The Explorer series is written as the detailed journals of secret agents who have been sent on an adventurous mission to discover the truth about our world. Three of these books are Explorer: Plants! and Explorer: Mammals! written by Nick Forshaw and illustrated by William Exley, and Explorer: Dinosaurs! by Christopher Lloyd with illustrations by Andy Forshaw.
Agent Osprey (Plants! and Mammals!) and Agent Eagle (Dinosaurs!) travel the world both in the present and the past to discover every detail about the topic of their assignment. Both are senior librarians of the Eagle-Eyed Explorer Club. They are told to submit their field notes and include a detailed timeline but most of all, they are to stay safe! There is also another book in this series about Bugs! which isn’t covered here.
Each book contains fascinating and useful information for 7-12 year olds about more than 100 examples of the chosen topic, from their first known forms to their descendants. At the end of each book there are some fun quizzes to test the reader.
Sometimes books with small print seem daunting but children who love non-fiction are often able to devour the most difficult of texts. With this series, there are topics which would appeal to many budding scientific minds. They would also have appeal for history buffs, telling us about the evolution of each topic and the famous explorers in each specific field. We discover where rubber, sugar and tea came from; how farming began over 10,000 years ago; and what we can learn about dinosaurs by studying the animals which are still alive today.
These information reports are excellent resources on their given topic and would greatly appeal to those children who prefer reading about the real world. The 1.8 metre timeline at the end of each book is particularly impressive and can be taken out and put on display, maybe in a bedroom or a classroom. Readers of this series are encouraged to become agents themselves, have a natural curiosity and, above all, ask questions.
This series of books would also be a great school resource particularly for use around the teaching of information text. They are clearly set out with headings, illustrations, fact boxes, index and glossary. A great addition to any library.
Reviewed by Sue Mauger