Confession time: I am obsessive about Flying Eye Books and for good reason. The books they publish are always top notch and visually amazing. Whenever I see one I ultimately take the time to check in out and end up engrossed. Yet in my opinion what they do better than most it create fabulous non-fiction. At the heart of this achievement in Owen Davey with his cracking series.
Dedicating a book to a single animal and the various species provides the reader with a detailed, fascinating experience. Crazy information that explains the two suborders of octopus and explains how one of the most visually striking sea creatures uses it’s body to survive is presented on every page. I mean they have beaks! Who knew?
Other pages look at how the Octopus is represented in mythology, conservation, the more odd members of the family and my favourite ‘self-defence’.
Owen Davey presents such detailed information in a way that is so easy to access that children can become experts! Add to this the iconic style of artwork which uses solid shapes and bold colours to catch the eye and entice it to focus on the thought-provoking facts.
Now for the teacher bit. I’m a fan of fantasy, sci-fi and superheroes, yet when it comes to writing I often fall back on the real world. As the saying goes: ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ so it is a no-brainer to delve into the mental world of animals to create non-fiction texts. First off you get to sharpen the reading skills of your class. Personally, I like to shift my whole class reading to focus on texts that are filled with facts in a massively engaging manner. There is nothing better than when a child latches onto an insane animal fact – 3 hearts for an octopus anyone? After that the writing is much easier – ideas, information and presentation style is ticked off and modeled by the best examples you can find.
A non-fiction book also too cool for school! (I still took it in to share, but my word I watched it like a hawk so no other teachers stole it.)