Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Today's read... Shells... and what they hide inside by Helen Scales

We've had some warmer days lately, which has me garden dreaming. Actually, I'm heading out to buy some seeds today and get the first seedlings started. It also has my kids vacation-dreaming, which usually includes water and shell hunting. No, we don't always go to the beach, but they manage to discover shells (and rocks) everywhere.

Today's read heads right down these lines and opens up to the world of shells. It's a board book with...and this always makes me excited...flaps! It promises tons and tons of flaps, which, I'm guessing, means the shells can be opened up. (Yay!)

Anyway, let's take a peek and see what treasures we can find.

...and what they hide inside
by Helen Scales
Illustrated by Sonia Pulido
Phaidon Press
Board Book Nonfiction
16 pages
ages 2 to 4


A richly illustrated, informative, and interactive introduction to shells for children aged 2-4 with over 40 interactive flaps In this board book companion to  What a Shell Can Tell , award-winning marine biologist and documentary maker, Helen Scales, introduces children ages 2-4 to the wonders of shells. With over 40 flaps to lift creating interactive opportunities on every page, stunningly lifelike illustrations, children are encouraged to observe, engage with, and understand a range of shells and environments. 
From where shells are found and who lives in them, to what a shell’s look and feel can reveal about its inhabitant and environment. The book expands on a child’s natural instinct for collecting things, nurturing their interest and curiosity in nature by giving them simple observation skills that will help them to explore the connections between objects found in nature and the wider ecosystem, as well as building their vocabulary. With a timely message of environmental stewardship combined with stunning illustrations, this book encourages children to explore and care about the world around them. 


Grab those buckets and bags because this one inspires to head outside and discover the world of shells.

This book is like going on a shell hunt with tons of surprises to find. From beaches to gardens, a variety of shells are explained and portrayed. Young readers learn that shells come in many colors and shapes, and can be found in more places than just along the ocean beach. To add to the fun, each shell can be opened (a flap) with more to discover inside. And there are quite a few flaps.

While this is a board book sold for ages 2 to 4, I'd recommend it more for ages 3 to 8. The board book style makes it robust, which works especially great for the flaps. The text is a little heavy for the youngest readers, but the slightly older audience will have no trouble understanding it. The facts aren't heavy, but rather, are more intuned to introduce readers to the variety and purpose of shells. The fun of discovering shells stays front and center throughout the read, and this is especially true with the flaps. Inside aren't just surprises on the illustration side but also hints, tips, and words of encouragement. 

The illustrations project energy, joy and life on every page.  The portrayed individuals are playful and full of smiles. The shells are large and detailed as their environment, habits, and more are shown. While many young readers will connect shells with the beach, this pushes beyond that and shows where they can, sometimes, even be found in the backyard. All of this is done in a gentle flow without heavy facts.

Shells, their variety, and the fun in discovering them come across on every page, making this a great read to inspire shell hunting or simply to get readers to discover more about the world outside. It works well for individual as well as group settings and can be used to inspire a project or used with a group theme.

No comments: