Reviews /

The Brainiac’s Book of the Climate and Weather

Authored by Rosie Cooper
Illustrated by Harriet Russell
Published by Thames & Hudson Ltd

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I was glad when this book arrived; I will finally understand why there has been so much rain this year. The UK is a nation of people who talk about the weather, mostly because it’s so changeable. Although, it certainly seems the seasons can’t make up their minds who’s turn it is sometimes. However, there’s more to the weather and climate than a TV forecast, getting caught in the rain, or complaining about a wet lunch break and the classroom chaos that comes with it. The Brainiac’s Book of the Climate and Weather seeks to show how much more there is to it.

This book took me by surprise in some ways. There were lots of things included which I expected and some things I wasn’t. As you would expect, there is a lot of science. Sections include: Climate vs Weather, Climate Change, Ice and Snow, Clouds, Rain, Clean Energy, and The Wind. My favourite pages were the ones which taught me something I didn’t know. For example, the number of seasons depends on where you live. We have four, but north Australia has two and north America has six! I also loved the Ancient Ice pages, which explain how scientists can learn how the climate has changed over many years. The difference between snow and hail is also interesting and shows how each form. Likewise, how wind starts and why it’s windier on the coast.

What I wasn’t expecting was the more ‘fun’ facts about the weather such as ways people have travelled in the snow through history. Or different idioms used around the world for when it’s raining heavily. There are also numerous experiments children can do at home or in the classroom.

Every page is well designed and colourful, with a mix of illustrations and photographs. Photos showing cloud formations are really helpful and more useful when trying to identify them on your own. I would have preferred it if there were explanations of different weather systems around the world and how these affect different areas, including food production. I also felt it was too heavy on climate change. Although this is important and needs to be mentioned, there are plenty of books dedicated to this subject already. Parts in the book about energy use and how water is drawn up into plants felt out of sync with other pages about how weather works.

This is a really good book introducing climate and weather to young readers with activities and opportunities to learn for everyone. I would recommend this book for the whole of Key Stage 2, but it would be most interesting for perhaps those in the lower Key Stage 2.

Shortlisted for The Week Junior Book Award 2023 STEM Category