The Variety of Life

Lorna Scobie’s beautiful illustrations bring this book alive. Working in watercolour, she has created realistic drawings of mammals, birds, fish, insects and plant life, but all have an engaging picturebook quality that will encourage the reader to imagine the animals outside the book. This engaging quality is fully realised by the storytelling features of the accompanying narrative. Drawing on her background as a zoologist and skill as a writer, Nicola Davies has written a direct and deceptively simple text that introduces her readers to conservation biology and shows why naming species helps to conserve them. The final double-page spread is the best visual representation of the tree of life I have seen in a long time; simple, beautiful and informative, it will have creative readers reaching for their colour pencils.

In an offering reminiscent of the Welcome to the Museum series by Big Picture Press, Davies and Scobie have combined to create a large format book that is a joy to read and to look at, but even more impressively they have combined to give young readers a gentle introduction to the ever-present threat to the biodiversity of our planet.

Yes, you could probably look all this information up on the internet but only after hours of searching and how boring is that! Much more fun to curl up and turn the pages of this beautiful book finding out about our amazing world. Suitable for independent readers but perfect for older children.