This is the first time that I have seen examples from the higher bands that aim to introduce readers to some fascinating non-fiction subjects. The intriguing premise is that each is told from the perspective of two alien tour guides, Finn and Zeek, who are carrying out research about Planet Earth, to share with fellow aliens who have particular interest before planning a holiday to the unfamiliar planet. I know from experience that this approach works as it provides the chance to insert a friendly comment here and there which breaks down the density of information.
‘City Animals’ is one from the Turquoise Band and answers a query from Tik and Tok from Planet Sit-ee who want to know how they can see animals whilst visiting cities. The guide explains why some animals have come to live in built up areas with associated pros and cons for their survival and well- being. The interesting facts from around the world are supplemented with colourful photos interspersed with cartoon comments from the tour guides. I liked the double page showing the Chacma Baboons causing havoc in Cape Town, South Africa.
‘Food for Thought’ is one from the Purple Band which is a little more challenging but equally well designed and interesting. The familiar format means that a reader would easily be able to work through the different pages, perhaps with some guidance at first. Again – there is the opportunity to self- test vocabulary and knowledge with a quiz at the end.
The final two examples are from the White Band which is highest level in the series. The subjects of ‘Going Green’ and ‘Our Place in Space’ are more complex and the level and density of text has increased accordingly. However, this never at the expense of many carefully selected photographic illustrations which reinforce and add to the written information. This is an excellent series of books each one of which is jam packed with facts to provide a sound basis for further reading. Strongly recommended to encourage an interest in non- fiction.