Grow, Tree, Grow!

Grow, Tree, Grow!
Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou
Graffeg

The fifth in the Wild Wanderers series is every bit as good as the previous titles; in fact as trees are my number one thing in nature, this, with an Oak tree as its main focus is my favourite so far.

In his wonderful lyrical text Dom describes how in the forest as winter departs, an oak sapling is slowly growing to become Tree. All around minibeasts, rabbits and larger creatures are hunting for food to survive.

Many years later we see Tree has become a safe haven – ‘a canopy-guarder / a sanctuary for all to share.’ All being squirrels, woodpeckers, birds, bats, spiders and badgers. 

Growing in the forest too are other trees – chestnut, ash and beech, each helping to keep the atmosphere clean, … ‘and branch is to sky / as root is to earth so // grow, Tree, grow!’ urges the narrative.

Seasons come and go bringing changes in the form of acorns within each of which lies another potential oak, but squirrels have designs on these goodies so Tree must make more and yet more till they’re ready to fall. The ground though is shared with acorn-loving pigs but they are not the biggest danger: that is the people who chop down the precious trees to make room for towns full of houses, shops and traffic.

Is it possible that a thousand years have passed since Tree’s tiny sapling started to grow; it surely is, but nothing in nature lasts for ever. Even an oak as majestic, as awesome as Tree must eventually die and now its time has come so, ‘rest Tree, rest.’ while all around new life springs forth and the wondrous cycles of nature continue – each to each returns its need and life goes on.

The web of life that is harboured during the lifetime of an oak tree is brilliantly caught in Anastasia Izlesou’s intricate tracery of lines and shades of russets and greens. Simply gorgeous!

Blow, Wind, Blow!

Blow, Wind, Blow!
Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou
Graffeg

This is a new addition to The Wild Wanderers series.

Who wouldn’t want to be swept up in the breeze and follow Wind on a lyrical journey as it gains heat and strength from Earth and then continues on its way scattering ‘leaves like a sneeze’, moving on to turn Dutch windmills,

lifting up a balloon in Paris, travelling on across the still, quiet Pacific towards the deserts of Africa creating sandstorms in its wake as it goes on across the Atlantic, cyclonic now

wreaking havoc in Florida until, cooled by a cold blast from the Andes, Wind gradually calms, gently dispersing seeds

till finally it’s all blown out and ready to find a place to rest …

With its repeat refrain, ‘Go further, go farther / grow big and grow strong and / Blow, Wind, Blow!’ readers and listeners are treated to an exhilarating worldwide adventure related through Dom Conlon’s poem that in combination with Anastasia Izlesou’s powerful images of the elemental force and the consequences of its movements, create a mesmerising fusion of art and science.

Youngsters will love joining in the words that urge Wind to go, blow or slow in this book that has great classroom potential, but first and foremost share it for its own sake.

Swim, Shark, Swim!

Swim, Shark, Swim!
Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou
Graffeg

In the second of this Wild Wanderers series we join Shark – a blacktip reef shark – in an exploration that takes him on a long, long journey through the oceans of the world searching for a home. Seemingly it’s an almost circular swim that starts and finishes in the waters around Australia.

On his journey he encounters all manner of marine creatures including penguins and a tiger shark off the southern Cape of Africa,

and an angel shark in European waters.

There are blue sharks, octopus and squid in North American waters while off South America lurk Hammerheads. In the Pacific he sees dolphins, humans and in the kelp forest a Great White shark. Off the coast of Hawaii manta rays and green sea turtles dive and dance; 

then finally there is the Great Barrier Reef and a host of other blacktip sharks all of which help the reef in its struggle to survive.

Totally mesmeric is Dom Conlon’s poetry of motion, which cleverly weaves a sub-aquatic non-fiction story that is ideal for sharing with children either in KS1 or KS2. Anastasia Izlesou’s visual images too, transport readers and listeners to an underwater world of wondrous richness and beauty.

As well as the factual information contained in Shark’s odyssey there is a map tracing his path and a double spread of facts about sharks and the other marine animals.