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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Ecology and the Environment: Step-by-Step
by Francois Michel
Age Range: 9-11
Have you ever wanted to tell your children about the importance of looking after the environment? Have you ever wanted to explain about ecology or answer any questions your children have but found it difficult? François Michel has written the wonderful Ecology and the Environment Step By Step to explain everything a child could ever wish to know about the environment and how to protect it.
Beautifully illustrated by Marc Boutavant, this book covers every sub-topic that a child could possibly think of related to the environment and explains things simply and succinctly without over-dramatising or scaremongering. Every chapter of the book is devoted to a different topic and gives children the basic facts about each. Whilst some chapters are longer than others, no chapters drag on and the pages are broken up by large, colourful illustrations with amusing but informative captions underneath. Michel also tries to keep the book light by asking questions within his text that can spark off discussion or activity and he has included a quiz and some games at the end, as well as a really useful eco dictionary.
As well as being easy to use, Ecology and the Environment Step By Step is also wonderfully versatile in who can use it. Occasionally, Michel uses technical language and gives more detailed explanations suggesting that his target is the middle to upper end of primary, but there is nothing to stop parents working through the book with younger children and the simplicity and thoroughness would make it very useful to a teacher, as well as anyone simply needing a quick, basic answer.
Essentially, Ecology and the Environment Step By Step is an excellent all-around information book. The reason for this success is that it is well written, well-illustrated and easy to use, but it also follows the format of the best sort of information books. The pictures and words completely compliment each other very well, suggesting that author and artist are completely in tune with their aims for the book. This is especially apparent where Bouvant’s pictures stop some of the larger chunks of information from becoming big blocks on the page, particularly when the information occasionally becomes more technical. The book is really useful but if you want or need a simple, informative book about the environment and since it covers almost everything, look no further; you’ve found a one-stop guide.
Abby Phillips (2012)