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I spotted this book in the Book People's mailer that they send out to customers, and I thought it looked an ideal thing for my children so I ordered a copy for us to work through together.
My boys are lovers of the outdoors, and like nothing better than a good bug hunt out and about in the woods, and this book fits perfectly with that love of nature. Made by Usborne, the book is well thought out. There are two parts to the book. The first half provides a catalogue of animals and plants to look for, and the second half has 282 stickers to use as you find the item you have spotted.
The book is divided up sensibly into categories. These are: flowers and plants, trees, birds, insects, and animals. Within each section the first page tells you a few little general facts, such as the flowers and plants section shows a picture of a buttercup cut in half so the child can see all the features such as the petal, anther, sepal, stigma and style. Then, for each item you need to spot, there is a faint coloured picture of the item (which you stick your colourful sticker on top when you spotted it) and a small description such as where to find it, or how tall or big it grows. There is then space for you to write in when you spotted it, and where this was. The pages are a decent thickness to turn easily and write on, though biro can smudge on the paper quite easily.
My children were immdediately taken by this book. It is A5 in size, so it is small enough for us to take out and about when we go anywhere. I have found although they were pretty observant anyway, they are now always looking about to see what type of animal or plant something is, and even if we don't have the book out with us, they do then look in it when we get back and we add the item we've spotted.
We've had the book a few months now, and we have got a lot of the easier spots, such as poppies, buttercups, daisies, dandelions, worms, snails, blackbirds, and blue tits. we can see all these things in our local environment walking through our village. Some items are a lot more difficult, such as there are animals you would only see on the beach, or there is a good selection of butterflies and moths and also birds of prey. However, we have a trip to the local butterfly house in the next few weeks, and a trip to the beach in summer to look forward to, and we should spot some less common items there.
I really like this book. I think it could suit children of a lot of ages. Mine are probably at the younger end of the spectrum at 4 and 5, but I could imagine that any primary school aged child would have fun trying to fill this book. It is not a 2 minute wonder either, as you are going to take a long time to spot everything in here, and as we look back through it, it will be a nice memory of the things we did to find the things we spotted.
The only downside to the book is the quality of the actual stickers. Although colourful, quite thick and really pretty, they don't stick down that well. I have gone for the option of re-inforcing them with some cellotape, but then this looks a bit rubbish compared to what it should look like. It is better than our stickers falling out though.
I managed to pick this book up for less than £5, which is more than worth the cost in my opinion. I have seen it at £9 on amazon and £10 with Usborne. I'd be happy enough to pay that price, but just be aware of the stickers issue and that you can get it much cheaper through looking round. This is a lot of fun, and my boys have really enjoyed looking through it. I intend to keep it when we are finished to as a simple encyclopedia and a memory book.
If you buy it, prepare to spend a lot of time looking for items such as a 7 spotted ladybird. (Great fun trying to count all the spots before they fly off. )