Age Range: 5-8
Author: Andy Markwick
A Cornish Tale enables teachers and parents of children between the ages of five and eight years to explore a range of habitats through an adventure story.
This book aims to enable children aged 5–8 and their parents or teachers to explore a range of habitats through an adventure story. The story follows the adventures of Tegan, a dormouse washed away from his Cornish home in a flood who befriends a fearless warrior squirrel called Aife. The two friends meet other animals and face many challenges in their quest to get Tegan safely back home.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Rob Ream, with drawings that explore animals in a range of habitats. After each short chapter, there are some STEM and English challenges, supported by the teachers’ guide, which is freely downloadable from www.stemconsultancy.co.uk. The guide includes additional worksheet sand information where necessary. The book challenges children to develop their vocabulary, including words such as coalesced, voracious and prelude. Some of the science, such as static electricity, is somewhat beyond what would normally retaught to 8-year-olds in an English school. However, there are lots of questions that would pique a child’s interest, such as ‘How are thunder and lightning made?’ and ‘What causes high and low tide?’
A Cornish Tale includes strong links to science topics such as rocks, life cycles, animals including humans, and living things and their habitats. I would like to have seen more opportunities for applying mathematical knowledge rather than simply using the context. For example, rather than finding the mass of all the mallard feather sin the UK, could children have been challenged to find out how many feathers are needed to make a down jacket for one of the characters? The story provides an excellent context for a number of science investigations, such as investigating material that could be used to make Tegan a non-slip pair of shoes or finding out which rock would be the most slippery when wet. I love the opportunities to make links between science and other areas of the curriculum and to allow science to be the context for math and English lessons.