Take the Lead: How to care for your dog by Elena Browne, illustrated by Jennifer Farley

Do you want to get a dog, but you’re not sure how to choose which one? Do you want a furry friend in your life, but you’re not sure what needs a dog has? Do you have a new dog, but you would really like to teach it some cool tricks? Take the Lead: How to Care For Your Dog, by Elena Browne and illustrated by Jennifer Farley, is the book you need.

In Take the Lead, Elena Browne takes young readers through everything you need to know about dog ownership. What do you need to know before you decide to get a dog? How do you decide what kind of breed to get? When you’ve bought or adopted a dog there are all sorts of other things to consider, like naming your dog, welcoming them home, and having somewhere for them to sleep and the right kind of foods to eat. Elena teaches kids how dogs communicate and how they can train their dog, teach them new tricks and play games with them. The health and well-being of your dog is also an important part of the book, especially when it comes to giving them what they need in different seasons.

Take the Lead is a wonderful, kid-friendly book that is essential reading for any young dog-lover. This is exactly the sort of book I would have loved as a kid with a dog of my own. Elena covers all aspects of dog ownership, presenting the information in a simple, but engaging text. Jennifer Farley’s illustrations capture the joy of having your own furry friend, as well as the body language that shows us how a dog is feeling.

The format is visually appealing, with small blocks of text on a colourful background, simple headings, and lots of adorable illustrations and photos. It is clear that Elena is passionate about dogs, as her enthusiasm and experience shines through in the text. There are some cool design features in the book too, like the doggy text-boxes and the use of paw prints and bones instead of bullet points. My favourite parts of the book are the step-by-step guides to teaching your dog tricks and commands, as they’re nicely illustrated and easy to understand.

I will be adding Take the Lead to the very popular section on pets in my school library. I know that kids are going to love it as much as I do.

Training guides for knights and ninjas

I buy a lot of the books for my school library online, but nothing beats browsing a bookshop and discovering a gem. While browsing the wonderful Scorpio Books in Christchurch a few weeks ago I came across two very appealing nonfiction books that I immediately knew I needed for my library. So You Want to Be a Knight? and So You Want to Be a Ninja? (both published by Thames and Hudson) have both been adapted from previously released books, into a new and exciting format.

Both books are highly visual, with heaps of comic-style illustrations. They are full of humour, both in the text and the illustrations. They are sure to hook even the most reluctant of readers because they are just so engaging. There are lists, quizzes and diagrams galore, and like the Horrible Histories books, the author and illustrator have left the gory and gross bits in. There are pictures of skulls being split open with battleaxes and faces being scratched with ring daggers. You get both the positives and the negatives of being a ninja or a knight, and the author and illustrator highlight how dedicated and disciplined you need to be to become one. They are the sort of nonfiction book that kids will read from cover to cover, but you could also look in the index to find specific information.

These books are going to be so easy to sell to kids in my library! Sharing a section or two with kids (like ‘How to Get Into Your Suit of Armour’) would be a great way to do this. Check out the covers and blurbs below for both of the books. There is also So You Want to Be a Viking? and So You Want to Be a Roman Soldier? in the same series.

So You Want to be Knight? by Hannah Pang, illustrated by Takayo Akiyama

Do you know how to wield a lance? Can you somersault into a suit of armor? Join Kate, Eddie and Angus as they travel back to the 14th century to see if they have what it takes to become a knight. Tutored by the original author of the Book of Chivalry, they discover the secrets of the chivalric code, receive vital weapons training and learn top tips on how not to die in battle.

So You Want to Be a Ninja? by Bruno Vincent, illustrated by Takayo Akiyama

With padded ninja shoes underfoot and ninja stars around their belts, our plucky newbie ninjas Kate, Eddie and Angus travel back in time to 1789 Japan to enrol in the Iga School of Ninjutsu. Under the guidance of the Grand Master, they learn the ninjutsu craft from two of Japan’s stealthiest ninjas – Hanzo, the ninja of many disguises (some convincing, some not so much…) and Chiyojo, a kunoichi (female ninja) who is so clandestine that they’re not entirely sure whether she actually exists. Finally, at their fingertips are the tightly guarded secrets of ninjutsu!

Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts about Fascinating Fish by Debra Kempf Shumaker and Claire Powell

Children’s nonfiction books about fish are few and far between. I have a few in my school library, but none that I think kids will pick up and read when they’re browsing. An awesome new book, Freaky, Funky Fish, on other hand, screams ‘PICK ME UP!’ I guarantee that this book will leave kids and adults alike fascinated by fish.

