Bookshelf Information

Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders

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The latest book in this ‘fantastic’ series is every bit as entertaining and informative as its predecessors. Kate Pankhurst has once again turned her attention to significant women who have done amazing things- this time, forging careers in many different fields.

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The book includes well-known names as well as those who are less familiar. Maria Merian’s work on studying insects in the early 1700’s has been used by generations of scientists since her book was first published in 1705. Others, like Katherine Johnson battled against racial prejudice and sexism to work at NASA. Each fascinating story is told through a mixture of illustration and text, offering an excellent introduction to the individual and the world they lived in.

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One of my favourite sections in this collection is that about the match girls. I remember finding out about them when I was at primary school with the horrors of phossy jaw and their appalling working conditions and would have loved to have found their story portrayed in this way.

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Thoroughly inspiring and completely engaging, ‘Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders’ is a brilliant addition to every bookshelf and sits perfectly alongside the other volumes in the series. I’d like to see a ‘Fantastically Great Women Who Made Music’ or ‘Fantastically Great Women Who Travelled the World’ next!

Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders Kate Pankhurst

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408899274

You can read our review of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World here and Fantastically Great Women Who Made History here.

Greek Mythology: The Twelve Gods of Olympus

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‘Thousands of years ago, there were twelve Gods who lived high up on the beautiful Mount Olympus, the tallest mountain in Greece…These twelve Gods became masters of the world and ruled the land, the seas and the skies. This is their story.’

The Greek myths have fascinated and entertained people for thousands of years, yet there is no denying that they are complex and not always easy to follow. This delightful little book explains how Zeus came to rule Olympus with his siblings and the events which preceded their rule. Much simplified, it is easy to follow, but keeps the essential points.

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The illustrations are bright, colourful and full of fun. Gaia is born from the darkness - a tiny baby surrounded by inky blue- and is then shown in a wonderful gown, depicting all her creations. Zeus leads his disgruntled siblings from the stomach of his father, Cronus, and the Olympians preen and squabble on Mt Olympus.

Perfect for children learning about the Greeks or for anyone wanting an understanding of how the Olympians came to rule, ‘The Twelve Gods of Olympus’ would make an excellent addition to any library.

The Twelve Gods of Olympus Philippos Mandilaras, illustrated by Natalia Kapatsoulia

Faros Books ISBN: 978-1916409118

Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

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This beautiful book explains Charles Darwin’s famous work, ‘On the Origin of Species’ in a clear, child-friendly manner. Setting the scene with ‘a few clever and curious scientists…who challenged’ the idea that everything in the world had always been the same, the book then focuses on Darwin and his work.

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Each of Darwin’s ideas is illustrated and explained, with quotes from Darwin throughout. Each point is broken down into clear, easily managed sections, enabling the reader to comprehend some quite challenging ideas. Darwin’s voice can be heard as quotes from his work are included, injecting the book with a sense of his enthusiasm, wonder and excitement. The main points of his thinking are summarised in a conclusion at the end with a final note reminding us that the process of evolution continues.

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An excellent appendix offers yet more information on this fascinating subject, up-dating some ideas in light of current research. The section on misconceptions is particularly valuable and a clear glossary explains some of the main terms. There are even some suggestions for further reading.

Y6 Science Programme of Study Evolution and inheritance stares that children should be taught to:

  • recognise that living things have changed over time and that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago

  • recognise that living things produce offspring of the same kind, but normally offspring vary and are not identical to their parents

  • identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution

This lovely book supports a class teacher in fulfilling these aims and makes an excellent addition to the library, allowing children to further explore and investigate Darwin’s ideas, challenging them to observe and notice the world around them. Combining scientific ideas with beautiful artwork, ‘Darwin's On the Origin of Species’ is a real must have!

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species Retold and illustrated by Sabina Radeva

Penguin ISBN: 978-0141388502