#BookReview By Lou The Wild Before By Piers Torday @PiersTorday @QuercusKids #MiddleGrade #NaturalWorld #ClimateStory #ChildrensBook

The Wild Before
By Piers Torday

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Wild Before is a great story that encompasses animals in the natural world and the climate. It is suitable for older middle-grade readers.
Thanks to Quercus Kids publisher for gifting me the book to review. Discover more in the blurb and rest of my review below and the eye-catching cover.

The Wild Before cover

Blurb

Can one hare alone change the world? The captivating animal adventure destined to be loved by readers of all ages. A stunning hardback edition from the bestselling, much-loved author, Piers Torday.

One stormy, snowy night, a pure silver calf is born on an ordinary muddy farm by the light of the moon. This is the legendary Mooncalf, whose arrival has been foretold since the dawn of time.

According to a dream passed down from animal to animal, if the calf dies, a great Terribleness will come – rising seas, a plague, skies raining down fire, the end of all things… and Little Hare vows to persuade all the animals to protect Mooncalf, whatever the cost.

But it’s easier said than done, and soon Little Hare realises that he is the only one who can save the world…

A stunning prequel to the award-winning, bestselling The Last Wild trilogy, touching on timely themes of climate change, friendship, and above all, hope.
‘Piers Torday is the new master of books for children’ The Times

Review

The Wild Before coverThe Wild Before starts off illustrating different sorts of moon for the whole year. A different name per month. There’s also a glossary so children can totally understand the animals.

Readers get to know Little Hare first, who runs ever so fast to find where Dandelion Hill was. From the start you can tell there is something not right. Little Hare is on a mission to find the wild and to pass on an urgent message. Wildeness is in charge, but he encounters wolves who claim to be guardians of Wildeness in the north…. The book then goes onto the first chapter and beyond. It’s absolutely beautifully written and captivating by the tension created and trepidation. In an instant you care about Little Hare and what she has to say and hope he survives. There is also Bite-Hare, Sist-Hare and Run-Hare.
The book is cute in its storytelling and in its illustrations, but also shows some of the hardships that wildlife has. There are also dogs and humans to fear and to watch out for as the hares try to leave the farm they are on to go to try and travel northwards to get to speak with Wildeness. They also comes across Brock who is a badger and a harvest mouse, who has lots of songs. The mission also means trying to find a specific flower and that may require a human as the race is on to stop a virus.

The book highlights climate change and the sea levels rising and the hardships humans and animals have. The book also shows the natural world in action in all its magnificence and also the life and death within it and that concern animals have that their prey may capture them that day. The book also shows heirarchy in animals and Wildeness being at the top.

The Wild Before is like today’s Animal’s of Farthing Wood and Watership Down. It fits very well with these books in its themes and desire to read about the natural world and to care about it. It may be an emotional read for children, but one that they’ll find compelling to say the least.
It has, amongst the adventure and all the dangers, an important message to convey to readers too.
Classes in schools are already reading this. There’s much to read and discuss, but in saying that, it can also be read for pleasure at home too as middle grade readers will like being swept up in the storytelling and the adventure of it all.

#BookReview by Lou – The Wild World Handbook – Habitats by Andrea Debbink #AndreaDebbink @quirkbooks #MiddleGrade #ChildrensNonFiction #ChildrensNature

The Wild World Handbook – Habitats
by Andrea Debbink

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Great for Middlegrade with facts and STEAM activities. Thanks to Quirk Books for gifting me a copy to give an honest review on.
Follow down to the blurb and my full review of The Wild World Handbook…

The Wildhandbook

Blurb

Packed with real-life tales of adventure, breathtaking illustrations, and practical tips, this handbook is an inspiring guide for the next generation of climate activists, conservationists, and nature lovers.

