Book Title: Amazing Islands (available here)
Author: Sabrina Weiss
Illustrator: Kerry Hyndman
Publisher: What on Earth Books
Publication Date: June 2020
Most Suitable For: KS2
Amazing Islands: 100+ Places That Will Boggle Your Mind is fantastic and I can’t wait to get it into the hands of the children in my school! The author has managed to pull off the feat of providing loads of information without the book ever feeling overwhelming. There’s something fascinating about islands, even though (or perhaps because) we live on one; an infinite variety of conditions from jungles to volcanoes to man-made prisons and airfields.
Whilst there is an environmental slant in some of the topics, this doesn’t overwhelm the text as a whole and keeps it balanced. It’s more of a celebration of all the wonders of our world: the animals, the natural features, the peoples, the buildings and stories. You could dip into Amazing Islands off and on for months and find new snippets of information to get excited over, making it ideal in a class library. I particularly liked the “Mystery Islands” section myself. Showing the book around a mixed group of children from KS2, they picked out sections on Galapagos, our own British Isles, and the prison island pages particularly (I think the latter especially appealed to Y6!).
Kerry Hyndman’s illustrations are the perfect accompaniment; detailed and joyful, but not so busy that they’re a distraction from the text. Animals and natural formations are carefully labelled, and the central fold-out world map is delightful, locating all the islands mentioned in the book. At the back is a glossary, a very helpful pronunciation guide, and a comprehensive list of sources. I would recommend Amazing Islands particularly for class libraries across KS2, and some of the topics such as man-made islands, vanishing islands and so on could easily be used as a stimulus for science, geography and DT topics.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to our Review Panel member for reviewing it.
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