Reviews /

5 Minute Nature Stories

Authored by Gabby Dawnay
Illustrated by Mona K
Published by Magic Cat Publishing

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5 Minute Nature Stories is a glorious collection of nine non-fiction stories told in rhyming verse. The stories focus on plants, animals (starlings, deer, frogs, stag beetles, bees and tiger moths) and fungi found in woodland and meadows. One of these engaging stories, The Magical Metamorphosis of Frogs, begins…

Down in the pond there are thousands of dots…

They are bubble-tea tiny, with little black spots!

They float on the surface

Like quivering blobs,

In a jellified jumble

Of thingummy bobs.

Following each story is a related information page. The information pages cover lifecycles (mushrooms, frogs and stag beetles), pollination by bees and photosynthesis. Some are more challenging in their scientific content than others, but concepts are well-explained and supported by clear diagrams. It is a super book to grow scientific vocabulary (mutualism, metamorphosis, transverse orientation) and an understanding of natural processes.  Did you know that crepuscular means an animal that mostly appears or is active at dawn or dusk? I was fascinated to learn that grubs spend up to seven years munching on rotting wood before transforming into stag beetles!

Following the information pages are invitations from the characters to read on and discover more. Now look at the spores drifting up through the air. But where are they going? Let’s follow them there… They do entice the reader to turn the page!

The illustrations are stunning, particularly of the flowering plants. You’ll notice the focus plants, animals and fungi appearing in each story. The more stories you read, the greater your appreciation becomes of how each species fits into the ecosystem. It’s one of those books that delights, as each time you read you discover something new.

This book would be ideal to read-aloud and talk about with children aged 6+.