 

The first book in a middle grade series for young environmental activists and nature lovers, The Wild World Handbook offers a roadmap for change and an invitation to explore the outdoors, alongside surprising facts and hands-on STEAM activities. Featuring nine habitats from around the globe, each section includes diverse biographies of outdoor adventurers, scientists, and artists who used their passion and skills to become bold allies for Earth’s natural diversity and resiliency.

Inside you will find:
   • Nine Amazing Habitats • Eighteen Inspiring Biographies • Nine Kid-Friendly DIY Activities
   • Nine Fun Field Trips • And much more!

Review

The Wild World Handbook is great for Middlegrade. It is comprehensive, without being overly complicated, but allows them to have an adventure and “meet” people, different aspects of nature and fits right into encouraging children to care for the environment and to learn about it. Children can explore:-

Mountains, Forests, Deserts, Polar Lands, Oceans, Freshwater. Cities, Rainforests, Grasslands

The WildhandbookThis book whisks children into introductions to each are of earth and takes them to  the past, present and a small bit into the future of planet earth. So, children are introduced to each of the areas mentioned above, via quick, sharp, easy to follow facts, bold and sharp.

There are interactive elements to map out their own expeditions, do some artwork, plant a tree, find the stars, make a desert biome and more…

“Meet” people from a mountaineer to a naturalist to animals to trees and other plants and more…

There are questions about what they have read, so their knowledge and understanding all tally’s up.

It also takes a nod to those (which is refreshing), who played their part in helping to do good, not just in the present, but in the past, something that isn’t talked about much these days. It’s positive as it refrains from making sweeping generalisations and shows the young, that people older than them (including their parents) did do good stuff to help the environment too. It talks about what children can do too. So, it balances understanding what is in each area with what people have done, in both destruction and to save the earth as it balances out the positives and brings pages of fun to it too.

It is better than some books out there as it does balance positivity between the negativity, lots of fun as well as the serious. 

This book could easily be used at home, as part of a school eco-group or a Girlguiding or Scouting group such as Brownies and Cubs. It has scope for a lot of activities and it shows this area of study can be positive and it can be fun.

 

#Review by Lou – Tapestries of Life – Nature is all we have by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson @annesver @HarperNonFic @RandomTTours #TapestriesofLife #NonFiction #Nature

Tapestries of Life – Nature is all we have
by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Vibrant and interesting as the threads of life are all seemlessly stitched together to create a wider picture in the vast spectrum of nature we live in and the impact on our lives in an accessible fashion, by this expert in her field. Thanks to Harper Collins for gifting me the book and for Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour to review. Discover the beautiful cover that would brighten up anyone’s bookcase and the blurb and my review.

 

Blurb

The second book by the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects.

Trees clean air and water; hoverflies and bees pollinate our crops; the kingfisher inspired the
construction of high-speed trains. In Tapestries of Life, bestselling author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson
explains how closely we are all connected with the natural world, highlighting our indelible link with
nature’s finely knit system and our everyday lives.
In the heart of natural world is a life-support system like no other, a collective term that describes all
the goods and services we receive – food, fresh water, medicine, pollination, pollution control, carbon
sequestration, erosion prevention, recreation, spiritual health and so much more. In this utterly
captivating book, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson sets out to explore these wonderful, supportive elements
– taking the reader on a journey through the surprising characteristics of the natural world.

 

Review

Tapestries GraphicThis isn’t as heavy as it sounds. It’s very good for the inquisitive and those who have a care for the natural world. It reads quite biographical in tone, with a mix of accessible science, and at the heart of Anne’s adventure is an abundance of the surface and what’s underneath nature and its purposes. The book will increase understanding of planet earth and all that it has to offer. It isn’t written in a way that forces people to believe in this or that, but rather in a way that may well enhance the appreciation of the natural world and all that it has to offer, from the animals right down to the water it holds.

As well as animals and plants, it goes into studying DNA, organisms and bacteria ie all the parts that can’t always be seen to the naked eye and yet are just as important to the surface of nature that we can see. It goes onto why nature is essential to earth and humans and talks about how it is used for the prescription medicines/prescription drugs that people consume. There are also great analogies to help with the understanding.

