13th April 2008 at 01:00

WHAT ARE.? SERIES. Caves, Geysers, Glaciers, Coral Reefs, Volcanoes, Islands. By Claire Llewellyn. Heinemann First Library pound;8.99 each.

What, how and sometimes where are the enquiry questions that start each of these titles, introducing key stage 1 pupils to the fascinating world of physical geography. If nothing else, the national curriculum has brought the magical world of place to the attention of the youngest learners. Teachers who wish to add graphically illustrated glimpses of the real world to library shelves, firing the imagination of young readers, will eagerly seek these six books.

The photographs are brilliant and carefully chosen, being neither too ordinary nor too puzzling. The level of tex is unusually appropriate given the quite complex ideas and concepts. Glaciers, Coral Reefs and Caves are particularly successful, simplifying explanations of erosion, accretion and solution without mentioning these words, yet retaining an acceptable degree of scientific accuracy.

Illustrations also include well-drawn graphics of such features as volcanic structure and the origin of geysers. Each book also has a set of satellite images of suitable examples together with maps of the same features. This is a great idea. But a simple world map locating the distribution of the features would have been even better.

Colin Harris

Colin Harris is a geography and environmental education consultant

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