This is a superb pack for space enthusiasts age 7 to 12 and the wide range of books included really covers the subject comprehensively. Unlike the pack for younger children, the books are all non-fiction. The quarterly magazine included is themed ‘Let’s Explore the Solar System’ and introduces all the planets, along with their moons, plus asteroids and comets. There are also articles about Galileo and Newton and their discoveries, as well as a quiz. A pack of Usborne Spotter’s Cards 100 Things to Spot in the Night Sky offers plenty of encouragement to go outside and marvel at the wonders of space, with illustrations of the constellations plus information cards; these cards are all packed with information succinctly and usefully presented. Children will relish the novelty of the two iExplore books (iSolar System and Into Deep Space), which include stunning augmented reality experiences accessed through the free app. They will be fascinated to learn about life in space in the Usborne Official Astronaut’s Handbook which really takes a good look at the life of an astronaut. 100 Things to Know About Space is actually for more than 100 as there are 100 pages each answering plenty of questions.
Readers at the younger end of the spectrum will enjoy the Lift-the-Flap Questions and Answers About Space. There’s also a book (a US publication) about Isaac Newton, rounding out a varied selection of books. Finally – and children will love this – there’s a Moon Torch which projects a clear image of the moon when used in a darkened room. The only duplication with the Junior pack is the pack of freeze-dried ready-to-eat Neapolitan Ice cream, but that was fine as we have two home-educated children and the food provided a great snack when learning about space. This is such a great inclusion – it’s unusual and unexpected and proved a real talking point and lead-in to discussing life in space This massive pack costs is £70.37 and offers many, many entertaining and educational hours of reading and activities.
Wonderkid and Wonderkid Junior are available as quarterly subscriptions. Wonderkid is £43.65 a quarter or £168.35 for a year and Wonderkid Junior is £34.74 a quarter; and £134.72 for a year (prices correct December 2018). Sign up here for your subscription. You can also buy past editions from the website which is excellent if you (or your child) spot a particular topic of interest. Other bumper packs include Robots and Ancient Greece; Wonderkids editions include Dinosaur, and Insects, Bugs and Creepy Crawlies; Wonderkids Junior include Dinosaur and Ancient Greece (there’s no overlap between the books and games included in the Wonderkids and Wonderkids Junior editions). The booklets that accompany the packs add real value and are very well produced with careful attention being given to making them age-appropriate. It would be good if they included some hands-on activities though, maybe a craft or an experiment to support the topic. Overall, though, these packs are quite exceptional and the three-monthly subscription gives children plenty of time to get to grips with one topic before moving on. Highly recommended for inquisitive children and to encourage learning and generate a sense of wonder.