Having a degree in Zoology, it is a real joy for me to see my girls developing a love of animals. Our recent visit to Dudley Zoo stimulated a conversation with Freyja about endangered animals. We looked at snow leopard together and I explained to her how lucky we were to be able to see it as there are so few left in the wild. We talked about why, and it was so sad to see the confusion on her face about why anyone would want to hunt them, but really important that she starts to appreciate the importance of conservation and our place in the world.
A couple of weeks ago we then received a really lovely surprise in the post – a copy of “The Wonder Garden” by Kristjana S Williams and Jenny Broom, published by Wide Eyed Editions. You are invited to:
“Wander through the Wonder Garden and explore five extraordinary habitats. Here you will meet real-life animals in fantastical environments that are inspired by nature.”
The book covers 80 animals, both invertebrates and vertebrates in 5 different habitats from 5 different continents, which highlights the vast biodiversity on this planet. The five ecosystems explored are The Chihuahuan Desert, The Amazon Rainforest, The Black Forest, The Himalayan Mountains and The Great Barrier Reef. Each chapter starts of with a description of the habitat but it is unlike the kind of description you would find in a Science textbook, it is so beautifully written that reading it conjures up what it is like to be there – you almost feel like you are stood amongst the flora and fauna.
However, the words are almost unneeded as the book is beautifully illustrated. It is basically 48 pages of art. The animals are realistic, drawn with amazing detail in a pen and ink style. Each one is named with both its English name and its binomial (great for those who love to know Scientific names) and a paragraph of information, including some interesting facts.
This is the perfect coffee table book for me. It is the kind of book that I could happily flick through and marvel at both the fascinating organisms and gorgeous drawings. But it is also the perfect book for Freyja to stimulate her curiosity of the world. There are familiar animals such as foxes and butterflies, the ones we have spent time watching and talking about at zoos such as red pandas and tigers and then a host of other strange and wonderful creatures that I hope inspire her to find out more about them and where they live.
Freyja loves the book too. It is lovely to see her flicking through it and asking about the different animals on the pages. It is really helping her appreciate the world around her and what a huge diversity there is. I’m also hoping that she is appreciating the artwork too – I know she has inherited (not genetically obviously!) my love of animals and it would be so nice if she has also inherited some artistic skills from her father too! Whatever the case is, this is definitely a book that will enjoyed for years to come.
Disclaimer: We received a copy of “The Wonder Garden” for review purposes, but as always all thoughts and opinions are my own.