the feel of a scrapbook, packed with drawings and detail. Simple and accessible, it could prove a boon to a parent asked for an early-morning explanation of how fish breathe.
The What on Earth? Wallbook of Natural History: From the Dawn of Life to the Present Day (MINI EDITION)
Christopher Lloyd and Andy Forshaw. Natural History Museum 16 pp. £6.99 (2012). Age 5+
Christopher Lloyd shows that Earth's entire history can be folded down to the size of a postcard. Once the timeline is unfurled, Andy Forshaw's 1,000-plus illustrations capture key events. On a backdrop divided into land, sea and sky, life forms from single-celled organisms to humans appear according to where they live and when they evolved, in a harmonious interplay of large evolutionary concepts and detailed examples.
How We Make Stuff: The Story Behind Our Everyday Things
Christiane Dorion and Beverley Young. Templar 18 pp. £14.99 (2012). Age 7+
The latest in the How It Works series traces the journey that natural resources take as they are transformed into food, clothes, phones and 'things'. By revealing, say, that a cheeseburger can involve combined efforts from four continents, Christiane Dorion and Beverley Young could inspire thinking about the planetary impact of our need for stuff. The tabs, flaps and fold-out sections tell the stories of particular items; one of the most interesting is an interactive mix-and-match game to create an environmentally friendly outfit.
Deadly! The Truth About the Most Dangerous Creatures on Earth
Nicola Davies and Neal Layton. Walker 64 pp. £9.99 (2012). Age 8+
Zoologist Nicola Davies takes a spin on the hilarious side of death in a book that reveals the ingenious methods animals use to kill each other. The comedy comes from Neal Layton's cartoons, which deploy exaggerated expressions and amusing speech bubbles to puncture the killer beasts' fearsomeness. Davies' text goes into gruesome detail to describe killer whales' team hunts, the 'death roll' performed by crocodiles and much more. She also raises challenging and important concepts, such as the value of predators to biodiversity and the danger of humans viewing them simply as threats.
Eve & Adam: And Girl Creates Boy
Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate. Egmont 320 pp. £6.99 (2012). Age: 12+
Teen meets gene in this creation myth for the modern age. Evening Spiker's billionaire-geneticist mother gives her a computer program and a challenge: design the perfect boy. But it soon becomes clear that the project extends beyond the computer screen — Adam can become real. This portrayal of a world in which humans have “taken the reins of evolution” is unsettling, but at its heart lies a touching exploration of love and why perfect isn't always good enough.
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Children's edition: Books in brief. Nature 492, 39 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/492039a