'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 21 July 2011

KBR Recommends: Fabulous Non-Fiction

We are so in love with non-fiction books at KBR. The style, the cleverness, the illustrations, the photos, the concepts - there are some truly brilliant information books out there - and kids just love them, too. Here we present some of our favourite non-fiction finds for your perusing pleasure, from cookbooks to art, fashion and monsters. Enjoy.

My Monster Notebook looks like one of those precious creations you did in high school with your mates. A wild collection of notes, scribbles, cartoons, comments, stickers and nutbag craziness kids just adore.

Looking through it is like stumbling across your best friend's deepest secrets - you want to peruse but feel almost guilty because you know you shouldn't be looking.

We've actually filed this book under non-fiction, despite much of the work being 'fiction'. The reason we did this is because My Monster Notebook is truly unique. Scrawling the notes and scribbles are two fictional characters - or are they? And given the fact the scribbles are throughout a book on Greek Mythology, doesn't this qualify as non-fiction?

Whatever it is, this book is a load of fun and the perfect tome for artsy or creative types - or kids who just wanna have fun.

Title: My Monster Notebook
Author: John Harris
Illustrator: Mark Todd
Publisher: Thames and Hudson, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: May 2011
ISBN: 9780500515709 
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 6 - 14
Type: Notebook

It begins in 1865 as a romantic idea, but ten years later Édouard Laboulaye’s dream catches fire. Sculptor Auguste Bartholdi gives the dream the form of a lady, holding a torch to "enlighten the world."

Engineers, plasterers, carpenters and coppersmiths work together to turn the lady into a monument more than 100 feet tall.

Joseph Pulitzer calls on readers to help fund a pedestal, and hundreds send in nickels, dimes, and even roosters for the cause.

Doreen Rappaport’s poetic vignettes and Matt Tavares’s magnificent images remind us of the origins of a national symbol—and show that it took a lot of people to make the Lady.

This is a unique, clever and beautiful book - a must-have for school libraries.

Title: Lady Liberty: A Biography
Author: Doreen Rappaport
Illustrator: Matt Tavares
Publisher: Candlewick Press, $16.95 RRP
Publication Date: May 2011
ISBN:  9780763653019
Format: Soft cover
For ages: 6+
Type: Picture Book, Junior Non-Fiction

This easy to follow cookbook is the ultimate guide to teaching children from the age of four and over how to cook. Tying in with her new TV series, Annabel's Kitchen, this step-by-step book for beginners demonstrates how to cook simple but tasty dishes in a fun and accessible way – with appearances from the shows loveable characters, Jimmy the Penguin and a trio of Singing Cupcakes!

Featuring dishes from all over the world, the book shows how cooking can be a fun family activity, while stressing the importance of a healthy diet and introducing new flavours. The recipes range from leek and potato pies, sunblushed tomato and basil risotto cakes, to naan bread with sultanas and a mouthwatering bread and butter pudding.

Title: Annabel's Kitchen
Author: Annabel Karmel
Photographer: Dave King
Publisher: Ebury Press, $35 RRP
Publication Date: 1 July 2011
ISBN:  9780763653019
Format: Hard cover
For ages: 6+
Type: Cookbooks

This book is so full of completely crazy facts that you'd be forgiven for thinking they weren't true.

Discover such mind-boggling miscellany such as: How 21 people once drowned in treacle. The doctor who deliberately swallowed his patients' puke. Why babies were once kept in cages. How to hypnotise an alligator. What a 'snollygoster' is. Who took 55 years to finish his Olympic marathon run. What objects hundreds of children get stuck up their noses every year!

Dive in and be completely flabbersmacked, gobghasted and possibly even bogglewildered!

Title: Why Headless Chickens Run and Other Crazy Things You Need to Know
Author: Michael Cox
Publisher: Scholastic, $12.99 RRP
Publication Date: July 2009
ISBN: 9781741699791
Format: Hard cover
Type: Junior Non-Fiction, Information

This boxed kit is an exciting resource that combines learning about the world, maps and mapping with paper craft fun.

The box contains a CD-ROM, book and globe that together let you create your own world views to print out and wrap around the globe.

Kids can also fold them - origami-style - to create their own 3D models of our planet.

Kids entranced by geology and space will particularly love this set and it would make a priceless addition to school libraries.

Title: Globes in a Box
Author: John Peacock
Publisher: Ilex Press, $29.95 RRP
Publication Date: May 2008
ISBN: 9781905814367 
Format: Soft Cover
For ages: 8+
Type: Novely

With a full title of 501 Fun Facts, Weird Trivia and Amazing Lists on Nearly Everything You Need to Know!, this is the type of book that has any kid, big or small, foaming at the mouth.

The authors must have had a lot of fun putting this book together - with everything from how to say "where's the toilet!?" in different languages to the numbers on big body parts (longest nails ever? 7.51m, biggest nose ever? 8.8cm).

The book's pages are colourful with fantastic typesetting and graphics that will make a kid-peruse through these fascinating facts even more fun.

Title: 501 Fun Facts
Author: James Buckley Jr and Robert Stremme
Publisher: Scholastic, $12.99 RRP
Publication Date: July 2009
ISBN: 9781741696837
Format: Soft cover
Type: Junior Non-Fiction, Information