Review Blog

Oct 11 2017

Busy builders: Airport by Timothy Knapman

cover image

Quarto Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381443
(Ages: 3-7) Airports, Airplanes. This presents as a largish box containing a small information book and materials to create a model airport. It includes very thick runway pieces that fit together like a jigsaw puzzle and cardboard pop-outs made of sturdy board. When opened out, the packaging box becomes the airport terminal and joins the runway pieces. The last part of the book contains the construction instructions, which are easy to follow with helpful illustrations. The construction is simple, mostly requiring engines and tails to be slotted in, etc. Children in the younger age group may need help with some of the smaller, fiddlier pieces but they will be interested in both the book and the airport and the models will mostly withstand their play. When the child is done with playing, the pieces can be packed back into the box and reassembled without too many hassles. There are lots of planes and extra bits and pieces (control tower, windsocks, baggage truck, etc.) for increased engagement. As the children assemble or assist in the assembly, they will learn lots of aircraft specific language and about different aircraft parts (e.g. blades, engines, fuselage, etc.). There is also a selective glossary at the end of the book for general airport terms such as arrivals, pilot and hangar.
The rest of the book has detailed illustrations and information about airports and air travel, including what happens behind the scenes (air traffic control, preparing the plane). The Information is clear and factual, often explaining to the reader what they need to do at each stage or area of the airport (e.g., 'Show your ticket and ID here to get a boarding pass...'). It also uses up-to-date terminology ('unless you have already downloaded one to your smartphone or tablet') and does not shy away from using proper terms ('the pilot turns on the transponder'). However, it is still manageable and uncomplicated, even for younger children ('This sends a signal to tell the controllers where the plane is'). Information is given in detailed illustrations and signs within them, speech bubbles, text boxes, labelled diagrams, etc. This publication will appeal to children of a wide variety of ages on different levels. Adults will easily be able to pick out bits of interest for younger children while older children will be able to read the book and assemble the model themselves. Information is organised under clear headings and with a logical flow. A contents page is also included. As an information book this is great but because it is more of an activity pack than just a book (and because the back of the book includes the instructions for model assembly) it is more suited to individual home use rather than to schools or libraries.
Nicole Nelson

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