#BookReview by Lou – Science by #FranciscoLlorca – Great for #STEM to learn about #Scientists #Science @AllisonandBusby #ChildrensBook #ChildrensNonFiction #PrimaryReads #JuniorScience

Science
By Francisco Llorca

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Great for primary school aged children to learn about different scientists. It would sit well in a child’s own book collection or school library or the children’s area of a public library and if that’s not enough, it would contribute very well to S.T.E.M for a lovely introduction to some prominent scientists around the world.
Thanks to publishers Allison & Busby for gifting me the book in exchange of an honest review. Please do find more info in the blurb and the rest of my review below.

Science cover

Blurb

For those who loved Little People, BIG DREAMS, this new series showcases the lives and achievements of amazing men and women.

   This fun and informative book tells the fascinating stories of remarkable scientists behind ground-breaking discoveries such as penicillin and DNA. From the fall of Newton’s apple, Ada Lovelace’s imaginative step into the future of computing, to Stephen Hawking’s work exploring the origins of the universe, Science shows a new generation of scientists that the greatest leaps in understanding start by asking the smallest questions.

Review

From Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of gravity to Ada Lovelace and her cards that are considered to be the first computer programme to Alexander Fleming winning the nobel prize to Valentina Terechkova being the first woman to travel into space; these are just a few scientists who are named in this book. Each page, in this short book, has someone different who is deemed prominent in the field of science, and a short paragraph about who they were  and what they achieved, accompanied by bright illustrations, almost in story form, in the way each paragraph starts, in this is a great introductory guide for children. The way each page is written, is gently informative and puts each person into context and then adds the information about them. It manages to stay away from being dry. Rather, it is educational fun and written in a way that is easy for children to understand. The entertaining headings and illustrations for each page are also sure to grab children’s attention.

In snappy paragraphs they will learn much and there’s enough to spark curiousity.  The book also concludes what the 12 prominent scienists in the book looked like and also reiterates where they originated from. The book not only shows UK male and female scientists, but those from around the world.
This book would be ideal for S.T.E.M activities to introduce children to the people behind the technologies, space, gravity, medicine etc that they are so familiar with.

#Review by Lou – Tapestries of Life – Nature is all we have by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson @annesver @HarperNonFic @RandomTTours #TapestriesofLife #NonFiction #Nature

Tapestries of Life – Nature is all we have
by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Vibrant and interesting as the threads of life are all seemlessly stitched together to create a wider picture in the vast spectrum of nature we live in and the impact on our lives in an accessible fashion, by this expert in her field. Thanks to Harper Collins for gifting me the book and for Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour to review. Discover the beautiful cover that would brighten up anyone’s bookcase and the blurb and my review.

 

Blurb

The second book by the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects.

Trees clean air and water; hoverflies and bees pollinate our crops; the kingfisher inspired the
construction of high-speed trains. In Tapestries of Life, bestselling author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
explains how closely we are all connected with the natural world, highlighting our indelible link with
nature’s finely knit system and our everyday lives.
In the heart of natural world is a life-support system like no other, a collective term that describes all
the goods and services we receive – food, fresh water, medicine, pollination, pollution control, carbon
sequestration, erosion prevention, recreation, spiritual health and so much more. In this utterly
captivating book, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson sets out to explore these wonderful, supportive elements
– taking the reader on a journey through the surprising characteristics of the natural world.

 

Review

Tapestries GraphicThis isn’t as heavy as it sounds. It’s very good for the inquisitive and those who have a care for the natural world. It reads quite biographical in tone, with a mix of accessible science, and at the heart of Anne’s adventure is an abundance of the surface and what’s underneath nature and its purposes. The book will increase understanding of planet earth and all that it has to offer. It isn’t written in a way that forces people to believe in this or that, but rather in a way that may well enhance the appreciation of the natural world and all that it has to offer, from the animals right down to the water it holds.

As well as animals and plants, it goes into studying DNA, organisms and bacteria ie all the parts that can’t always be seen to the naked eye and yet are just as important to the surface of nature that we can see. It goes onto why nature is essential to earth and humans and talks about how it is used for the prescription medicines/prescription drugs that people consume. There are also great analogies to help with the understanding.

Planted like seeds, throughout the book are some poems and diagrams that makes the book brighter and easily digestible and relatable and alive, for this is a livelier and interesting book than what you may first presume. The poems also seem to serve as a reminder as to how the great outdoors, influences and inspires creatives and has done throughout the centuries.

