There comes a point on Christmas Day when all the tinsel and fairy lights can be a little much and you just want to snuggle up somewhere warm with a beautiful book. Animals are perennial favourites with readers of all ages so I have a selection sure to delight everyone.
’Goodnight Ocean’ by Carmen Saldaña, written by Becky Davis (Little Tiger Press)
This is the second title in the ‘Little Explorers’ series and is suitable for readers aged 1 and up. It’s sturdy cardboard pages, peep-throughs and shimmery foil, paired with a whole host of underwater characters make it a mesmerising read.
Rhyming text carries the reader along, whilst each page features snippets of information and facts. Join the ocean animals as they take some rest and learn about their habitat at the same time.
‘Animal Homes’ by Clover Robin, written by Libby Walden (Caterpillar Books)
This is another sturdy information book for readers aged 3 and up. It has stiff card pages and lots of flaps for little fingers to explore, along with really lovely, bold illustrations.
I particularly like the fact that you can explore several different habitats in one book. These include homes high and low: warrens, lodges, nests and mounds all feature. With unusual habitats come more unusual creatures – brilliant for extending vocabulary beyond the norm.
‘Martin Brown’s Lesser Spotted Animals 2’ by Martin Brown (David Fickling Books)
This brilliantly funny book is full of animals who prefer to fly under the radar. No lions, tigers or bears roam these pages. Instead, you’ll find tamandua, altai argali and beaked whales.
Each animal gets its own double-page spread with the witty illustrations you’d expect from the illustrator responsible for the Horrible Histories series. Its informal tone is sure to appeal to any reader aged 7+ and provides lots of information in a digestible format. This one comes recommended by Book Boy.
’Nose Knows: Wild Ways Animals Smell the World’ by Emmanuelle Figueras, illustrated by Claire de Gastold (What on Earth Books)
This book shows the world from a fresh new perspective – from the noses of animals! Discover the many ways in which animals use their sense of smell: to find prey, send warnings and play dead.
I loved the clear uncluttered page layouts and clever use of flaps to x-ray in on an animal’s inner-workings. The large-scale illustrations sing from the pages and will entice and intrigue readers. Truly unique! 8+
’Through the Animal Kingdom’ by Derek Harvey, illustrated by Charlotte Pepper (DK)
DK are producing some wonderful books at the moment. ‘Through the Animal Kingdom’ is a blend of awe-inspiring photos and lush illustrations by Charlotte Pepper, suitable for readers aged 6 plus. Watch out for the clever globes at the start of each section which allow you to see where in the world you are now.
Centred around a map of the world, young explorers can trek through 13 diverse habitats and discover more about the miraculous journeys undertaken by the fast-flying swallows of the Congo, ocelots in the rainforest, or migrating zebra across the Serengeti.
‘Humanimal: Incredible Ways Animals Are Just Like Us!’ by Christopher Lloyd, illustrated by Mark Ruffle (What on Earth Books)
This book explores the many, and sometimes surprising ways, in which humans are just like other animals. Maybe humans aren’t all that special after all!
Organised into three main sub-sections (Community, Feelings, and Intelligence), this really fascinating book explores how African songbirds trick meerkats out of their food, how crows use cars to crack nuts and how Inky the octopus problem-solved to plan his escape back to the ocean.
‘Animal Worlds of Wonder’ by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Maddy Vian (20 Watt)
Travel to every continent to visit some of the world’s most incredible animals on land, air and sea. Learn about their habitats and how creatures have adapted over time to survive in them, find out about animal food chains and discover what threats the animal kingdom is currently facing.
Organised by habitat type (land, air or sea), the book then focuses in on a more specific zone and some of the animals you might find living there. Each one has its own full colour double-page spread with lots of really interesting facts and figures about their diet, defence mechanisms, predators and much more. 7+
‘Really Remarkable Reptiles’ by Jake Williams (Pavilion Books)
This is the read for fans (or people who are about to become fans) of those really rather remarkable reptiles found scattered across the globe. Whether in a rainforest, desert or busy cities, reptiles are never far away.
Find out about the gliding draco lizard, the panther chameleon with nearly 360 degree vision, and the terrifying giant anaconda which can reach weights of 97kg! There are also sections on a reptile’s life cycle and their habitats, all showcasing Williams’ distinctive illustrations and flair for design. 8+
There should be something there to delight any animal lover on Christmas Day!
*Thank you to all the publishers who sent me these titles to review*