In this series, pupils at key stage 1 will have their first chance to meet and begin to understand words such as particles and cell, plough and reservoir, metamorphosis and hormone. We see the world as it looks from outer space and we penetrate briefly to its molten core. In making that mental journey, children will begin to grasp the fact that what might seem like fascinating random facts are really parts of larger complex orders.
Water is seen to participate in a mainly predictable cycle; minerals and crystals are seen to emerge from comprehensible processes; the seasons are shown to succeed one another in patterns, however different these may be in tropical or temperate climates.
At the same time, we learn about human interaction with these given uncontrollable systems. We start to understand agriculture, medicine and mining as methods we have developed to cope with the world's apparent arbitrariness, methods that are ever needed and ever evolving.
People Around The World By Antony Mason Kingfisher pound;19.99
This attractive 250-page book is encyclopedic in scope, with larger sections devoted to each of the continents, these in turn being subdivided into regions such as the Baltic States or Central Africa. Larger or more powerful countries like Mexico, Korea and France each have their own three or four pages.
There isn't enough room in such a format to go into political, historical or cultural matters in great detail, but it's worth noting that readers - of upper primary and lower secondary ages - are encouraged to think about the problems of a united Germany, the impact of September 11, the civil conflict in Liberia, Sri Lanka and Sierra Leone, or the difficulties of the Cuban economy.
Statistics on individual countries cover such matters as life expectancy, population density and adult literacy rates. Hundreds of photographs, featuring stunning landscapes, handsome buildings and mainly smiling children, complete a mainly upbeat but essentially trustworthy reference resource.