A Duo of Children’s Books from DK Books

I’ve long been impressed by the quality of books provided by DK (Dorling Kindersley) and when Abi Walton sent a couple along for me to review I couldn’t have been more pleased. I’m delighted to share my reviews of both Look Out Leonard! by Jessie James and with illustrations by Tamara Anegon, and Dragon World by Tamara Macfarlane, illustrated by Alessandra Fusi today.

Look Out Leonard! will be published on 4th March 2021 and is available for pre-order through the links here.

Dragon World will also be published on 4th March 2021 and is available for pre-order through the links here.

Look Out Leonard!

Meet Leonard the clueless shrew in this hilarious story about getting lost in the jungle.

It’s moving day for the Shrew family, so Mrs Shrew has asked them to all hold on to each other’s tails tightly so that nobody gets lost! They set off in a long line, but wait, where’s little Leonard?

This picture book will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Leonard, who manages to grab on to anything and everything that isn’t a shrew tail!

My Review of Look Out Leonard!

It’s moving day!

What a lovely, lovely book for pre-school and nursery age children. The central message in Look Out Leonard! of keeping close to your family and not getting lost is an important once but it is told with humour in a manner that leaves young children educated but not traumatised! I can imagine young children giggling as the tiger is hit on the head with a coconut.

The story is an excellent length to share with a child in a quiet moment and is exciting too as Leonard travels through the jungle trying to catch up with his family. Children learn about animals as Leonard encounters the different tails, as well as the importance of family. Literacy and language learning are supported through onomatopoeia, repetition, alliteration and lots of questions so that children can respond actively in the reading.

Numeracy is also subtly included with numbers up to seven as the family count they are all present before setting off for their new home.

The illustrations in Look Out Leonard! are wonderful. Bright, vibrant and with a quirky cartoon style children will enjoy, they enhance the story completely.

Finally, I loved the fact Leonard wears glasses. As someone who has struggled with my sight since childhood, I found it reassuring that the hero of a story could wear spectacles.

Look Out Leonard! is a smashing book I have no hesitation in recommending.

About Jessie James and Tamara Anegon

Jessie James likes to walk through the hills and woodlands of the South Downs and dream up ideas for children’s books. She has written for New Frontier, Skyhorse and DK as well as Simon and Schuster under another guise.

Tamara Anegon attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008. Following this, she studied for a masters degree in art, creation and research, specialising in children’s and picture book illustration. She has illustrated several children’s books: Waggers (Sky Pony Press, 2014) and The Big Stink, Level 11 (OUP Oxford, 2017). You can find Tamara on Instagram,. or visit her website for further information.

Dragon World

Meet the fire-breathing beasts of mythology in this beautifully illustrated book brimming with scaled behemoths.

Lurking in every corner of the earth, from the deepest depths of the oceans, to the tips of the tallest mountains, even tucked beneath the very ground that you tread on, dragons watch and wait. They take many forms – sea monsters, serpents, wild cats, eagles, and they represent many different things; Gods to be revered, evil kings to be feared, wise friends and fierce foes.

Dragons have breathed fire into our minds since we could first imagine, but why do they exist in stories from every land in the world? Come in and explore Dragon World. Look into their lairs while they make shape-shifting mischief, playing with the weather and protecting earthly treasures. Soar across continents into tales as old as time. Prowl through the pages to discover rare dragon species. Find clues to track them and master how to draw them. Behold the earthly dragons of today!

My Review of Dragon World

An exploration of dragons.

What a glorious book! Dragon World is a high quality, sumptuously illustrated, beautifully presented book that will appeal to children of all ages. Indeed, the illustrations are stunning artworks in their own right and there is even a tutorial at the end of the book exemplifying how to draw a dragon yourself so that Dragon World supports art as well as reading and enjoyment.

Divided into four section exploring dragons, Dragon World is packed with dragon facts, vocabulary, brand new stories, myths and legends so that there are multiple layers of enjoyment for older children. I can see Dragon World fascinating independent readers and encouraging the less confident to do some dragon research on their own because the quality of stimulus is so interesting.

Although it is the concept of dragons that is obviously the focal point of Dragon World, so much more is packed into these pages. There’s nature and gemology, geography and history, evolution, language and art. I thought including an index so that children can learn how to access non-fiction books at the same time as enjoying Dragon World was an inspired touch. The unifying presentation of facts about appearance, dwelling, powers and traits also supports this. There’s sufficient content in Dragon World to support an entire term’s worth of learning in a KS2 classroom and to inspire and entertain individual children in the home.

I thought Dragon World was fabulous.

About Tamara Macfarlane and Alessandra Fusi

Tamara Macfarlane is the owner of the award winning Tales on Moon Lane Children’s Bookshop, Moon Lane Education and Moon Lane Ink CIC. She has over 15 years’ experience working with children and schools, and combines running the two bookshops with writing children’s books. She currently has series with Hodder, Simon and Schuster, Troika Books and Puffin. Tamara has judged many high profile book awards (Costa, British Book Award, Muslim Young Writers Award) and has given talks at Bath, Oxford, Sharjah, Chengdu and Hay literary festivals. Whilst setting up Moon Lane Ink CIC in 2017, Tamara was mentored by the University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Social Ventures. She is part of a diversity steering group for Booktrust, and has contributed to the Booksellers Association’s new diversity guide. Moon Lane Ink CIC is dedicated to raising equality in children’s Books: equality of access, representation and roles in the publishing industry.

You’ll find Tamara on Instagram and you can follow Moon Lane on Twitter @moonlanegroup.

Alessandra Fusi was born in Rome in 1984, where she attended the IED Institute of Art and Design, graduating in Illustration and Multimedia Animation in 2006.

Since then, she has worked as an illustrator of children’s books, puzzle games, and stationery products. As a painter, she has exhibited her work in various solo and collective art shows across Italy, Europe, and the United States.

She has a true passion for animation and loves all things illustration, so she’s always learning new things, as well as teaching them, through the courses and workshops that she organizes for her cultural association “Imagoblu”, based in Bologna.

Currently, she lives and works in Bologna, with her two loved ones: her boyfriend and her chubby ginger cat, Rino. She loves fairytales, tea, music, swing dancing, and cats (of course).

You’ll find Alessandra on Twitter @alessandrafusi and can visit her website for further information.

6 thoughts on “A Duo of Children’s Books from DK Books

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