5 Minute Nature Stories
Gabby Dawnay, illustrated by Mona K
Nine lyrically written stories about various key topics demonstrate the interconnectedness of the natural world. Starting with The Mystery of Mushrooms, poet and science writer Gabby Dawnay presents first a story and then the key facts about each of her chosen subjects. Her mushroom story begins with the distribution of spores scattered by the wind across the forest floor where, in the moss they start to create a network that grows and spreads underground until up pop a cluster of little mushrooms ready to start the cycle over again.
Making links with the underground mycelium by means of a partnership called mutualism, are the roots of the trees that also form an invisible subterranean web, we learn of in The Wood Wide Web.
Next to make an appearance is a group of Red Deer that forage on the fruits, bark and foliage of the woodland terrain that gives them a protective environment. These majestic creatures sing The song of the Deer, the chorus of which is, “This forest is ours / and together we’re strong. / In the meadows we roam, / in the woods we belong!”
Meanwhile, high up in the branches is a nest upon which sits an adult starling, until that is, three baby birds hatch from their eggs. Thereafter Mama Bird flies off to seek worms in response to their call for food. That she will do until some months later, they are ready to fend for themselves. Then comes The Flight of the Starlings as this story is called.
Other tales are of the metamorphosis of frogs, the amazing seven year long ‘feast’ of the stag beetle, the honeybee’s dance, photosynthesis as seen through the eyes of a little grey rabbit and finally, we encounter the tiger moth that uses moonlight to orientate and guide her nocturnal flight to find a mate – it’s called transverse orientation.
Each story is illustrated by Mona K whose natural world scenes are an appealing mix of realism and anthropomorphism. A lovely book to share.