Book review: Fantastically Great Women who saved the Planet

Title: Fantastically Great Women who saved the Planet

Written and Illustrated by: Kate Pankhurst

Published by: Bloomsbury

Fantastically Great Women who saved the Planet

Fantastically Great Women who saved the Planet by Kate Pankhurst is a fun, creative non-fiction book containing snippets of interesting facts about thirteen inspirational women from all over the globe who have dedicated their lives to studying and protecting planet Earth and all its living things, making significant contributions towards improving the environment. It is part of a series of books celebrating female achievements.

Each of the women is presented in a double-page spread, which outlines where in the world they are from, their environmental beliefs and inspiration for their achievements, from the ‘shark lady’, Eugenie Clark, who inspired people to learn about the oceans and respect all underwater creatures; to Isatou Geesay who highlighted the problems of using plastic bags and encouraged people to recycle and use reusable packaging; and Daphne Sheldrick whose love and devotion to animals in Kenya inspired her to care for young elephants in the wild and go on to found The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

The illustrations and characterisations are bright and imaginative bringing the characters alive. They catch the eye and will keep young readers turning the pages. Throughout the book the emphasises is on how with determination and hard work anything is possible. Every page of the book contains the message that everyone can make a difference if they put their mind to it.

Fantastically Great Women who saved the Planet supports primary teaching in STEM and meets the requirements of the history programmes of study as it documents the lives of significant individuals who have contributed to national and international achievements. This book would provide an excellent springboard for encouraging pupils to research their own exceptional women, which could be made into a book or encyclopedia with their own illustrations or photos printed from the Internet. 

The snippets of information can be read in any order which is ideal for the child with short attention span who prefers to dip in and out of a book. At the back there is a glossary of words ideal for helping young enquiring minds with useful definitions with examples of using the words in context helping them to use accurately environmental vocabulary and give them a greater understanding of the related concepts.

It highlights important environmental messages in a fun and motivating way and would be the ideal gift for any child interested in the environment and an excellent resource to support topics on green issues, recycling and conservation. It could also be used for triggering discussion and encouraging empathy at home and in the classroom.

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