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Spectacular science

Unlike novels, non-fiction books don't always need to be read from cover to cover or in any particular order for them to make sense. In this way, they can often be less intimidating. A child can dip in and out of a book and be fully in control of what they read about. A book that offers a variety of topics in short bursts can be just the thing to get any reader excited.

'The Thing Explainer' is a graphic non-fiction book that explains how things work; from helicopters to a human cell. It is big, beautiful and unique. The author, Randall Munroe, uses line drawings and only the thousand most common words to explain how and why things work. In this way a helicopter becomes, 'a sky boat with turning wings'. Sometimes this can be a little confusing; a little like solving a cryptic crossword puzzle. Some readers may enjoy it, others not. I did. For example, in the section dealing with planets ('Worlds around the Sun'), I lost happy minutes wondering which planet was the 'smelly yellow moon' and which planet was the 'hot sky world'. I think a lot of children might find this play with words fascinating too.

Brilliant for science enthusiasts and a great book for kick-starting clever conversations between children and parents. It's ageless.

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