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Earthly Treasure
by Kate Petty and Jennie Maizeis
(Eden Project)
The earthly treasure in the title is the minerals we get from the ground. Using cleverly designed flaps and pull tabs, the book shows readers where minerals come from, how we use them and how different life would be without them. The author and illustrator need to be congratulated for turning a potentially dry subject into a fascinating one. Although the book is not sturdy enough for the school library, it fits well with science for KS1 and KS2 and could be useful in the classrom or at home to fire children's interest in minerals and materials.
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Slow Magic
by Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by John Kelly
(Random House)
When Grandpa gives Polly some grass seeds, he promises to show her some slow magic that will turn the seeds into something warm. Over the following months, she plants the seeds and watches them grow into grass that's eaten by a sheep. After Grandad shears the sheep, she helps Granny wash, die and spin the wool and uses it to knit a scarf from Grandad. This well-crafted information story is a useful way to introduce the subject of materials and where they come from to primary age children. (KS1 and younger KS2)
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Glass by Nicola Edwards and Jane Harris
Paper by Nicola Edwards and Jane Harris
(A&C Black)
Each of these books uses clear, uncluttered photographs and straightforward text (including speech bubbles) to explore the material of the title.  The pictures show boys and girls carrying out simple investigations which children can repeat themselves and the text introduces a good range of useful vocabulary. Useful as a starting point for discussion and practical investigations at Key Stage 1.

Ages 5-7   (with thanks to Jan)
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   Plastic (same series, not reviewed)
   Wood (same series, not reviewed)

Rabbit's Wooly Jumper by Mark Birchall
(Andersen Press)
When Rabbit is given a new woolly jumper, she is determined not to wear it unless her favourite toy, Mr Cuddles, has one too. But when the jumper goes in the washing machine, it shrinks smaller and smaller until it's just the right size for Mr Cuddles. An enjoyable story that's useful for introducing the topic of materials and their properties. Ages 3-6
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