Debra Kempf Shumaker and Claire Powell introduce us to fish of all kinds. Inside this book there are fish that zap, sting and sing, fish that can fly, climb and squirt, and fish that use their special abilities to survive. The simple text throughout the book and the entertaining illustrations makes this a book perfect for preschoolers right through to older children, and everyone will find something that fascinates them. Each fish has a freaky or funky rating (you find this throughout the book and in the ‘Fish Inventory,’ which makes up the endpapers). In the back of the book there is more information about the different types of fish, as well as books and links to videos where you can find out more. This book is a wonderful introduction to a wide variety of fish and the author has included these great suggestions for finding further information.

Freaky, Funky Fish: Odd Facts About Fascinating Fish is one of the most awesome nonfiction books for kids. It is a whole lot of fun to read and it’s packed full of quirky fish facts. The cover is absolutely fin-tastic, with the holographic foil that draws readers towards it like an anglerfish’s glowing lure draws prey. You’re drawn to its shinyness and then you need to know what is inside.

Debra Kempf Schumaker’s text is accessible to a wide range of ages, so it’s great for children to read by themselves or for an adult to read aloud. I love that it is the kind of nonfiction book that less-confident readers can pick up and read, and there are lots of visual cues about the traits of the fish in the illustrations. If a teacher or librarian was reading it to a group, you could just read the story first, then go back to look at the illustrations in more detail. I absolutely love Claire Powell’s illustrations! Claire has given each of the fish a different personality and they have some much character. I have read this book so many times, because I love going back to Claire’s illustrations. So many of her illustrations make me laugh (their expressions are hilarious!) but I think my favourite is the female anglerfish, with the male anglerfish attached to her.

Allen and Unwin should be applauded for the thought that has gone in to the production of this book. The design of the book is stunning, from the holographic foil to the endpapers, and it deserves to be published in hardback. The love that has gone into the writing, illustrating, and design of this book will make it a winner with its target audience.

Freaky, Funky Fish is a must-have book in any school library, and any lover of aquatic creatures should have a copy of their own.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes by Ben Brooks

Ben Brooks is a surprising author. I say surprising because I never quite know what he is going to write next. His first book was Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different, a book like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls, with one-page stories about males who have achieved incredible things. He has also written two children’s fiction titles, The Impossible Boy and The Greatest Inventor, both of which are fantastic stories. Ben’s latest book, Not All Heroes Wear Capes, is an inspiring read that shows you how you can be a hero.

In this book Ben Brooks shows us ten things we can learn from ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Ben opens his book by defining a hero as ‘someone who wants to live in a better world and decides to do something about it.’ This book is full of people just like this and Ben shows readers the difference that they could make by taking small steps. Some of the people mentioned in this book are inspired by what they have read in books, others by what they have learnt at school, or just by the injustice they witness in their own homes. Ben shows us that dreams are important, that no act of kindness is too small, that every talent can be a superpower, and that we should stand up for what we believe in. We should discover everything that we can, but also share what we know with others. We should look for others who need our help, and if there’s something that you wish exists but doesn’t yet, then you should try and make it a reality.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes is a fascinating book that will inspire readers to make the world a better place. It is a positive book that makes you consider what small changes you could make that would make a big difference. Ben Brooks’ writing style is really engaging and he makes you want go out and do something extraordinary. As well as using lots of examples of real-life extraordinary people, Ben also makes the ideas relatable, so you can see how you can use them in your own life. Ben has included some great quotes from people throughout history, but there are plenty of pearls of wisdom in Ben’s writing too.

This is a nonfiction book that you want to read from cover-to-cover, rather than dipping in and out, and I found that I had read half the book before I even realised. It is the sort of book that you could use with Years 5-8 and plan a whole unit of work around it, thinking about the ways that you could make your community a better place.

One of the things I really like about this book is the way that Ben keeps coming back to the way that books can inspire people to do great things. I love his idea of dreams drifting in ‘through eyes and ears, like seeds looking for places to grow.’

Nigel Baines’ illustrations are the perfect match for the book and they break up the text nicely. Nigel has created cool, short comics to illustrate the stories of the extraordinary people who feature in the book. I especially like his illustration of Captain Sir Tom Moore giving the thumbs up.

