The observologist: a handbook for mounting very small scientific expeditions by Giselle Clarkson

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"Observology is the study of looking. An observologist makes scientific expeditions, albeit very small ones, every day. They notice interesting details in the world around them. They are expert at finding tiny creatures, plants and fungi.” p4

So begins this quirky and unique non-fiction book. For both children and adults, this is an interestingly presented book for the curious, those who love to spend time deeply exploring their environment or those who are just being in the moment mindfully observing what is happening around them.

With a very appealing cover showcasing an enlarged green fly, the book is set out in five sections: Observology, A Damp Corner, Pavement, A Weedy Patch and Behind the Curtains. Each section contains graphic-style illustrations, speech bubbles, bold headings, labels, diagrams, and information both handwritten and typed. There is plenty of ‘white’ space on each page surrounding the information and illustrations plus a gentle use of colour in soft tones throughout. At the end of the book is a humorous ‘final exam’ plus a certificate to qualify as an Observologist as well as a very detailed index.

The Observologist has much to offer readers both young and old. The opening chapter looks at the Principles of Observology as well as preparing to begin the journey of observation. There is information about where humans evolved from, scientific names, what instruments are needed, drawing and labelling what you see, and a discussion about invertebrates. Chapter Two heads into what can be seen in damp places. This includes slugs and snails, fungi, woodlice, centipedes and millipedes. Each of the five chapters contain a wide range of interesting facts presented with humour and complemented by cleverly drawn diagrams and images.

This fascinating book will be a valuable addition to a home, school or public library. It will appeal to children who love books about the natural environment as well as those who favour the more visual format of a graphic-style presentation.

Themes: Scientific Expeditions, Observation, Natural World, Creatures, Plants, Ecology, Anatomical Terminology.

Kathryn Beilby