There’s a lot to learn, in particular in the USA, about what is there and certain astonishing legislation was passed, not the what, but the when; but it all reads easy as each bit of earth is stitched together and her travels weave in and around green spaces and more…
The book also delves into what earth still has and extinction and conflicting ideas that people have about earth and 

The book is beautfully crafted as it weaves threads of a tapestry of life that only survives with nature at its heart.

About the Author

Anne Sverdrup Author Pic (1)Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson  is the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects. A professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, she is also a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest
biodiversity.

Anne is an absolute expert in the subject. She has done and is still doing countless events for all the editions of her books all over the world, and festivals love her.

Tapestries of Life BT Poster

An #Excerpt from Empire of Ants by #Susanne Foitzik #Olaf Fritsche @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #Extract #Nature #Ants #Insects #NonFiction #BlogTour

Empire of Ants

The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth’s
Tiny Conquerors

By Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche
Extract/Excerpt

Empire of Ants Graphic

Ants are amazing insects in my humble opinion and they are a gardener’s friend. They are, like worms, great for the soil. In saying that, there is more to an ant, as tiny as they are, they have been around for centuries. There is more to the ant than meets the eye… Find out more in this excerpt I have kindly been provided with by – RandomThingsTours and publisher Octopus Books for the blog tour.

Empire of Ants cover

Excerpt

Taken from Empire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth’s Tiny Conquerors by Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche.

Empire of Ants GraphicIf there’s anyone for whom the phrase L’état, c’est moi (“I am the state”) is true, it’s the ant queen. She is the past, present, and future of her colony. She establishes the colony, bears all the ant workers, males, and young queens that live within it, and once she dies, the colony will often perish soon afterward. And to achieve all this, all she has to do is take a trip out her front door.

A QUEEN’S GIRLHOOD

Ant queens are generally made, not born. Excluding a few exceptions, genes rarely play a part in this process. The nannies in the nest nursery follow to a T the recipe for creating “young queens” (as we call them). First, the red wood ants, Formica obscuripes for instance, take one of the winter eggs, laid at the end of the dormancy period necessitated by the cold temperatures. This process is not possible with eggs laid in the summer, for reasons that remain a mystery to science, and don’t seem to bother the ants much either. But the right egg is just the beginning; the wet-nurse ants must also feed the royal larvae a special diet. This must be plentiful and of high quality. If a red wood ant princess receives this cocktail of nutrients within the first three days of her life as a larva, then the die is cast and she is on the path to becoming a hopeful young queen. And she will be queen—along with a couple hundred of her sisters from the noblest caste.

When it comes to the line of succession, ants do not like to put all their eggs in one basket. The risks of something going wrong are many. From the disappointment of no suitable prince being available or a failure to mate, or the lack of an appropriate location for a new nest nearby, to a deadly encounter with a predator such as a woodpecker—which feast on well-fed young queens—there are any number of opportunities for failure and an early demise. According to estimates, only one in 10,000 young queens is successful in founding a new colony.

The young virgin queens have no inkling of this at first. They are far larger than their worker sisters and have no need to work away, boasting two pairs of wings on their backs. What these are good for, however, does not become apparent until a mild day between June and July in North America,

when it is warm enough.

When the moment comes, the whole anthill is seized by a curious unrest, unlike anything seen in the nest. An innate urge forces the flying young queens and males—still around, for once—toward the nest’s exits. Anyone else wanting to follow the call is held back by scrappy ant workers. Only on a secret signal do all the nests of a particular species open their doors to release the reproductive insects all at once, and in one fell swoop the exits are swarming with flying males and young queens. They traipse around somewhat aimlessly and eventually take to the air for their nuptial flights.

The timing of the nuptial flight during the summer depends on the species of ant. Ants of the species Temnothorax nylanderi fly out in the two hours before sundown, while reproductive ants of the species Temnothorax unifasciatus prefer to swarm in the morning, around dawn. These different swarming times ensure that nuptial flights do not result in hybrid couplings between males and young queens of different species. Some ants don’t leave the nest at all: Young army ant queens stay home on their wedding night, awaiting their lovers in the safety of the nest.

The choreography of nuptial flights also varies according to species. Some males move around in thick swarms of young bachelors, appearing like dark clouds from a distance. If a young queen collides with one of these groups, it swiftly descends into an enormous orgy in full flight. Other queens prefer solid ground. They seek out a romantic spot and emit pheromones, scent signals that no male can resist. Young queens can have sex with as few as one or as many as a dozen males—but just this once. Once the wedding day is over, that’s it for life.