Not All Heroes Wear Capes is a book that will inspire both kids and adults, and would be the perfect book for older children and their parents to share together.

Wow in the World: The how and wow of the human body by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, illustrated by Jack Teagle

I love children’s nonfiction books that present their information in a fun and fresh way. These are the books that I know will inspire kids to learn about something new. It might be the design of the book, that breaks the information in to small chunks, or the format in which the authors present the information. Wow in the World: the how and wow of the human body, by podcast hosts Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, is one of these great nonfiction books. It is sure to teach kids heaps of interesting facts about the human body and have them laughing out loud while they read.

My eyes were drawn towards this book in my local bookshop, with its bright yellow cover, the title exploding off the front and the cartoon images of the authors. As soon as I picked it up and flicked through it, I knew I needed it for my school library. It’s the most visually appealing book about the human body that I’ve seen and it looks funny. This makes it a great book for dipping in to as you could just pick a section that you’re interested in. I started reading from the start and just kept on reading, because it’s so interesting and entertaining.

Like all human body books, this one is split in to different sections. There’s a welcome to your body section, where Mindy and Guy tell you the different ways you could experience this book (read it out of order and share interesting facts with your friends and family) and things you shouldn’t do with this book (barf over it when you read the gross parts). We then go on a tour of the human body, including the stuff on the outside (like hair, skin and nails) and the stuff on the inside (like the skeleton, heart and digestive system). Each section is jam-packed with info about how each part works and why it’s important. That is accompanied by Jack Teagle’s diagrams, comics and other visual gags that will make you chuckle. There are also heaps of Fact Snacks, quizzes and Bonus Body sections. The Fact Snacks are quick facts that are easy to remember and share with your friends and family.

This is one of the coolest children’s nonfiction books ever! I love that it is so visual, because this makes it both super fun and very re-readable. There are lots of comics throughout the book, like the Body Parts Awards and Muscle Mania, which will make this book appealing to those kids who love comics and graphic novels. The Bonus Body sections are hilarious! They tell you about the body parts you (probably) don’t need and all about your butt. There’s a good glossary and index at the back of the book, along with a bibliography, and books and websites for recommended reading. The book is based on a podcast by the authors, so there are also QR codes linking to each episode of Wow in the World.

Wow in the World: the how and wow of the human body is a must-have for all primary and intermediate school libraries and would make a great gift for inquisitive 8-12 year olds.

Become an expert joke-teller with Tom E. Moffatt

Tom E. Moffatt is the award-winning author of some of the funniest Kiwi books for kids. Tom won the Tom Fitzgibbon Award in 2015 for his debut children’s book, Barking Mad (you can read my review here). Tom has followed Barking Mad with Mind-Swapping Madness (you can read my review here) and Body-Hopping Hysterics, two hilarious collections of short stories about swapping minds and swapping bodies. Tom’s most recent books carry on his passion for making kids laugh, by telling jokes and teaching kids how to become an expert joke-teller.

I’m Joking: 500+ original jokes for kids is exploding with Tom’s own jokes, which are guaranteed to have kids and adults alike in stiches! The best thing about this collection is that they are jokes that you won’t have heard anywhere else before as they’re all Tom E. Moffatt originals, whether they be good, bad or very ugly. This is the best joke book for kids that I’ve ever read because they’re not just thrown haphazardly into the book. All of the jokes are split into different sections, so you can find the kind of jokes that you really want to read or share. There are jokes about animal sounds, puns about body parts, jokes entirely about eggs, knock-knock jokes and stinky poo gags. There is even a section at the end of the book with readers’ favourite jokes. My favourite section is the funny book titles, with book and author combos like Farm Fences by Barb Dwyer. Joke books are some of the most borrowed books in my school library and I know that this book will be an absolute winner with my kids. I’ll order one box-full please Tom!

You’re Joking: Become an Expert Joke-teller is Tom’s incredibly entertaining how-to guide for perfecting the art of telling jokes. This is a brilliant book that is desperately needed for those kids who love telling jokes. Sure, anyone can tell a joke but it takes skill to deliver a joke in such a way that is entertaining and has everyone in the room laughing. Inside this book you’ll find basic tips, practice jokes and exercises, and each sections ends with a reflection. There are 101 jokes of different types to help you practice different deliveries. Tom teaches you about the different types of jokes, how to build a repertoire, how to deliver different jokes, and where to find jokes. He explains how important it is to know your audience and that there is a right time and place for telling jokes. This book is a must-have for all kids who love telling jokes (and for the adults who wish they could do it better). It’s another great addition to both primary and high school libraries.

