Beautiful. Exquisite. Stunning.
The first three words that spring to mind every time I have occasion to open 'A First Book of Nature'.
Originally given to Ru as a third birthday gift from Godfather Tom G. in June, Ru and I must have looked at it every other day since.
Well, first off, it looks like an art journal, travelling through the seasons, every page a complete visual delight. It looks beautiful, from the cold depths of the snowy winter lands right up to the warmth and joy of life in Summer.
I often find myself studying the pictures long after my children are
asleep, admiring and appreciating the tiniest details that my three year
old may overlook within the images. The illustrator, Mark Hearld, has excelled himself, his influences from Edward Bawden are apparent, an artist I myself enjoy. There are a few images that remind me of Nikki McClure's work too.
As for the text itself, it includes poetry, simple recipes, how-to's, factual information and inspiration for activities.
Starting with Spring, the book journeys through many topics including listening to a pond, bird migration and nesting, making compost and cherry blossom.
Summer brings us honey, caterpillars and butterflies, rock pooling, dens and five reasons to keep chickens (Number 1 is 'They look very silly when they are taking a dust bath.')
The colours of Autumn deliver wind, geese and acorns, worms, apples and berry picking, complete with pictures resplendent in the shades the time of year is known for.
Last, but by no means least, is Winter. Here, a fox runs through a night-time snowscape, save seeds, watch deer in the dawn and mull over naked winter trees.
This would be an amazing gift for any child, but especially for those from a home that follows and celebrates the seasons, perfect as a permanent addition to a seasons table.
I almost don't want to say any more, as all I can do is URGE you to buy this book as soon as you possibly can, and I will definitely be checking out Nicola Davies' other titles.
Buy This Book. Do It. You Won't Regret It.