The Environment

 Let’s Save the Animals
by Frances Barry
(Walker Books)
This novelty book has a strong environmental message and uses the ‘flip-the-flap’ format to great effect. Featuring ten of the world’s animals whose species are endangered, the author/artist devotes a double page spread and half page flap to each one. Those included range from the African elephant to the Monarch butterfly (American variety); and mountains, oceans, grasslands, forests and meadows are all threatened habitats in various parts of the world. Every part of this book is made use of: the final black and white spread serves as a stark reminder that the ten selected are only a minute fraction of the thousands of endangered species. The end papers too are used to inform – the front ones visually locate the featured fauna in their continent and give a fascinating fact about each; the back ones are devoted to ten ‘simple actions’ the reader can do to ‘help protect and save these animals’. Simple yes perhaps but the message is far from that and the book with its straightforward text and cleverly crafted paper collage illustrations could be an excellent starting point for a discussion on this vital topic.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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 The Trouble with Dragons
by Debi Gliori
(Bloomsbury)
Children are never to young to start thinking about the all important message,
Respect all Earth’s creatures  and cherish the land,
recycle, reuse and reduce your demands.

contained in this topical and timely rhyming tale about the consequences of thoughtless consumption, dragon style. These dragons gobble, guzzle, throw wild parties, leave masses of mess, destroy forests, melt the ice caps homeless and more until there’s little left of wildlife as they knew it. Fortunately however, the fiery creatures do see the errors of their profligate ways just in time and start to heed the threatened animals’ advice.
Everything about this picture book including the production, (vegetable dyes, on FSC certified paper) is about environmental awareness, and Debi Gliori’s clever combination of colour and stark silhouettes heightens the impact of her verbal message.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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 Just One Peaceful Pond
Just One Quiet Pine Tree
by Chris Butterworth, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
(Walker Books)
These unusual books are diamond shaped with the spine forming a hinge at one corner. You read the book with that corner furthest away from you and open the pages from bottom to top. Each spread unfolds as you open it to form a picture four times the size of the cover. The succession of pictures helps the reader explore the specific habitat and discover the many different plants and animals that live there. Just One Peaceful Pond starts in the air above the pond and works its way down to the surface and then under the water to the bottom. Just One Quiet Pine Tree starts at the top of the tree and works its way down to the roots.
This innovative approach provides an excellent introduction to the idea of habitats and could be useful in school. (KS1, early KS2 and older special needs). However, although the pages are made of sturdy card, it’s so easy to misfold them as you close the book that it’s probably better to use them under adult supervision rather than put them out on the library shelves.
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