Know Your Nature: British Wildlife sets out to introduce the reader to some of the more common flora and
fauna found in and around the British Isles. Produced as a hardback board book, the contents are laid out to give a double page spread to a total of fourteen different categories of plant or animal groups. On each double page there are ten lovely clear images of wildlife species found in each category. For each image there is an associated box of text giving some information about appearance, habits, habitats or status. At the end of the book the images are set out as a quiz for the reader to test their knowledge.
It is good to have a book that focuses on British Wildlife rather than exotic or distant creatures and environments but there are some drawbacks. There is no index and the categories do not seem to follow any particular order, scientific or otherwise. For example three sections on butterflies, flying insects and other invertebrates, separate the two sections on flowers and trees. Additionally the description of an invertebrate comes after the pages on butterflies and flying insects. In some ways, the book falls between age groups – very young children can handle the robust book style and would enjoy looking at the beautiful images but the language and ideas of the accompanying text would require a good level of reading ability.
The book would be of use in the school library to help support curriculum study in a number of topic areas including: Understanding the World (EYFS) and in KS 1 & 2: Science (Plants; Animals, including humans; Living things and their habitats) and Geography (fieldwork as an essential aspect of geography). However, I suspect its greater benefit would be as a book for the home where a child, with an interested adult alongside, could use it as a stimulus to encourage deeper investigation and practical observations in the environment and broaden wildlife knowledge.
Reviewed by Sue Shanks
Know Your Nature: British Wildlife. Caz Buckingham & Andrea Pinnington, 2018.
Farnham: Fine Feather Press Ltd.