This is why the queen diligently gathers as many sperm as she can and stores them inside a special pouch known as the spermatheca. This can hold a few hundred million sperm cells. Not all that many, when we consider that many queens will produce up to 150 million offspring in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years of their lives. A third to a half of these sperms will fertilize an egg and thus contribute to the next generation of ants. This is a considerably better ratio than human sperm enjoy, as only around one in every 250 million human sperm cells succeeds in merging with an egg. Human sperm also have an expiration date of around a month after production, while the cells stored in an ant queen’s spermatheca remain viable for decades.

Once the sun begins to sink toward the horizon, the wedding celebrations are over. These millions of future mothers and fathers have little to say to each other after sex—and very different fates await them.

About The Authors

Empire of Ants Suzanne Foitzik Author Pic

Susanne Foitzik is an evolutionary biologist, behavioral scientist and international
authority on ants. After completing her PhD in ant evolution and behavior and conducting
postdoctoral work in the US, she became a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of
Munich. Currently, she teaches at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany,
where she studies the behaviors of slaveholding ants and different work roles in insect
colonies. Her findings have been published in over 100 scientific papers to date.

Olaf Fritsche is a science journalist and biophysicist with a PhD in biology. He was
previously an editor at the German-language edition of Scientific American, is the author
and coauthor of many books, and has been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines.

Empire of Ants BT Poster

#Review by Lou – Lighthouses by David Ross #NonFiction #Arts #Photography #Travel

Lighthouses
By David Ross

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beautifully photographed – Lighthouses allows you to explore these wonderful, almost romantic and mysterious buildings through many ages and designs, like never before, with fantastic, atmospheric backdrops that are works of art. Let the light guide you through to the blurb and review of this pocket-size book.

Lighthouses cover

Blurb

Lighthouses may stand watchfully over serene waters one day and be bombarded by immense waves the next. They may look out on the most spectacular views, mark the entrance to a busy harbour or be placed in some of the world’s most desolate locations. To seafarers they are guiding lights in dangerous waters, but, once decommissioned, they can acquire an air of mystery. They are the most strictly functional of all civilian buildings and yet they can be surprisingly beautiful and varied in design. Are they square, cylindrical or octagonal? Are they single structures or towers on top of other buildings? Are they made of wood, stone, brick, or concrete? Are they coloured with stripes or bands? From Lake Michigan to the Arctic Circle, from the British Isles to Brazil, Lighthouses celebrates more than 200 structures and the stunning vistas that surround them. Taking examples from all around the world, the book features an immense array of operating and disused lighthouses from the 18th century to the present day, from those marking ocean coastlines to structures besides lakes and on rivers, from lighthouses cloaked in ice to Art Deco classics to tilting structures abandoned in sand dunes. Presented in a handy pocket-sized format, Lighthouses is arranged geographically, with more than 200 colour photographs and captions explaining the construction, operation and history of each entry.

Review

Lighthouses coverBeauty and Atmosphere, is what is inside the pages of this pocket-sized book. The book is interesting as it documents, primarily in photos, all different lighthouses from around the world. Where most people conjure up one or two typical looks and locations for a lighthouse, this book flings that wide-open and expands the horizon on that to show many more. This is perfect for lounging around and looking at this piece of art in many photos. The enthusiasm and knowledge of lighthouses and capturing photos that David Ross has are terrific. The light and shade capture certain atmosphere and movement, which are pure works of art. It’s so easy to gaze into this book and envisage stepping right into them, or maybe one day, when times allow, to go exploring. For now, this is the perfect book to plunge into and explore the mysterious world of lighthouses, that once served so many seafaring ships and boats of all sizes as they guided them to safety in torrent waters.

#BookReview by Lou of The Artful Dickens by John Mullan #JohnMullan @BloomsburyBooks #NonFiction #Dickens

The Artful Dickens
By John Mullan

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A hugely insightful book into the writing of Charles Dickens, I have a review and blurb you can check out to find out more…

I thank Bloomsbury Publishing for gifting me The Artful Dickens.

The Artful Dickens

Ever since I saw A Christmas Carol and Oliver when I was in my teenage years and in my adult years, saw a one man show of two short stories by Dickens and stage show about Charles Dickens by the great actor – Simon Callow, I have found him to be fascinating and been entertained by some of his works. Now, John Mullan has written about him too in The Artful Dickens… This book would be good for authors, lovers of Dickens and scholars. It is one for dipping in and out of, more than anything, or can be a bit heavy. It is non-the-less a valuable book to include in people’s Dicken’s collections as it is insightful.

