* Prices may differ from that shown
My three year old son recently started nursery at a local church school. He was bundled off with his little rucksack and put into a room with twenty three other children, all with different traits and personalities, likes and dislikes. He will not tell me what he does at nursery as he says "It's a secret" but it is interesting to watch him grow and develop and to see his teachers gradually learn all about him and all of his idiosyncrasies.
This was has been particularly evident on occasions such as, when handing him over, his teacher told me "He really enjoyed singing and dancing today" That is certainly true of my little high-energy performer.
On another handing over she presented him with a book tightly grasped in his hands and told me that on his outing to the library he had been very engrossed in it all and about the book "I think it's a little too advanced, but it's what he chose". My son gazed up at us and quickly said "It's a gorilla book!" as though justifying his choice. The book in question was Apes and Monkeys from the Kingfisher Young Knowledge collection. I quickly informed her that this was just the book for him, not only because of his recent interest in apes but also because he has a love of all things factual and his mind is one that enjoys a challenge.
Apes and Monkeys is written by Barbara Taylor and is part of a series of books which explore the world around us. They are aimed at children from five years onward. Each book has a section towards the end which has fun projects for children to undertake, further enhancing the knowledge of the things that they have learned throughout the book.
The Observer describe this series of books as "This is a coherent, lucid series... pure gold."
What I particularly love about this book is how it is set out. Each page has a large title, beginning with 'What is an ape?' and continuing onto other subjects such as 'Apes in Africa', 'Apes in Asia', 'Getting around' and 'Finding food'. The information is then subcategorised, giving just short paragraphs about each individual subject, again each of these has a heading such as 'Hairy apes' and 'Brainy apes'.
The layout of information makes this publication an absolute joy to read. I will read a section to my son before listening to his questions and musings. I will then explain some of the information with actions. For instance on the page titled 'Getting around' there is an explanation as to how chimps rest their weight on their knuckles when walking around and how gibbons swing from branch to branch using one hand and then the other. We act this out together to demonstrate how it is done. On the page titled 'Chatty chimps' there is a section which reads 'With their big eyes and bendy lips, chimps are good at pulling faces', this is yet another great exercise to act out.
The book is illustrated throughout with detailed photographs of each type of ape in question. Some of the pictures are rather amusing and others are indeed very cute.
At the bottom of each page are a selection of words used on the page and a brief definition. This of course makes the book all the more educational and ensures that children are able to understand the terminology used and to subsequently follow the book with ease.
As aforementioned, at the end of the book there are fun activities to undertake. In this particular publication there are instructions on how to make a monkey mobile, termite towers and monkey masks. The instructions are simple and easy to follow and the materials used are easily obtainable such as paper plates, cardboard tubes and newspaper.
The book has 48 pages in total with contents at the front and an index at the back.
Apes and Monkeys from Kingfisher Young Knowledge is available from Amazon at £4.99. This is also the recommended retail price.
I was so impressed with this book and my son's enjoyment of it that I have since added it and others in the series to my Amazon Wish List. I will undoubtedly begin to purchase some of these in the coming months with the intention of stowing them away for his birthday!