Archive for the ‘Non Fiction’ Category

Bonkers About Beetles by Owen Davey

November 29, 2018 Comments off

bonkersBonkers About Beetles by Owen Davey. Pub. Flying Eye Books, 2018.

If you were asked what is the most popular beetle you might be tempted to say John, Paul Ringo or George except that the beetles featured in this publication are not musicians, they are insects.

The answer to the question is the eight spotted ladybird because it eats aphids which are the scourge of many plants. It eats over 5000 in a year so it must like them.

Beetles are insects of course with with six legs an egg, larva, pupa, adult, life cycle and the most distinctive body part is the Elytra which is a hardened wing cover that protects the wings, acts like armour, and can be used to trap water so that the beetle can breath under water.

The scarab beetle is a god in Egypt, it is supposed to roll the Sun across the sky like a dung beetle rolls dung. There are more than 400,000 beetle types and most of the main ones are described and illustrated in this publication. The illustrations are unique, colourful and the information is short and fascinating.

Much better than a web page and easier to read. For primary intermediate and junior secondary students.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags:

Kate Sheppard. leading the Way for women by Maria Gill & Marco Ivancic.

November 13, 2018 Comments off

kate sheppardKate Sheppard. leading the Way for women by Maria Gill & Marco Ivancic. Pub. Scholastic. 2018.

Kate Sheppard grew up in Liverpool and like a true Liver bird she wanted to play football but her brothers wouldn’t let because she was a girl. This affected her for life because soon after arriving at Lyttelton she married Douglas Sheppard and took off her corset for ever.

After hearing an American woman talk about votes for women at the Theatre Royal Kate was convinced and fought for it until success. Men were against it because women would stop marrying and having children and the human race would die out.

Then came the battle to get votes for women passed through Parliament and even when it was passed in 1893, the first in the World, men wrote to the papers saying ‘women should stop meddling in masculine concerns of which they are profoundly ignorant”.

Someone should tell Jacinda.

Excellent accessible picture book on the New Zealand experience with Kate Sheppard, excellently illustrated by Marco Ivancic. For everybody

A World of Discovery by James Brown & Richard Platt

November 6, 2018 Comments off

world discoveryA World of Discovery by James Brown & Richard Platt. Pub. Walker Studio, 2018.

Boys often prefer non-fiction works to fiction and this book tells you why. It is a big book with each entry 2 pages long containing a lot of bite sized information that is really interesting.

It covers World changing discoveries in chronological order as far as we know, starting with the Wheel, Fire, Time, Money and Paper and finishing with the Internet and Artificial Intelligence. Each two page spread features the invention or discovery on page one and the second page details the mechanics, chemistry etc and how it is made.

Some of the more interesting details are -the wheel was first used as a potters wheel not for transport. The flush toilet which comes in at ten would cost $330Billion to provide all those that still need it with a toilet and that is only one sixth of what we spend on weapons and war. Disgusting!!

To show how much the World has changed dig this – Lifts in the USA were separate for men and women unless they were together. It was considered improper for a woman to be alone in a room with a man she did not know. Who knows with MeToo it may be time to go back to it.

This is for everybody and essential for school libraries.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags: ,

Why is That lake so blue? A Childen’s guide to New Zealand’s Natural World by Simon Pollard.

October 12, 2018 Comments off

lake so blueWhy is That lake so blue? A Childen’s guide to New Zealand’s Natural World by Simon Pollard. Pub. Te Papa Press, 2018.

Before I start to review this excellent non-fiction work about how New Zealand was formed, and how this affected the type of flora and fauna that live here, and how this in turn has been affected by the arrival of man I have to make a major point.

The expert information, the maps and diagrams, the photographs, the bite sized information on plants and wild life and the overall coverage could not be found on any one or even a dozen websites on the Net. You have it all in one package.

It starts with Gondwana land and shows how New Zealand as actually part of the undersea Continent of Zealandia as discovered by sir James Hector in 1895. Not a lot of people know that.

From there the plant and animal population developed in a unique way until the arrival of humans who changed everything. There is a conservation message, a global warming message amongst the brilliant photographs and illustrations.

Great for the home and the school library. a superb publication by a great scientific mind.

Food Atlas by Guilia Malerba, illus Febe Sillani.

October 4, 2018 Comments off

food atlasFood Atlas by Guilia Malerba, illus Febe Sillani. Pub.Oratia Books, 2018.

This big , big book about the food and delicacies of the World was released yesterday and you won’t get a better book about this subject anywhere. Every school library should have this and as a book for the home it is also priceless.

Let me tell you some of the things that are in it. New Zealand gets a good mention with Toheroas, Manuka honey and pineapple lumps featuring.

Australia has the Pie Floater? and a word about the macadamia nut which the Aborigines have used for ever because it is the oiliest nut in the World.

In Madagascar they use the Zebu for meat and milk and in South Africa the biltong and Bobotie are mentioned and you can find out what a Kalahari Red is.

It was an Ethiopian shepherd that discovered coffee when he found his lazy goats were energised after eating coffee beans.

The Russians help keep warm by drinking black tea while holding a sugar cube in their mouths.

The Incas were the first to cultivate potatoes and  Quinoa which is considered the food of choice for astronauts by NASA.

Every culture is covered, it is just fascinating.

Categories: Non Fiction Tags:

The Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon.

September 26, 2018 Comments off

sea dreamerThe Sea Dreamer by Terry Fitzgibbon. Pub. New Holland, 2018.

When Sam goes to sleep he dreams and floats away on his toy tugboat Wakato accompanied by Pania of the reef. he goes on a journey of discovery and in the process learns about the sea and all the animals who live in it and around it.

There is a strong conservation element about his discoveries which include sea life getting tangled in drastic plastic pollution. He dreams of towing the plastic back to shore for recycling.

Sam learns that the sea is our main source of oxygen and that the power of the oceans waves can help create energy for when oil supplies run out.

he learns about the giant squid, about whales about the albatross and the North and South poles. he wakes with the message that we need to look after the sea and keep it healthy.

Good message and great colourful illustrations. My favourite was Sam towing the mother polar bear and her cub to safety on a flimsy ice floe.

Well worth purchasing for the home or school library.

Rivers. A Visual History from River to Sea by Peter Goes

September 16, 2018 Comments off

riversRivers. A Visual History from River to Sea by Peter Goes. Pub. Gecko Press, 2018

This is another big, big book in fact it’s as mighty as the rivers of the World that it talks about. Understanding rivers helps the understanding of people and animals that live in the river and along it’s banks.

All the great rivers of the world are covered like the Ganges, the Amazon, the Mississippi, the Nile, the Congo, the Yangzte, the Danube and the Rhine plus many others from all the Continents.

All the information about the history, civilisations, flora and fauna of each river is given in little pockets of data on a map of the country or continent that the river inhabits. I say inhabit because rivers are living things and without them humankind would be poorer for it.

I love rivers and have been across or sailed down more than 20 of them so this book was a fascination for me. I was pleased to see that the mighty Waikato is featured as are the rivers of Australia and there are some that few of you will know about.

Do you know where the Fly River is? It was named after the ship of a British naval officer in 1845. I wonder too if you know the largest river in Antarctica which flows only in the summer?

Fascinating stuff from the author of Timelines which is reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Check this brilliant big book out it will not disappoint you. Essential for school libraries.

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