The Artful Dickens is an incredibly indepth study, not just about him and his life about his books and elements of the man himself. Each chapter is used as different themes, whether it is smells, speech, humour, characters or writing, including changes in tenses.
It demonstrates how daring Dickens was when he wrote and changed the “shape” of writing, from what was perhaps fashionable at the time. The book demonstrates many features of the phraseology and much more, by using relevant segments of his well-known books, which are explored in great detail, but, as far as I can see, not giving spoilers as such; although this is a book that is probably best read, if you are at least a bit familiar with Dicken’s works beforehand. It would then make much more sense to the reader.
I shows that Charles Dickens was a daring writer in a sense and liked to break the rules. Tying into this is an indepth look into naming characters, coincidences and even a section on “Enjoying Cliches”. For the section on cliches, he also takes a look at what Martin Amis said about them and how Austen and Flaubert used language; as well as how cliches are and can be used. It very nicely then goes onto the spoken word. The book flows seemlessly from on subject to another, as bit by bit each book is examined to such a great deal of depth, disected and written. The research and the thought process, seems immense!

Interestingly and quite astonishingly, but true, Dickens is still influencing post-modern writers (and Ian McEwan’s book – Enduring Love is used as an example), in his so-called “unconventional narration” and how he liked to “break the rules”. The book demonstrates there is a lot to be gained by Dickens and that he did leave a legacy, in that sense, as well as his books.

Mullan then goes onto write about the smells, and let’s face it, there would have been plenty of those in Dicken’s time and not always pleasant ones; he insightfully links many to Dicken’s books, but also to what Dicken’s had said to friends, such as Wilkie Collins. Then examines the changes in tenses, starting with Edward Drood, before looking at the paranormal in a few books, but most famously – A Christmas Carol, which is always pleasing to read or hear anything about. It’s more than just the books though as he takes a study of Dicken’s life within the realms of ghosts in a surprising way.

I like that there is an examination of humour as there is plenty of that, with a mix of pathos in the likes of The Pickwick Papers. Mullen examines, quite acutely just how Dicken’s manages to make people smile and/or laugh in so many of his books.

Blurb

 

The Artful Dickens‘This is a marvellous, endlessly illuminating book … It doesn’t go on the shelf alongside other critics; it goes on the shelf alongside Dickens’ Howard Jacobson

Discover the tricks of a literary master in this essential guide to the fictional world of Charles Dickens.

From Pickwick to Scrooge, Copperfield to Twist, how did Dickens find the perfect names for his characters?

What was Dickens’s favourite way of killing his characters?

When is a Dickens character most likely to see a ghost?

Why is Dickens’s trickery only fully realised when his novels are read aloud?

In thirteen entertaining and wonderfully insightful essays, John Mullan explores the literary machinations of Dickens’s eccentric genius, from his delight in clichés to his rendering of smells and his outrageous use of coincidences. A treat for all lovers of Dickens, this essential companion puts his audacity, originality and brilliance on full display.

 

#Review By Lou Coming To England – 25th Anniversary Edition by Floella Benjamin @FloellaBenjamin @MacmillanKidsUK #ChildrensBook #Memoir #NonFiction

Coming To England
By Floella Benjamin
Illustrated by Joelle Avelino

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Review written by Louise (Lou) @Lou_Bookmarks

Floella Benjamin, I am sure a lot of people will have heard of her. I certainly remember her in Playschool, probably nearer the end of that series. Hers is perhaps the main name I remember as she captivated my childlike imagination. Now she is made a Dame and has been in parliament and done more good, so to have the opportunity to review her book is just astounding and a big honour! This isn’t just an exciting book, because I’m picky about contents of books, no matter who is writing it), and this is one excellent book that is informative and has a lot of colour and life to it that makes it absolutely fascinating to read about travelling between Trinidad and England.
Coming to England is great for Middle-Grade readers and is being re-released. She first wrote it over 20 years ago and then it was published again in 2016 and now on 15th April, it is ready for this new generation of children to enjoy and is a very special 25th Anniversary Edition you can buy now.
It’s perfect for bookcases everywhere and in classrooms. Teachers and children’s group leaders could easily find creative ways of using this book, there’s so much scope to be inspired from it to teach children of Trinidad through the memoir, the carnival, the food. There’s also a lot of discussion about different topics that come through in the book too. It is as relevant then as it is for today’s generation. Coming To England is Timeless!

As I write this and my full review, I find my fingers flying across the keyboard in excitement in what I found within the book, which is a memoir that is incredibly well-written for children and is as relevant today as it was in yesteryear.

Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books/Pan Macmillan for gifting me Coming To England.

Find out more about this special 25th Anniversary Edition of Coming To England in the blurb and my full review and buy links.

