Scratch and… Learn

Scratch and sniff has given way to scratch and learn. So I discovered the other day when I opened Ana Seixas’s book, Human Body (Wide Eyed, £11.99). I’ll admit I was a little sceptical. My daughter and I have both discovered plenty via a wonderful Usborne lift-the-flap title on the same topic. This book is simpler in its presentation, offering a series of bold, visually punchy spreads that don’t quite have the same level of detail, even though its front cover touts ’70 things to spot!’. But moreover, didn’t the scratch element make it a bit like a sticker book – children would whizz through it in seconds and never look at it again?

Well, to start with, the scratching takes a good deal longer than stickers. It’s accomplished with the help of a plastic stick and leaves crumbs of black all over the place (you’ve been warned!). But once it’s done, there are activities to show you how different parts of your body work, and the text is clear.

It’s billed as a ‘whistle-stop tour’ and is certainly that, but my three-year-old enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that came with revealing the hidden illustrations as much as the discovery itself, proclaiming the scratching element much better for a bigger child than flap-lifting. It’s also a book that in fact has been returned too.

Here are three other biology books we’ve enjoyed lately:

See Inside Your Body by Katie Daynes (Usborne, £9.99) With over 50 flaps to lift, its informative, funny illustrations simplify the workings of everything from the heart to the mind. The poo page is a guaranteed hit with the nursery school crowd.

Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton (Walker Books, £7.99) This book brilliantly braids a clear description of what microbes are with a friendly, awe-inspiring narrative. It’s packed with vivid, memorable analogies – a boon for any parent struggling to instil hand-washing!

Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins and Tim Hopgood (Walker Books, £7.99) Frogs, frogs, frogs… From the smallest to the largest, loudest and diciest, this picture-led book conveys a playful sense of wonder at the habits, habitats and life cycle of a much-loved amphibian.

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