Reviewed by Hannah Chan
This book is absolutely beautiful, eye catching to both children and grown ups. From the minute it arrived, the colourful images on the cover drew the children in. The cover itself shows exactly what the book is about, so whether you can read the title or not you get a feel of its content.
It is written by Wolker Mehnert and translated from German, it is a large, hardbacked book, over A4 sized but not quite A3. Due to the size of the book, the pictures can be much larger and they cover the whole of the pages. This is engaging for readers as well as meaning they can fit a lot more detail onto the page. There is also a larger fold out map when you come to the Nile River, which again is beautifully drawn and informative.
This book is directed at children aged 8-12, saying that though even my 5 year old loved it. He spent a good hour lying on the floor looking at the beautiful illustrations by award winning Martin Haake and although he couldn’t red some of the words, the short and snappy explanations really resonated with him. It is printed on thick paper too, so I feel confident he wont damage the pictures when he turns the page. He regularly returns to the book to see which animals live beside which rivers.
The Book itself is climate neutral and printed on recycled paper which I think is an amazing move forward for books, plus…It has that real earthy, booky smell too! Odd I know but I notice things like that. It starts off with a colourful yet rough drawn map of the world, showing exactly where the rivers looked at in the book are, and showing just how large they really are. It is fascinating and even as an adult I really appreciated this illustration.
The book focuses on 18 rivers from each of the five continents. Each river has its own description, saying where it is, how long it is and a little about the rivers history. It touches on why the rivers are important to the communities and areas that it passes through and gives an over view of the health of the river itself. It The education value of this book is massive, they really have packed a lot of information into the pages. There are even hidden details in the pictures which are fun for the children to spot and invokes more questions.
I asked my children (aged 5,8 and 12) and they all said that their favourite page was the Nile, which was the pull out 4 page spread. My 5 year old gave me a really good description of the river showing that he understood the text we had read, he loved in particular the detail on the illustrations. My 12 year old loved how easy it was to see the countries it flowed through, giving a better idea of its immense size.
After researching the author, it seems his other books are in German but he seems to favour looking at explorers, a couple in particular are referenced in this book which makes me feel this book has been well researched and accurate. This is important with so many other books nowadays being out of date or not giving full information. It would be perfect for classrooms, and cover many different aspects of learning from art to science!
It would be great for Science week, and really fits the age range well but like I mentioned before, younger and older children and adults can appreciate this book.
I think this book is excellent value for money taking into consideration the educational value, the work that has gone into it and just how beautiful it is.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I really can’t fault it at all!
This product can be purchased from Prestel Publishing here.