As mentioned in my last post, I recently purchased this book (from the lovely ‘Octavia’s Bookshop’, in Cirencester) and I have barely been out of its pages since. My seasonal book box for C and H is actually taking shape quite nicely (more on that in an upcoming post) and this book is most definitely its centrepiece. I will be eternally grateful to @damyantipatel for the recommendation.
The size alone is impressive (C already refers to it as our ‘very special book’!) and this, along with its thick matt pages and perfect ‘book’ smell mean that it is physically such a satisfying item to handle, before you’ve even started on the glorious colour-soaked illustrations or beautifully written little vignettes on every aspect of nature which could possibly interest a child (or most adults, for that matter).
C has recently entered the enchanting ‘Why?’ phase of his childhood and incessantly questions every aspect of everything that EVER happens to him. As we spend a lot of time outside, this book has actually proved very useful as a simple but effective way for me to answer a multitude of nature-related questions. The book not only has poems on a whole range of topics, grouped according to season, but also has extras such as a recipe for blackberry crumble, a list of reasons to keep chickens and tips on things like saving seeds and making a bird-feed cake. I love books like this that are difficult to pigeonhole because they contain a little bit of ‘this’, but then a sprinkling of ‘that’ and more than a dash of ‘something extra special’. It feels like a scrapbook and I think that a lot of the illustrations fit that style perfectly.
Without further ado, here are some of the spreads that the boys and I chose as our favourites (though the selection process was lengthy and fraught – there are just TOO many to choose from!).
These are my favourite spreads from each season:
I especially like this last one, as the dog bears a certain resemblance to Emma Chichester Clarke’s little Plum (whose exploits are so wonderfully drawn by Emma on Plumdog Blog – one of my very favourite things on the internet!).
This is C’s favourite spread (you can’t actually see all of it as he insisted on zooming in so that none of you would miss that HOOK!):
This is H’s favourite spread – check out that tractor…:
Some of the ‘non-poemy’ bits that give me so much pleasure:
And last, but not least, here are my two favourite spreads. I have a teeny, tiny, not-in-any-way-bordering-on-obsessive thing for owls (and seahorses, actually, but I couldn’t find any pictures of those in here) so that is reflected in my choices. I’ve realised that quite a few books have owl illustrations hidden in them and now make a point of seeking them out. I can feel another series of themed blog posts coming on…
All in all, this is a superbly written ‘reference’ book that I know the boys and I will enjoy for years to come – HUGE loft treasure potential!