When We Went Wild

When We Went Wild
Isabella Tree and Allira Tee
Ivy Kids

This is prize-winning author, conservationist and rewilder, Isabella Tree’s first book for children. Herein she describes what happens when farmers Nancy and Jake decide to convert their failing farm (the animals and even the trees look sad), and whereon they use chemicals for crop growing and machines for milking and harvesting, for something totally different – a haven for wildlife.

Nancy’s idea so to do means they can sell off all the machinery and pay off their debts. Then it’s a waiting game: soon the bare earth is covered in wild flowers, brambles and bushes,

and their animals now roaming free seem much happier.

Their neighbours though, are far from pleased and write to the local paper complaining about the messy vegetation spoiling their view.

Will Nancy and Jake have to abandon their plans and return to conventional technology-led, intensive farming? Happily not. When a storm and torrential rain hits the village everyone prepares for the worst as flash-flooding strikes across the country but that messy vegetation helps to slow and absorb the rainfall and the village is spared. A lesson learned thanks to a near disaster,

and soon everyone is going wild.

Allira Tee’s digital illustrations for this thought-provoking, important book are beautiful and from the alluring cover, every page full of engaging detail.

On the final spread, the author explains what rewilding actually is and talks a little about its importance and her own experience. (The book itself is sustainably produced).

Eugene the Architect

Eugene the Architect
Thibaut Rassat
Prestel

Eugene the architect is obsessive about order, liking only things that can be arranged in a neat and tidy fashion in his tall, dark home. he is especially proud of his latest creation – a tall building with not a single curve in sight. “All the buildings in the city should be like this,” he tells himself.

Fridays are his day for visiting the site to check on the progress of his new construction, but on one such Friday Eugene arrives to discover that a beautiful tree has been blown over during a gale and now lies across the centre of what is to be his third floor living room.

Despite everything he’s believed in for his entire life, to the astonishment of the workers, the man orders that the tree, with its wealth of curves, angles and elegant proportions, be left exactly where it is.

Not content with that, from that day on, Eugene begins to look differently at everything around him, especially the natural world which he discovers, has a perfection of its own kind.

Ideas flow thick and fast and even the building site workers start getting creative.

Before long there’s been a total transformation, not only of the building, but also of the architect himself. And even better, Eugene has considered the entire town in his magnificent masterpiece.

Superficially fairly simple as this story with its delightfully quirky illustrations, might be, it is an invitation to readers to think about aesthetics, the built environment, and its impact on everyone and everything.