Coming To England

Blurb

This 25th anniversary edition of Floella Benjamin’s classic memoir, Coming to England, includes a foreword by the author and some additional historical information. It is beautifully illustrated by Michael Frith.

Floella Benjamin was just a young girl when she, her sister and two brothers arrived in England in 1960 to join their parents, whom they had not seen for fifteen months. They had left the island paradise of Trinidad to make a new home in London – part of a whole generation of West Indians who were encouraged to move to Britain and help rebuild the country after the Second World War.

Reunited with her mother, Floella was too overwhelmed at first to care about the cold weather and the noise and dirt from the traffic. But, as her new life began, she was shocked and distressed by the rejection she experienced. She soon realized that the only way to survive was to work twice as hard and be twice as good as anyone else.

This inspirational story is a powerful reminder that courage and determination can overcome adversity.

Review

Coming To EnglandWith a brilliantly coherent foreward, that is a Must Read, (I say because I know that some people skip over these parts and miss a great deal), it gives an insight for what’s to come, with some of the history and circumstances laid out. The entire book is hugely interesting and many children will be able to relate to so many aspects themselves or learn so much from it and will (hopefully) see that moving can be challenging, especially to a different country and what can be faced and also how challenges can be overcome. They will also (hopefully) learn that humans, whatever their race etc don’t need to be mean to each other (putting it politely) and learn tolerance and also learn something about the Windrush Generation. It is a book that may inspire and is written in such a way that children will be able to get into easily and understand immediately and may prompt curiosity and questions and thoughts. Floella Benjamin, with her new foreward proves she’s still got it when it comes to children and young people, to reach out to them and their level. 

Readers get to know a little of Dame Floella Benjamin’s brothers and sister – Ellington, Sandra and Lester whose mother they call Marmie, in affectionate terms, who met Dardie aged 19, all of which I think is just lovely. The memoir starts with Life in Trinidad and it feels quite uplifiting in some ways and warm. There is much enjoyment for children to get their teeth into and so much knowledge to be gained about food and other parts of the culture. No matter where you’re from, whatever your culture, it shows that some things are the same the world over, such as baking. This is one of the beauties of this book, it starts off showing that there are similarities in life, after all, who doesn’t at the very least, like cake or ice cream? It has such a positive feel to it for children to read about that is heartwarming as it will make it easy then for children to warm to it. Then there’s school life, so some of this will be familiar to children too, although there are some changes, but this is where it’s interesting for children, and it was for me growing up too, as I grew up without the fear of the belt, whipping down on me, but in the 60’s, 70’s this seemed more like the norm.

There is the fun and spectacle at the carnival and there are some great illustrations of this, as there are throughout the book. Between that and church life, children will be able to see the British (and other countries) influences.

The reasons of creativity as to why people were moving out of Trinidad to England are fascinating and England seemed perfect for creating styles of music, such as Jazz etc that weren’t so popular in Trinidad. The memoir takes readers on a real journey of life and even to the crossing of the sea, which is great, I was glad this wasn’t missed out as it seems so pivitol and adds more to the story, instead of just landing in England without this part and I think children will be able to also feel the excitement (as I do, thinking of this book as a child might), for the family to make it across the sea safely. The atmosphere really comes through and carries the story across those waves and onto the train when the ship meets the land. The book is truthful and shows those natural anxieties during the trip.

There’s a stark turning point of the book when the family reaches England, with the changes in colour and increased traffic and the way people behaved towards them, which is far from pleasant and children will either be able to relate to or sympathise with and recognise this, it also shows resilience and how people lived in certain areas and what was endured. The book however, has another turning point that will give hope and brightness and also enters the family’s grown-up lives so readers can read about what happened next. There is also a bit about The Windrush Generation in general which children can learn much from in just a few pages. So, yes, unfortunately due to the world views at the time etc, she, like lots of others within the Windrush generation had to work twice as hard, but it is not all as harshly written as that sit-up and take notice blurb, it does have some lightness, It is detailed but refrains from overly complicating things. It’s a book for today’s generation and generations to come with its timeless themes and it is properly interesting and is a surprising page-turner, not least because who doesn’t care about Dame Floella Benjamin? But you care about her, her family and the whole windrush generation and hopefully everyone will see everyone as just being human and bring some humanity, no matter how small it is and just some peace and live and work together and see differences, but also similarities and find ways to not segregate or anything like that. This book could provide some hope for the future as adults may well read this with their children too, no matter where they come from, what their race is. It is relevant for everyone. It is about one family but is further-reaching than that…

                  Buy Links

Coming To England

 

Waterstones

 

WHSmith

Scholastic