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Books: dinosaurs and more

It's difficult to imagine anything new could be written about dinosaurs. But humour can go a long way to giving something a fresh look. Did Dinosaurs Snore?: 100 questions about dinosaurs answered by Philip Ardagh (Faber and Faber pound;4.99, available from TES Direct, 020 8324 5119) uses wit to full effect, relating facts in a warm, quirky manner that reinvigorates and lends sparkle to a well-worn topic.

In similar fashion, Dinomania: things to do with dinosaurs by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrsm (Franklin Watts pound;9.99, TES Direct pound;9.49) creates summer madness with weird and wonderful dino stuff to make. The recreation of the volcanic eruption which brought dinosaurs to a sticky end involves basic science and lashings of tomato ketchup.

Activity books can be a godsend during the holidays if the activities are sufficiently absorbing but easily do-able. The latest batch of Usborne sticker books are just the ticket. Usborne Summer Activities (pound;4.99, available from TES Direct) include a variety of simple, well-designed painting, craft and baking projects that will satisfy children aged five and over.

Encyclopedias can be daunting, especially for children, but the Oxford First Encyclopedia (pound;9.99, TES Direct pound;8.99) is brief and captivating with expressive, lively illustrations, diagrams and photographs for the reader to keep returning to its various sections.

First Numbers (Usborne pound;7.99, TES Direct pound;6.99) and First Word Book (Kingfisher pound;7.99, TES Direct pound;7.49) would be excellent to dip into over the summer, especially for children moving into reception. First Word Book, with its range of vocabulary and colourful illustrations, is well researched and functions perfectly as a look-and-say book for toddlers or as a first reader for the over-fours.

A longer version of this review appears in this week's TES

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