How do you foster young children’s interest in the natural world ? This beautifully designed and produced book helps start the process by encouraging the careful observation of the plants, animals and weather conditions typical of each season. It provides interesting nature- based activities including: help the worker bee through the honeycomb maze; assign animals to the right family group; add the appropriate beaks to drawings of different birds and solving nature riddles. Part of becoming a young naturalist involves learning about the ways in which we categorise the natural world. Here helpful guidance is given on the identifying features of invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. But the aesthetic aspects – the sheer beauty of the changing seasons and weather conditions as well as the intricacy and attractiveness of living things – have been a concern of this author and illustrator. So we have exquisite illustrations of grasses, shells and leaves as well as many appealing pictures of creatures . These illustrations are a lyrical combination of artwork and photography and all have been created especially for the book. No picture banks used here! Poets illuminate our understanding of nature as well as scientists and so we find included Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Bed in Summer’ which captures a child’s yearning to stay up on light summer nights. I also like the invitation to fill in the spaces in the down to earth ‘Nature’s Code’ poem.
A fold-out wall chart shows the plants and animals associated with each season and would be a helpful resource in a nursery or early years classroom. But this book and wall chart package would also support a family helping children to learn more about nature by enjoying together the activities which are the backbone of what is on offer here. It has the charm and individuality of another era while also offering quality information and insight into the natural world. It is the sort of nature book I would have loved to have been given as a child.