A First Book of Nature
Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld
Walker Books pbk
The “Rrrrruurrrrp. Rrrrruuurp. Rrrrruuup.” of frogs in the pond, the making of compost,
the sunlight shining through the raindrops in spring; the summertime buzzing of bees in the sleepy sunshine and the trickling tide creeping into rockpools; the floating, swirling leaves of autumn and the silver sea of spiderlings;
the naked winter trees and the show of stars on a cold night: all these and much, much more can be found in this truly stunning, lyrical book. So accurately does it capture the experiences – visual and aural – of a child’s journey through and interactions with the seasons, be they in the city, countryside or by the sea that it makes the reader – this one certainly – see, hear and smell those experiences too.
‘Without a sound the flowers call out.
They shout to insects with their colours, …
Just here is where you’ll
Find the nectar.’
Here, Nicola Davies, (also a zoologist) makes us use our ears to experience, what we usually see.
Mark Hearld uses a variety of materials and techniques in the illustrations making every page a joy to behold. His ‘Nesting’ has real straw pieces both in the beak of the bird and the nest she’s constructing, and the birds’ plumage is made up of a variety of printed papers;
beautifully child-like in keeping with the book as whole experience and in its seeming simplicity, not unlike things I’ve watched young children create.
So, read the book, buy the book, share the book,
give the book; do all of these but most importantly, go outside, preferably with children (or as a child) and LOOK, LISTEN and SMELL the natural world in all its glory. DISCOVER ANEW and WONDER …
There’s a veritable goldmine waiting to be found both within these pages and without …