Bookshelf Information

Moth: An Evolution Story


The peppered moth story is a famous example of natural selection and this beautiful book vividly brings it to life. Until the early 1800s, most of these moths were light with peppered wings, with a very rare dark variety. The moths’ wings help them to lie camouflaged on lichen-covered branches; however, with the advent of the Industrial Revolution and its pollution, the reverse became true. The darker variety became dominant as through natural selection, the darker moths were better adapted to their environment. As laws to reduce air pollution have been passed, the lichens have grown back and the light moths have returned and now both varieties can be seen.


This book is a real gift to the Y6 teacher when teaching the Science P of S strand : to identify how animals and plants are adapted to suit their environment in different ways and that adaptation may lead to evolution. The story of the moth is told clearly, effortlessly explaining the ‘science bit’ and encouraging the reader to go and look for these wonderful creatures. A message of hope - hope for survival, hope for adaptation and hope for change. More detailed notes are included at the end, including the Latin name (Linnaeus’s binomial system!).


In addition to the fascinating text the book is lavishly illustrated with stunning illustrations. From the stunning moth emerging from its cocoon to the dangers of predators to the menacing pollution to the cleaner skies, each spread is just gorgeous.


‘Moth’ is both fascinating and beautiful- and an excellent resource for school! The perfect mix of art and science, it’s a real must have!

Moth: An Evolution Story Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Daniel Egneus

Bloomsbury ISBN: 978-1408889756

The Dictionary of Difficult Words


Welcome, Wordsmiths, to this wonderful book! Designed to intrigue and interest people in the joy of unusual words, each letter of the alphabet has four pages dedicated to it, full of fabulous words. Each has a clear definition, pronunciation guide and part of speech. Bright, bold illustrations are scattered throughout, adding to the appeal. Words with clouds round them are picked out for extra attention as they are amongst the author's favourites; these also have a special illustration.


The book also encourages the reader to work out what words mean from suffixes like -graph and -ology and also explains what a dictionary is. It is a fabulous book with so much to recommend it!


This is going to be an essential part of my vocabulary area in my class. It is such a tempting treat, full of wonderful words which the children will be fascinated by!

So if you have the mulligrubs, this lollapalooza is just what you need! It's perfect for making you sesquipedalian.

The Dictionary of Difficult Words Jane Solomon, illustrated by Louise Lockhart

Frances Lincoln ISBN: 978-1786038104

Crazy About Cats


There are so many wonderful books around that sometimes we miss reviewing something that we really love or have enjoyed using with children. Meeting Owen Davey at Hay earlier this year reminded me just how much I love his books and his style of illustration. ‘Crazy About Cats’- could have been written to describe me- is my favourite of his books to date and is a wonderful text to use to support the Year 6 Science Curriculum ( living things, evolution etc)- or purely for pleasure!


Although I am a fan of photographs in non-fiction books, there is something very appealing about Owen’s stunning illustrations and their beauty which negates this concern completely. The book begins with exploring the genus of cats, number of species and general diet and habitat of these amazing creatures before considering their evolution and the domesticity of the house cat. This could form the perfect starting point for work on classification, using examples before working scientifically and classifying creatures they might find closer to home. (Bonkers About Beetles might come in handy here!)


The diversity of cats in this book is wonderful, making the perfect starting point for further investigation, allowing children to compare and contrast how different cats species have adapted to their environments. The marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata) caught my imagination - I’m ashamed to say I had never heard of it; I now know where it comes from and that it is the only species classified as ‘pardofelis’, having previously been thought to belong to the panthera lineage. Another species which leapt off the page at me was the ‘margay’ which is a featured creature in the book. Sadly. both of these wonderful creatures are considered to be ‘near threatened’.


‘Crazy About Cats’ is packed full of fascinating, clear information, but I also love the fact that there is a section about cat mythology, touching on some of the stories told about cats through the ages. There are many writing opportunities which might come from this book as well- reports, persuasive, discussion as well as narrative.

The contents and index make it easy to navigate, but this is really one of those books that is best lingered over as something catches the eye. The book ends with information about the endangered status of many of our big cats and suggestions for how we can help.

Beautiful in content as well as quality, ‘Crazy About Cats’ is a fabulous book about felines which will captive and educate in equal measure.

Crazy About Cats Owen Davey

Flying Eye Books ISBN: 978-1911171164

Planning ideas for this book will be added to the Members’ Section of the website very soon.