The Joke Collector’s Notebook is the perfect companion to You’re Joking, as it is the ideal place to write all of the jokes that you collect to add to your repertoire. This is not just a blank notebook though. Tom has added some chapter headings, like ‘Delivery Tips’ and ‘Knock-knock Jokes,’ but he has also left chapter titles blank so that you can add your own. Throughout the book there are plenty of blank pages, some with jokes or challenges on them that could inspire you. The challenges encourage you to try new things, like finding a joke that your teacher might enjoy and testing it out on them. This is such a cool book that I know so many kids would love. I want to have heaps of copies that I can just give out to kids who I see enjoying jokes. Its a book that would make a great present for kids of any age (or that adult in your life who loves sharing jokes).

All of Tom’s books are chock-full of the wonderful Paul Beavis’s bonkers illustrations. They are a great match for Tom’s bonkers stories and hilarious jokes.

Tom also has a YouTube channel where he shares his jokes in hilarious video compilations, with animations by Paul Beavis. Make sure you check out Tom’s website too for more info about his books, plus activities and jokes galore.

You can buy Tom’s books through his website (which links to Amazon), from Wheelers or from the fantastic Kiwi Kids Books website.

Interview with Sandra Morris

Sandra Morris is the award-winning author of many wonderful picture books and children’s nonfiction books. In Sandra’s latest book, North and South, we learn about the differences in seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and how the animals that live there deal with the changing seasons. You can read my rave review here on the blog. It is a fascinating book and it made me wonder about how Sandra chose which animals would be featured in the book. Read my interview with Sandra to find out the answer to this question and more.

  • North and South: A tale of two hemispheres is a unique concept for a children’s nonfiction book about wildlife. You compare wildlife from the Northern Hemisphere with those from the Southern Hemisphere. What inspired you to present the information in this way?

In North and South I presented wildlife in each month looking at the opposite seasons. As a child I was fascinated that two halves of the world experience such different weather systems at the same time. I thought if I showed both halves on each double spread with an animal from each hemisphere then it is pretty immediate and accessible for children to see the contrast.

  • How did you decide what wildlife to include in the book?

It was pretty challenging deciding on the final list of animals to be portrayed. I made an initial list after reading an old Readers Digest book on animals through the seasons. On further research I found out quite a few had become extinct- particularly disappointing! I made a more refined list and sent it to my Candlewick US editors and they made a further selection. We tried to represent as wide a species list as possible – birds, insects, mammals, marine life etc. and to cover as many different countries as possible. I also wanted to include some lesser known species like Portuguese man of war, stag beetles, and honeypot ants.

  • There were so many things that fascinated me reading this book, from the difference that heat makes to the sex of baby crocodiles to the hilarious way that Lyrebirds copy the sounds around them. What was the most fascinating thing you discovered while researching this book?

One of the most fascinating things was to learn how many of her young are carried in the jaws of the female salt water crocodile down to the river shortly after hatching. It was impossible to find images so I had to reconstruct that image myself- I have since seen amazing photos and she does cram them in!! Like an overloaded bus!!

  • A lot of effort has gone in to the design of North and South. It’s so important to get the design right in a children’s nonfiction book, as you want children to be able to find the information they need but also enjoy reading it. Did you have much of a say in the design?

Yes the design was largely mine. It went through various changes due to the publisher wanting it to sell foreign rights, so all my original coloured, hand lettering had to go and they replaced them with the black and white fonts. Also, I had originally had all the extra facts at the back making it a rather lengthy book, so the designer brought all the extra facts into each spread, running them down the side of the images. Therefore, all the images had to be reduced – they originally bled off the page with just a small amount of text within the image. But I am happy with what the designer has done and I understand all the reasons why. Sometimes you have to make compromises if you want the book to have a wider market appeal internationally. You just cant get too precious. I love it that it’s a team effort and I was lucky that Sarah Davies at Walker Australia made such good design decisions.

  • One of the design features that I really love about North and South is the map on the endpapers. Were maps an important feature to include in the book?

Yes. Originally the world map with animals was going on the Introduction page and Sarah suggested it as endpapers. This freed up more internal space. It was also her idea to include a small map on each spread, so that it was immediately clear where each animal lived.

  • What is your process of illustrating the wildlife you feature in your books? Do you watch videos and pore over photos?

