Non-Fiction Books

3 years +, Big Picture Press, Non-Fiction Books, Contemporary Books

The Odd One Out: A Spotting Book

Words & Illustration by Britta Teckentrup

Published by Big Picture Press

'The Odd One Out' is a stylish, contemporary spotting book. I highly recommend this book for children that enjoy playing 'I Spy' and for parents who grew up as fans of 'Where's Wally'.  

The book spreads are colourful and the repeated collage of each animal creates a complex pattern akin to wallpaper. A short rhyme introduces the animals on the opposite page of the spread. Within each rhyme is a clue for the reader to find a hidden detail within each page. Within the pattered puzzles, the reader needs to locate the hidden detail such as the tired baby rhino, baby penguin hidden by its mother, flamingo standing on one leg and a scared turtle to name but a few. The challenges are fun, and get more and more difficult as you move through the book. I was very surprised by just how difficult it was to find the odd one out in the spreads towards the end of the book. I know this book was designed for young readers but it took me a really long time to find the cross-eyed lemur!

While reading the book, I was reminded of Taro Gomi's book 'Hide & Seek'. 'The Odd One Out' is more complex than Taro Gomi's board book and this increased complexity makes it more appealing to a larger age range (2-6 years). 

This is a book to be pored over. The hardcover is clothbound with a debossed title panel. The book feels like special object and the matte pages are thick and dense with colour and interest. Kids will enjoy completing the challenges within the book by themselves, with their siblings, parents and friends. It is really good fun. 

Big Picture Press have published a fantastic collection of highly illustrated books since they launched in 2013. Click here to see their full list of titles. Britta Teckentrup's follow-up book 'Where's the Pair?' has just been released. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on a copy. 

Reviewed by Georgia White

Non-Fiction Books, Contemporary Books, 6 years +, Wide Eyed Editions

Nature's Day

Words by Kay Maguire

Illustration by Danielle Kroll

Published by Wide Eyed Editions

'Discover the world of wonder on your own doorstep' is a fantastic tagline for this book. The book starts in Spring and investigates the distinct features of each new season by revisiting 8 locations - the garden, the veggie patch, the woods, the farm, the fields, the pond, the orchard and the street. 

Author and gardener Kay Maguire, who trained at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens has shared her vast knowledge of gardens and wildlife. Maguire has filled this book with so much detail and information that families could read one page or the whole book depending on the time you have available or the attention span of your little ones. Interesting and fun information is shared within this book by way of short, detailed and factual comments. It would be great to pull out this book at the start of each new season to be reminded of the amazing changes occurring on your own doorstep. The contents page at the beginning of the book can be used by families at the start of each new season to read the pages that are relevant at that particular time of the year. 

Danielle Kroll's illustrations are simple and have been executed with a very confident hand stroke (albeit a digital one in this instance). Only a handful of colours have been used to represent each item and it is very clever that she has been able to simplify animals, plants and the landscape down to a just a few strokes. It is beautiful how Kroll's colour palette changes subtly throughout the book to represent the change of the season. The illustrations have been created digitally and have been positioned en masse to create extremely colourful and detailed page spreads. Each page is a feast for the eyes!  

Another Wide Eyed Editions publication. I should get shares in their company! I love their work and the curiosity in our world that they inspire. 

Reviewed by Georgia White

Non-Fiction Books, 6 years +, Wide Eyed Editions

Creaturepedia

Illustrated by Adrienne Barman

Published by Wide Eyed Editions

Creaturepedia celebrates the amazing animal kingdom and is filled with over 600 beautifully illustrated creatures. Rather than list the creatures in a traditional alphabetical format, Swiss illustrator Adrienne Barman has grouped them in to fascinating categories such as "The architects", "The champion breath-holders", "The masters of camouflage" and "The faithful". This novel idea is a great way to introduce children to the amazing array of animals and their fascinating characteristics.  Not only is it a beautiful almanac of creatures but this book is funny too. Many of the animals have been drawn as characters with personalities to match their unique traits. "The unlucky" are particularly ugly, "The endangered" are shown crying (ok, so this isn't funny but it does convey the point), "The sprinters" are so quick that they can't be captured on the page but leave clouds of dust as they sprint off the page and "The faithful" are illustrated in pairs dreamily staring in to each other's eyes. Barman's illustrations are bold, colourful and close to a comic book style. The book has been published in a high quality format with a thick cover, embossed title, bold colours and a neon orange bookmark. This book has so much to look at that it will keep the young and old amused for hours.   

Wide Eyed Editions is a publishing house that create high quality non-fiction books for children & families. As they describe of themselves, they have a 'stellar cast of illustrators and authors' on their books and have published a great number of outstanding books lately. What I love most about their books is that they explore complex themes in a simple way using articulate and bold illustrations. If you haven't already looked at their titles, I suggest you do today. Click here to visit their website. Nature's Day by Danielle Kroll & Kay Maguire is on the top of my wishlist.

Reviewed by Georgia White