This is a book which seeks to awaken the ‘wild child’ within young readers as they are taken on a journey through natural worlds moving from familiar to less familiar habitats.
Each chapter focuses on a different environment beginning at home by simply looking through a window into the garden then gradually venturing further to the woods, the river and uplands. Perhaps suggesting a park as an alternative for those children who don’t have a garden would have been useful here.
Each chapter begins with a question addressed to the young reader; what will you discover, find, imagine or see in this place? The next pages evoke the eponymous wild child soaking in the experiences. The language is poetic with wildlife observed and described but not named at this point; a coal tit is ‘an acrobat’ or a ‘pendulum bird.’
The next double page is a clear and concise illustrated introduction to each of the creatures or plants spotted. Each section includes some general information which is mainly scientific eg classification of animals, migration, metamorphosis and propagation but also includes interesting cultural and linguistic information – collective nouns for different types of bird a ‘quarrel’ of sparrows, a ‘banditry’ of coal tits.
There are also practical ideas for things to make and do – such as how to make a bird feeder, and guidance for pond dipping. The back of the book includes a glossary and there are useful links for young enthusiasts who wish to find out more about wildlife or conservation.
Reminder to look after nature we are all guardians as well as seekers and ‘We should only leave the echoes of our laughter.’
Wild Child is well organised and easy to navigate. The design is very clear and attractive with beautiful artwork throughout making it a delight to turn the pages. Strategic use of photography enhances the how to make and do pages.
Written by an award-winning writer and naturalist and illustrated by an award-winning artist this is a lovely book with a perfect mix of poetry and information likely to inspire budding naturalists.