National Non Fiction Day 2011 Book Review

If you didn’t already know, today is National Non-Fiction Day. I have to be honest and say that I personally don’t read a lot of non-fiction these days. However my six year old daughter loves it. She’s like a little sponge soaking up information and anything that can feed her thirst is a winner. I often find that sometimes, when she isn’t interested in reading her story books that switching to non-fiction in a subject she’s interested in encourages her reading practice too, and I’d suggest anyone who is having trouble with their children’s concentration while reading give it a go too. Non-fiction is just as worthwhile in gaining reading confidence.

I recently bought her a book called ‘Over A Thousand Fantastic Animal Facts’ (published by Miles Kelly Books) after she spotted it in a local discount book shop and fell in love with it. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how much she’d get out of it to begin with. It’s a huge book, over 500 pages worth and I suspected it was the glittery blue cover (which is lovely) that attracted her in the first place.

However, I was completely wrong and she’s carried this big, heavy book all over in the last couple of weeks! The book begins with facts from as far back as creation and is set into segments including Prehistoric life, dinosaurs, extinct, endangered, nocturnal, deadly, birds, snakes, cats, dogs and horses.

What we both love about this book is how easy it is to dip in and out of. While it does follow a timeline if read cover to cover, you can also randomly open a page and enjoy short bursts. This of course works well with young children, especially as time stretching that far back is a little beyond their comprehension. My daughter loves just letting the book fall open and reading that very page. 

The facts are also really great ‘snippet’ size and just a sentence or two long. They are fascinating and informative and written in a fun, interesting style. I love the way she’ll shout out with enthusiasm ‘Mum…listen to this…’ and reel of a piece of information neither of us knew before with genuine awe and interest. Each page has around 6 facts that relate to each other, and some even have a little quiz recapping what has just been read. 

The book is illustrated throughout with brilliant life like drawing and she’s loved looking at bothe the cute kittens and the horrible prehistoric creatures. The images add even more to the learning experience and really capture her interest. 

So, even though I had some reservations about how age appropriate this book would be I’ve been thrilled with how much she has actually taken from it. It’s a wonderful sight to see your child enthused and eager to learn and she’s literally devoured the information on offer, which is far beyond what I would have been able to give her. She can now tell you some fantastic facts herself and the prehistoric section in particular has captured her imagination and interest. I think most children of around age 6 to 10 years would enjoy and get a great deal from this book and especially feel the dipping in and out aspect it offers will appeal to even the most reluctant readers. 

Our copy came from The Works. There are other books available in the series and I’ll certainly be adding those to our bookshelves.

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