I usually try to draw from life as much as possible, but as most of these animals do not live in NZ that was out of the question. So I referred to many books, Google images and videos for visual reference.

  • You have written and illustrated many books about New Zealand wildlife, and both the Bar-tailed Godwit and the Brown Kiwi feature in North and South. Do you have a favourite New Zealand creature that you love to illustrate? What is it that appeals about this creature?

For many years I have observed and sketched from life the amazing Bar-tailed godwits at Pukorokoro Miranda on the firth of Thames. I have grown to love these birds and admire their amazing annual migratory feats!! They fly non-stop from Alaska to NZ – 11,000 kms every southern summer to feed on our mudflats to be in peak breeding condition to fly back via several feeding spots, to breed in the Alaskan tundra as it thaws. It is such a worry that changing climate conditions and human habitation and development is chewing up their feeding grounds. This has a huge impact on their survival. There is clear evidence that their numbers have severely decreased. Statistics show they are declining by 2% a year.

  • Many of the animals featured in North and South have a special ability like changing their appearance to camouflage into their environment, copying the sounds of other animals, or storing honey in their swollen bellies for when it’s needed. If you could choose one animal ability to have yourself, what would you choose?

An animal ability I would choose is flight – what an amazing ability. To just make up your mind to lift off and go places with no cost to the environment!!

North and South by Sandra Morris

Sandra Morris is the award-winning author and illustrator of both picture books and children’s nonfiction. Sandra has introduced Kiwi kids to many of our native birds, reptiles, trees and insects through her engaging books. In her latest book, North and South, Sandra compares and contrasts the wildlife that lives in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

In North and South we learn about the differences in seasons between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres and how the animals that live there deal with the changing seasons. Sandra highlights the effect of the rapid heating of our planet on the habitats of these creatures, as well as the effect that it has on migratory habits and the sex of hatching reptiles. Starting in January and going through until December, each double page spread presents an animal from the Northern Hemisphere and one from the Southern Hemisphere. As well as focusing on the month and the season, each spread also focuses on a different aspect about those animals. The spread for March focuses on Mothers and Babies and compares the polar bear (in the Northern spring) with the saltwater crocodile (in the Southern autumn). The warming seas and melting ice mean the polar bears need to swim and walk further for a meal. The hotter temperatures also affect the sex of the crocodile hatchlings, with warmer temperatures meaning the hatchlings will be male. There is a handy mini map with each animal so that you can see where they live, and Sandra also explains the threats to each animal. At the back of the book there is a concise glossary, an index and suggestions of where to find more information and how you can help the wildlife.

North and South is a perfect children’s nonfiction book, that is engaging, cleverly designed and gorgeously illustrated. This is the kind of book that can be read cover-to-cover or easily dipped into. There will animals that children know, but others that they will discover for the first time. They’ll also discover astounding facts about these animals that they’ll want to share with their friends and family. The layout is really kid-friendly because the illustrations are large, there’s just the right amount of text, and there’s a mini-map on every spread. It’s a great book to not only learn about animals and their differences, but also to highlight the differences in the seasons of Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

This book made me go ‘Wow!’ so many times! I found it fascinating how the sex of crocodile hatchlings can change with a difference in temperature. I had heard of the Lyrebird before but had no idea how cool this bird is. It can mimic other birds that it hears, as well as other sounds, including drills and chainsaws. I was so astounded by this that I spent quite a while watching YouTube videos of these birds. I laughed so hard listening to them!

Sandra Morris’ illustrations are stunning and the design of the book is superb. It’s a beautiful book to look through and read. One of my favourite aspects of the book is the maps. The end papers are a world map with animal icons, showing where they live, and the mini-map on each spread shows this too.

I love North and South! It is a book that should be on the shelf of all animal lovers and is an invaluable resource for schools. I know that this book will be pored over in my school library and I’ll be promoting it to all of my classes.

New Zealand Disasters: our response, resilience and recovery by Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic

Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic are a formidable team. They have worked on many books together now, including the award-winning Anzac Heroes. The combination of Maria’s narrative nonfiction text and Marco’s realistic illustrations make their books ones that are loved by kids and adults alike. Maria and Marco have teamed up once again to tell the stories of disasters from throughout New Zealand.

