Pavilion

Atlas of Amazing Birds

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In his introduction, Matt Sewell describes this book as ‘my personal selection of the most amazing birds in the world’- and it is absolutely fascinating. Grouped by continent, each section starts with a map and a section of information about the location. The introduction makes it clear that the illustrations are not always to scale, but the dimensions are given so the reader can get an idea of the actual size.

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The text is beautifully written, using challenging vocabulary and the personal nature of the selection really comes through in the way Matt describes each bird. The Western Barn Owl is described as ‘captivating for its ghostly ethereal beauty and big black eyes, as deep as the darkest night.’ His passion for birds shines through as he shares his knowledge and observations.

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Each entry includes the bird’s Latin name and the illustrations are enchanting - colourful and quirky- really celebrating birds from around the world. Even the endpapers are beautiful! A small glossary and some suggested listening of songs featuring birds is included at the end. This is a fascinating book which will keep young ornithologists happy for hours!

Atlas of Amazing Birds Matt Sewell

Pavilion ISBN: 978-1843654063

You can read our review of The Big Bird Spot here.

The Story of the Little Mole

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A detective story in which the Little Mole tracks down the culprit of the crime, namely pooing on the Little Mole’s head, this was one of my son’s favourite books when he was little. Although the ‘p-word’ is never mentioned, one morning as Mole comes out of his hole, someone does their business and it lands on Mole’s head. He then goes from animal to animal with each one showing him how their deposit is different from the one on his head! Finally, Mole identifies who is responsible and gets his revenge.

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The illustrations are all at Mole’s level with taller creatures leaning into the picture and Mole’s expressions are just wonderful- from indignant to impressed to curious to determined. It is great fun to read aloud with different voices for each character!

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I can’t believe that it is 30 years since this book was published! These days books about bodily functions are quite common, but I’m sure this was one of a kind when I was sharing it with my boy about 18 years ago!

The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it was None of his Business

Werner Holzwarth, illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch

Pavilion ISBN: 978-1856021012

Big Cat

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Whilst searching the back garden for Grandma’s missing glasses, a little girl finds a new cat. Not one of Grandma’s - she has five- but a new, very big cat. Although the neighbours are not very happy about this addition to the family, Big Cat moves in. He’s great fun, but eats an awful lot and takes up a lot of space. When Big Cat’s parents arrive looking for their missing son, they have Grandma’s glasses with them and she get a really BIG surprise when she puts them on!

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The illustrations are bright, bold, full of fun and little jokes. Grandma’s much loved felines have their portraits hanging on the walls- one like the Mona Lisa, one with a Mondrian style background, one like Warhol’s Marylin- whilst the little girl and the tiger cub read ‘The Tiger Who Came to Dinner’ and ‘The Human Who Came for Tea.’ There are partially hidden clues to the visitor’s identity on the newspaper that holds their fish and chips or the one that Grandma ‘reads’ upside-down without her glasses.

The story bounces along at a pleasing pace, allowing the reader to enjoy the visual jokes and waiting for Grandma to cotton on to the true identity of her new rescue. That the story acknowledges ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ means it is perfect for comparing the two tales and enjoying both the similarities and the differences. And there’s always the possibility of telling the next story- all about what Grandma hasn’t noticed next…

Big Cat Emma Lazell

Pavilion Books ISBN: 978-1843654018