Top Texts for June

​This month’s Top Texts are a non-fiction selection chosen by Heather Wright, from the brilliant Reading Rocks!

The Big Book of the Blue

​This book is an absolute beauty. It is part of Yuval Zommer’s series of Big Books and it certainly lives up to its name – big in size, big on facts and big on interest. It begins with an introduction to the animal families in the ocean: perfect for keen scientists. Throughout the book, we read lots of technical vocabulary and I love the ‘Fishy Phrases’ section at the back, encouraging readers to sound like an expert. The clever ‘can you find?’ challenge is a lovely little motivation to get readers scouring the pages, skimming and scanning. As they do, they will meet double-page spreads of sea turtles, seahorses, dragonets.. just to name a few. It is jam-packed with stunning illustrations and tons of facts. I like all the word play that Yuval sneaks in too! This is a fun, informative read, great for KS1 classes and perfect to link with plastic pollution themes (which Yuval nods to on the dolphin page.) If they have knowledge of the wonderful creatures of the sea, they will care about it.

Bonkers about Beetles

The distinct style of Owen Davey returns in this creepy-crawly focused book, one in the series of species texts. Now you don’t need to be bonkers about beetles to read it, but you’ll definitely love them a little more after you’ve crawled through the pages. The endpapers are the perfect start: just like pulling open a drawer in a natural history museum, eyes lighting up as you spy intricate, detailed bugs. Each page leads you on a journey to become a coleopterist, discovering types of beetles, their diet, habitat and much more. Owen is a master of beautiful diagrams. Readers will love discovering each part of a beetle, finding out about spiracles to rostrums, on a brilliant beetle design page. There is intrigue on each page sparking questions and new learning. On the ‘Weird and Wonderful’ pages, readers can meet some pretty and peculiar bugs, from the giraffe beetle to the harlequin beetle. The ‘To Scale’ page is fabulous as it throws in a bit of maths. Beetles are printed in real size, so grab your rulers! There’s a great conservation section at the end, showing the reader ways to help beetles. Now there’s a bit of interaction with a book for you! A great read for KS2 classrooms.


Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to read this awesome book! Meet Spyder: a secret agent known as 008 and she’s on a mission to save a birthday cake from a naughty fellow, code name Bluebottle. I love that it’s a female main character in this role. This funny tale is packed with humour for little readers and the grown ups too. Look out for the trouble ‘afoot’! This is a fun way to introduce minibeasts to your class and maybe take away a bit of fear of these 8-legged friends, sharing with the reader why we really need them. The James Bond style will appeal to children and the book just shouts out writing opportunities for children to become spies too. The factfile on the baddy, Bluebottle, could be mimicked for other bugs that cause a bit of bother. Spyder’s spy kit would be a great starter for children to write their own lists. The book ends with a spider facts WEBsite – a lovely non-fiction addition, and a spark to find out more. Matt Carr’s graphic style suits the book perfectly. A brilliant book for Reception classes and a fabulous bedtime read.


About this month's reviewer

Heather Wright is a primary school teacher with 14 years experience right across the primary age range. She has led many reading projects at her school, some of which have been celebrated with Educate Awards and a TES Award shortlisting. Heather brings together teaching colleagues from across the country at Saturday CPD events all about making reading rock for every pupil. She draws together the Reading Rocks community via the Twitter account. Heather is passionate about building a love of reading in all children and relishes an opportunity to share this passion with other teaching colleagues. Find Heather on Twitter @Mrs_iPad_W @_Reading_Rocks_