In New Zealand Disasters: our response, resilience and recovery, Maria tells us about the natural and man-made disasters that have affected our country and our people, with Marco visually highlighting their dramatic nature. We can read about earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones, as well as shipwrecks, plane and train crashes. Historical disasters, from the 19th and 20th century are covered, as well as more recent events, such as the Kaikoura and Canterbury earthquakes, the Pike River Mine and the Port Hills fires. It is particularly interesting to note the similarities in each of the mine disasters, even though they occurred so far apart. A particularly relevant section towards the back of the book focuses on pandemics and epidemics, with information on Coronavirus, Polio, Measles and Flu. Throughout the book are text boxes noting the positive outcomes from some of the disasters, highlighting how communities pulled together to support those in need. Other text boxes highlight safety tips to help you if you are caught in a disaster, like a blizzard or a shipwreck. The hugely important work of our first responders and essential workers is also highlighted, with information on how they respond to disasters and help keep us safe. It is important to be prepared for disasters and tips for this are included at the back of the book, including suggestions for making a family plan and what to include in an emergency and evacuation kit. One of the aspects of this book that really makes it stand out is the section on recovery. Maria explains the ways that disasters can affect your body and mind and she also highlights the importance of talking about our experiences and being positive to help us recover.

New Zealand Disasters is an outstanding book that brings a fresh look to the disasters that have affected our country, both past and present. It is beautifully presented, with a child-friendly layout. Maria’s text tells us a story about the event, making it easy for readers of all ages to digest the information. This is a unique book about disasters, because of the way that Maria and Marco have put a positive spin on what happened. It is great for children to see that something positive can come out of something that is terrifying.

Both Maria and Marco perfectly capture the dramatic nature of these disasters. Maria describes the ‘deep rumbling’ and the ‘violent jolt’ of earthquakes, the ‘violent wind gusts and large swells’ faced by the Wahine on its fateful voyage, and the way that the ‘super-heated gases shot up the two lift shafts and engulfed’ the Ballantyne’s department store. Marco’s illustrations portray the fear, anguish and hopelessness that people faced during these disasters. Marco has also captured the time period perfectly in his illustrations, with attention paid to the fashion and technology of the time. I especially like the way that light and dark contrast in Marco’s illustrations, which highlights the unsettling nature of these disasters.

One of my favourite aspects of this book is the map at the start. It has a key for the different types of disasters and shows where in New Zealand they have occurred. A contents page, index and glossary are also included, making it easy for children to find the information they want or need.

New Zealand Disasters is an invaluable book for schools and is a must-have for all school libraries. The inclusion of more recent events makes it a fantastic book for your home library too. Maria and Marco have created another brilliant nonfiction book that is sure to be an award-winner.

A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You by Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley

A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You is the kid’s nonfiction book that you need in your life. Not only will you laugh your socks off, you’ll learn some amazing facts while doing it! It is the funniest, most entertaining and totally unique general nonfiction books for kids around. I guarantee that this is going to be the most looked-at nonfiction book in my school library because it screams ‘PICK ME UP!’

It is bursting with short comics that give kids a glimpse in to the life of organs in your body, gross bodily functions, animals of all shapes and sizes, plants, planets, rainbows and much, much more. You’ll learn how farts form, where poo goes when you flush it away, how a sea jelly swims, what a pangolin’s scales are made out of, and how bananas grow. As well as the ‘Day in the Life of a…’ pages there are also ‘The Bigger Picture’ sections which give extra detail, and secret diary sections which show you extracts from the secret diaries of an earthworm, a red blood cell, and a lightning bolt. Each thing, whether it is a hand, a pimple or a worm has a unique personality and a different way to tell its story.

This is a book is super accessible for kids of all ages, with simple text and bright, funny illustrations that anyone. It’s a nonfiction book that parents and teachers especially will love sharing with kids. Between Mike’s text and Jess’s illustrations you will be laughing your head off. They have managed to pack a lot of information into a page or two of comic, with just enough detail to astound you. Jess’s illustrations always make me laugh and she has had plenty of different things to draw in this book. I love the expressions she gives to the characters, even each individual toe on the foot.

Some of my favourite facts from the book include:

  • a single elephant can wee up to 9 litres at a time
  • male platypuses have poisonous foot spurs
  • the amount that a sloth poos once a week is like us doing a poo the size of a small dog
  • there are blue bananas!

A Day in the Life of Poo, a Gnu and You is going to be incredibly popular with kids. The comic format means that my graphic novel fans (of which there are many at my school) will gobble this book up. I just need to buy myself a copy because the library copy will get issued and passed around all of the kids.