Friday, 15 October 2010

The insect book...

Zoe asked about the book we were using in yesterdays post, as you know I LOVE books and am more than happy to share our book love. I was thinking of setting up a page, like the tutorials one but with our book recommendations, would that be useful?

This is the book, it is one of a series, Ebi-kun has his eye on the dinosaur one, I have my eye on the amphibians the ISBN is 4-09-217203-6 and it cost ¥2100, he used money that Baa-chan had given him to buy it. I don't read Japanese very well but I think this is meant for elementary school kids (6 years and up)
It is really well laid out and had great photos, not only of the bugs but their eggs, life cycle and habitat. On the butterfly pages there are pictures of the caterpillar so you can figure out what kind of butterfly or moth will be. (remember this guy) 
The bugs that are similar are laid out side by side which makes identification easier. At the back of the book there are a couple of pages showing you how to catch various bugs and how to keep them so you can set up the right environment for them. We tend not to keep them but to send them to yochien, which I should add is encouraged, I don't know if that is a common thing here or, anywhere else for that matter.

The photos of the bugs are really clear and if the the bugs are small then they enlarge the picture but then next to it there is a grey silhouette so you can see the actual size. The information given tells you the name, what it eats, usual size (explanation on how to measure your bug at the front of the book), the area it is found in and the time of year you are likely to find it. A note about the language, Japanese uses 3 scripts, Hiragana which is the one children learn first, Katakana which is used for non Japanese words and Kanji  which are derived from the Chinese characters. If you look above the kanji they have the word written in hiragana so even children (or people like me!) who can't read the kanji they can still read what it says. The great thing about this is that the subconscious picks up on the kanji, Ebi-kun knows quite a lot of kanji just from reading his books.
For the main bug types they have a 'parts of bug' page too, I really think these books are great value for money, there is so much information and the pictures and illustrations are great. I don't know if there is an English equivalent, if you know of one please let me know.


5 comments:

  1. We have that same book, but ours technically belongs to DH!

    Off to the post office after lunch to send the postcards :-)

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  2. Wow, it really does look great. I love the very dense layout of photos - that's certainly how my kids like this type of book, really jam-packed and very visual It sounds like a brilliant range of information - I love the idea of the bit about catching bugs and setting up the right environment for them. One thing I would say in general about English language encyclopedias of this type is that we have tended to go for ones published for either teenage kids or adults - these books will have such a lifetime (I still use a natural history book I got given on my 10th birthday), and in general the reference books we've found for young children are so information-poor (I mean not much information rather than mis-information) and the attention to detail in illustration is often just not as good as in a book marketed for adults. So my tip when looking for a reference book is always to start in the "adult" natural history section first and only then go and check out the kid section, at least for English books where the script isn't an issue.

    And yes, you won't be surprised, I like the idea of a page with book recommendations :-)

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  3. I agree that many of the kids books lack real in depth information, when Ebi-kun was 3 the only thing he wanted for Christmas was a Japanese encyclopedia, one that was on the shelf where I took my Japanese class, he loved it, every week he would sit there for an hour with his nose stuck in it. Although the book is for teenage kids really, we got it and he was so chuffed, he still sits there with his nose stuck in it!

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  4. Ah, another book to covet, if only it were in English. Sad. What is it about bugs that fascinates kids so much? Our bug viewer (a little box with magnifying glass lid) is always ready for more ants, no matter how many times we've seen the same!

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