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Usborne Science Books Review

We are fast approaching exam season and thinking about the summer term and our children moving up to the next year group I thought it would be good time to post a review about some science books that may be useful to supporting you child in science or trying to enthuse and encourage an interest. As a passionate science teacher by trade I was kindly sent by Usborne  some Science books to review.

Usborne Look inside Science by Mina Lacey and Stefano Tognetti

Usborne says:
  • A fun and informative flap book introducing young children to the wonders of science.
  • Science topics from nature to forces and the human body are brought to life with colourful illustrations, flaps to lift, simple facts and fun experiments to try at home.
  • Every page holds a surprise. There are flaps under flaps, sliding tabs and even a mini booklet crammed with information on the planets.
  • Contains over 110 flaps
  • I think:

    This is the most carefully constructed book and is illustrated beautifully with a kinaesthetic approach to keep children interested. It covers subject matter mainly covered at KS3 with is secondary school years 7 – 9. I think it would be a beautiful book as a ‘starting high school’ present and would assist with homework and understanding. It would also be good for any child that has an interest in science as it opens up the concepts but does not go into lengthy explanations. It discusses concepts like magnetism, changes of state light and sound. My negative is that Usborne say this book is suitable from age 3 plus which I don’t agree with. My son will be three in June and however biased and bright I like to think he is, he would not cope with this book yet. The Flaps are very fiddly and he would rip them and the content is far to advanced to hold interest from three years old.

    What Science is all about? By Alex Frith, Hazel Maskwell, Dr Lisa Jane Gillespie and Kate Davies

    Usborne says:

  • An informative guide to physics, chemistry and biology, how they work and how they apply to everyday life
  • Covers all the key science topics including electricity, the periodic table and the human body.
  • Includes simple experiments and internet-links to recommended websites to find out more.
  • Illustrated with humorous drawings, cartoons and diagrams by Adam Larkum
  • I think:

    This book is superb! It is well written and constructed and pitched to the appropriate level, aiming for KS3 to KS4 (14 – 16 year olds). The book covers a lot of content required for KS4 GCSE or BTEC course and would make a lovely revision guide or extra reading. Again it is a lovely book for students that just have a love of science and want to learn more. The illustrations and diagrams are good and it also includes some experiments that are simple to conduct at home. Very impressed with this book.

    Usborne Beginners

    How Flowers Grow by Emma Helbrough

    Usborne says:

    • Usborne Beginners are colourful information books for children beginning to read on their own.
    • Vivid, full colour illustrations and photographs on every page, accompanied by short, informative text.
    • Developed with reading experts at the University of Roehampton.
    • Carefully selected Internet links to exciting websites to find out more.
    • Great reading practice for children who prefer fact to fiction.

    I think:

    This book is beautifully illustrated and set out. According to the Usborne website it is aimed for readers from KS1 age 4, however after some discussion between myself (high school Science teacher) and another primary school teacher the reading level seems more appropriate for age 6-7 yrs (this is still KS1), however the content is much more advanced KS2 level. I think if you have a higher achieving child then this would be ok, but otherwise they may struggle with the comprehension.

    I think this book would be more suitable for children that have difficulty reading but their understanding is greater, so for example a pupil aged 8-9 with a low reading age. This book would be excellent at keeping them interested becasue you tend you find children that struggle with reading get very annoyed that books are too ‘babyish!’

    Your Body by Stephanie Turnbull

    Usborne says:

    • Usborne Beginners are colourful information books for children beginning to read on their own.
    • Vivid, full colour illustrations and photographs on every page, accompanied by short, informative text.
    • Developed with reading experts at the University of Roehampton.
    • Carefully selected Internet links to exciting websites to find out more.
    • Great reading practice for children who prefer fact to fiction.

    I think:

    Again another beautifully illustrated and attractively set out book. Again aimed for age 4+ I do think it is too advanced in terms of mixing reading age with comprehension. I think the content is aimed more for KS2 year 5 and 6 (ages 9-11) as it contains sending messages from the brain, introduction to the kidneys and your muscles. At KS1 children are just discussing the body and its parts, not how it works.

    Both these Usborne beginners books would be a fabulous addition to any home library and would assist with homework and be a fabulous book for pupil who do prefer factual information to stories, but they would need to be of an appropriate age to comprehend the facts.

    Any of these books would be lovely addition to any home study library but I think you will need to consider you owns child’s reading age and link it with their academic ability to ensure suitability. Another more positive option is to read together (parent and child) and share the learning.

    Note: The product in this review was supplied free of charge for review purposes. However the views expressed are my own honest opinions. No financial reward has been given.

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    1 comment to Usborne Science Books Review

    • Hayley C

      Think I might try the Flower book and the Your Body book with my class – teaching year 4 this year! They all know the organs and their functions and how muscles work – in fact the bit they enjoyed the most was learning about how the brain sends messages x

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