Who Owns the Woods? / Above and Below: Sea and Shore

Here are two recent picture books about the natural world from Little Tiger – thanks to the publishers for sending them for review.

Who Owns the Woods?
Emily Hibbs and Jess Mason

A boy and his grandma go exploring in the woods and as they walk, the child asks ‘who owns’ various natural things. Could it be one of the tiny animals they stop to observe – the spiders spinning their webs perhaps, or the butterflies with their beautifully patterned wings. 

Perhaps the woods belong to the magnificent stag, a fox or … maybe the boy himself is the owner of all those magnificent trees.

Not so, says his wise grandma; nobody can claim ownership of this particular area of woodland forest with its wealth of awe-inspiring flora and fauna; it is there for the enjoyment of every single person and moreover, as the boy himself confirms, it needs to be shown respect and treated with care.

What is needed is stewardship not ownership; that is the key message in this book beautifully illustrated by Jess Mason. Her scenes truly evoke the magic and tranquility of these special places. I really like the way the branches of the trees speak to readers serving to re-inforce the all important theme of Emily’s Hibb’s text.

Above and Below: Sea and Shore
Harriet Evans and Hannah Bailey

Now published in paperback, this is one of an excellent spilt page, lift-the-flap natural history series; it explores ocean habitats below and above the waves taking readers to such locations as the coastline, a sub-aquatic kelp forest, polar oceans and an estuary. There’s a visit to a tropical shore, a coral reef, a mangrove swamp and more.

The information comes in bite-sized portions making it accessible to EYFS and KS1 audiences. Children will be fascinated to discover that for instance, a lobster tastes with its legs and has teeth in its stomach and that in the forests of a mangrove swamp is a grey-headed flying fox with a wingspan of 1.5 metres, making it one of the world’s largest bat species.

The spilt pages work well providing as the title indicates, above and below views of the locations featured, each being beautifully illustrated with lots of detail: there’s so much to see.

This is a book that celebrates the natural world and gives a real sense of the sheer diversity of life in our oceans and rivers and on our shores.

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