The Genius Kid’s Guide to Sharks

Ethan Pembroke. North Star Kids. (192p) ISBN 9781952455032
The Genius Kids Guide to Sharks

The Genius Kids Guide to Sharks

The Genius Kid’s Guide to Sharks is part of the series of ‘Genius Kid’s Guides’ that cover all sort of topics from Pro Baseball to Cats.

The book sets out to give lots of information on about a dozen species of shark from the Whale Shark to the Seal Shark and everything in between, with a small section at the end exploring in brief another dozen or so species.

The text explores the basics like size and shape, breeding, how they feed, and where they live, then has a bot about how humans interact with them, often talking a little about how humans exploit them though not in any great depth.

The book finishes with a chapter on shark attacks, which once more is not the most in depth exploration of this subject, then ends with a clear and useful index and glossary.

Written in easy and accessible language with lots of great images this is a great starter book for children wanting to learn more about sharks in a colourful way.

This is published on the 4th of October 2022 and you can always preorder if you feel interested.


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Wild City: Encounters with Urban Wildlife

Florence Wilkinson. Orion Publishing. (336p) ISBN 9781398701854
Wild City: Encounters with Urban Wildlife

Wild City: Encounters with Urban Wildlife

I received this book at work unexpectedly, addressed to me, which was fine as it felt as though Orion knew me and my love of nature, especially of the ways that humans intersect with nature.

This bumped it’s way right to the top of the TBR pile and I started reading it right after the book I was reading was finished (well abandoned a third of. the way through, it wasn’t all that) and I tore through it in a couple of days.

In this book Florence Wilkinson explores some basic habitats and explains what animals we can ind in those habitats, from foxes in the streets of our towns and cities to line-specific mosquito in the London Underground.

Each section looks at the different wildlife that inhabits those biomes and explains how this is being helped or hindered by human proximity and what we can do to help animals in these areas of our towns.

Florence brings to life with great enthusiasm not only these animals but the people she meets along the way who are involved in some way with these urban enclaves, recording, protecting, maintaining, educating, all the people she talks to come across as highly dedicated and single-minded in their pursuit of promoting and protecting their chosen species.

A wonderful paean to urban wildlife and how it enriches our lives, beautifully written and observed.


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I Belong Here

Anita Sethi. Bloomsbury. (320p) ISBN 9781472983930

I Belong Here

I Belong Here

When I first started this book I found the description of the racial assault and bereavement of a close friend so heartbreaking and being in a very sensitive personal space at the time I had to put it down to digest and flow through me.

I remember Anita tweeting what was happening on the Transpennine train at the time and was horrified but also heartened by the support that was shown on social media and was so pleased when I heard that this journey and exploration was going to be made.

I Belong Here traces not just the exploration of the North of Britain, but the exploration of the meaning of belonging. Belonging in both space and time, how we coexist with others and nature and the importance of this coexistence. How people have come to different places through time, exploitation, migration, and colonialism.

The meaning of trauma was also explored and Anita looked at how a reconnection with nature is becoming a recognised way of healing different mental health conditions, of bolstering resilience and of relieving anxiety.

The mix of the personal and the historical, the meandering prose often following the meandering of water, the comparisons of words used in the description of the body and the description of landscape gives the book a tone different from the usual travel/nature books but that tone is important. That tone is one of self-discovery, self-knowledge, and a return to self in the face of othering.

A wonderful read and I’m really looking forward to the next two of the series


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The Forager’s Calendar

John Wright. Profile Books. (400p) ISBN 9781781256220

The Forager’s Calendar

The Forager’s Calendar

I picked this up at one of our local shops in Barnard Castle, Oswell’s, as I always try to buy something whenever we visit and there’s usually a great little book selection about nature and the countryside.

I pretty much read this in two sittings it was that fascinating, especially since we had started to go out walking more due to the lockdown and had started trying to identify more fungi, plants, and animals on those walks.

The seasonal breakdown of the foraging guide makes it really handy and helps so much with identification as it separates species that may look similar and tells you when the most likely time for them to be more populous.

John Wright’s writing style is also really easy going but authoritative and helps with making you feel at ease with the subject and not overwhelmed as some foraging guides have made me feel in the past, it’s almost as though he’s there with you.

John is very good at pointing out the dangers inherent in foraging and the risks of misidentification and there’s a really good selection at the back of the book on poisonous species which I’ve read a couple of times.

Another keeper which hopefully will help me harvest more than wild garlic in this coming year.


If you want to help and support this blog you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.