I have written a few times about how many questions my three year old has about everything and anything. A couple of months ago he was obsessed with sharks and we took a trip to the library to find out more. It was tricky to find a good non-fiction book that was accessible for him.
We were thrilled to receive the whole series of I am a… books from Miles Kelly Publishing, they are perfect, just the thing we’d been looking for! Written by Camilla de la Bedoyere with illustrations from Joe Jones and Richard Watson as well as the Miles Kelly Artwork Bank.
There are 8 books in the series: sharks, owls, lizards, frogs, penguins, bears, monkeys and big cats. Each double page has a different topic or activity about the animals and the facts and information are delivered in bite-sized portions, perfect for curious little ones who have their next question waiting before you have finished answering their last one! The titles of some of the pages could have been taken directly from things my bigger boy has asked me – “What do you eat?” “Where do you live?” “What do you look like?” are just a few answered in each book.
As well as answering the many things that little people ponder about animals, there are some great activities and puzzles included as well as a short story at the end with stickers that can be added to the pictures. My bigger boy was a bit young for some of the puzzles but they would suit an older child really well, a good mix of word puzzles, number problems and questions to test what you’ve learnt. There are some lovely hands on activities that he was really excited to do though.
Each book has a how to drawing activity, a craft and a recipe. So, you can learn how to draw a lizard, make yourself an army of penguins out of toilet rolls and even whip up some lion cupcakes with a delicious popcorn mane.
No surprises here but my bigger boy wanted to make something from I am a Shark!. So here is our shark sandwich swimming in a sea of blueberries…
The eye is a chocolate chip, this made it the best sandwich ever!
We also liked the look of the shark attack magnetic fishing game, definitely one to keep in mind for a play date activity.
Something I really liked about these books is the pictures; full colour photographs of the animals complete with simple labels. My boy loved learning about all the different sharks, he thought the basking sharks were pretty clever as they swim around with their mouths open and eat what lands in their mouths.
A brilliant collection of books to peak children’s interests, find out more and refer back to. A few weeks ago we spotted some frogspawn at a pond near our house, I am a Frog! was perfect to help explain and illustrate how the frogs would grow and develop. We also found it useful when we found this little guy sitting on our front doorstep!
We keep finding ourselves reaching for them again and again: On a day out to Harewood House in Leeds my bigger boy was excited to see some Humboldt Penguins in their bird garden after reading I am a Penguin!
We got to the penguin pool just in time for feeding time, here they all are waiting for their fish…
Someone else also knew it was feeding time…
There is a deep pool with a glass side so you can watch the penguins diving under the water, here’s the best picture we got. They are fast, especially when they’re diving after their food!
My bigger boy wanted to know how big penguins get so we looked in our book and found out that Emperor penguins are the biggest, bigger than a 3 year old but not bigger than this Mummy!
These books would also be useful to support children in learning how to use non fiction books; they have clear contents pages, titles, sub-titles as well as key words to learn in bold text. Short enough to not be overwhelming and with plenty of jokes and engaging images, they are perfect for introducing children to the wonders of the animal world.
Oh and how could I forget, the whole series pack comes with masks of each animal too, great for pretend play!
Many thanks to Miles Kelly Publishing for sending copies of these books for review.
You can view all these books and more from Miles Kelly Publishing on their website.