Planted like seeds, throughout the book are some poems and diagrams that makes the book brighter and easily digestible and relatable and alive, for this is a livelier and interesting book than what you may first presume. The poems also seem to serve as a reminder as to how the great outdoors, influences and inspires creatives and has done throughout the centuries.

There’s a lot to learn, in particular in the USA, about what is there and certain astonishing legislation was passed, not the what, but the when; but it all reads easy as each bit of earth is stitched together and her travels weave in and around green spaces and more…
The book also delves into what earth still has and extinction and conflicting ideas that people have about earth and 

The book is beautfully crafted as it weaves threads of a tapestry of life that only survives with nature at its heart.

About the Author

Anne Sverdrup Author Pic (1)Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson  is the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects. A professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, she is also a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest
biodiversity.

Anne is an absolute expert in the subject. She has done and is still doing countless events for all the editions of her books all over the world, and festivals love her.

Tapestries of Life BT Poster

An Extract/Excerpt of White Eye of The Needle by Chris Campbell @Citizen_Chris @Choir_Press @kenyon_isabelle #Poetry #ContemporaryPoetryExtract

Today I am excited to present you with an extract of the latest poems by Chris Campbell.
Thanks to Isabelle Kenyon for this opportunity. I also have a bit about the author for now, but then look out tomorrow (Wednesday) for a very insightful and highly interesting interview I had with Chris Campbell.

Cover White Eye of the Needle

About the Poetry Collection

White Eye of the Needle, the second book of poems by Chris Campbell, explores human connections, both passing and intimate. The collection was put together in Nottingham and also includes pieces from the former  Journalist’s time in Bristol, London, Swansea, Glasgow and Gloucestershire, plus visits abroad including a honeymoon in Madagascar and trips to Tignes, France.

Extract/Excerpt

Dawn

When exhausted birds have flown away and tweeted their last breath
that’s when i’ll close my eyes and say there’s more to life than death.

For when they call, they call with heart through feathered chest
and as they go, they fly with hope that after song they’ll rest.

and i in bed as next day looms and dawn begins to stir,

think back before this sombre place to sunlit gardens far.

a silent bird that sings no more may have no song to make,

but as i lie in deepened thought, my bitten nails, break.

as once it sang, brought the day and closed it with a verse,

now every time i think of it, my anxiety gets worse.

Take my clothes, my pillow too and place me by the tree

where these poor birds once posed and sang and breathed relief to me.

Trainers

in fields of yellow daffodils

and grass as fine as hair,

that’s where my chest beside you once

grew under torn trainers.

like cats that toy with life,

we chance, pounce and play,

i count the years, and ‘til we stroll again,

all blue skies will feel grey.

Praise for White Eye of the Needle

‘These poems are sparkling with affection. Campbell finds beauty in the everyday, in the
connections to each other and to the land. in a world when we are feeling cut off, these poems
are like a bridge back to some sense of balance. They are celebrations of relationships, places
and of being alive. some of them feel like a home i’ve never been to.’
– David Linklater

‘At a time when the world feels a little darker, White Eye of the Needle invites the reader
to gaze upon a world where “houses rub shoulders”, “the taps of shoes are circling” and
dawn spreads its welcome light “like the oranges brightening seville”. in this tender, wistful
collection, Campbell observes humanity with a sharp eye – where the lockdown poems offer a
relatable and searingly honest depiction of our days transfixed on blinking screens, there is
always the human touch to offer relief in a lemon dress, the notes of ‘Für Elise’, tumbling
hedgerows and the tender simplicity of a shared meal with a loved one. like the flowers that
push through its city gardens, this is a collection that reminds us that it’s the human
connection and the power of the natural world that keep hope alive in a world gone dark.’
– Natalie Ann Holborow

Buy Link: Waterstones 

Front Cover White Eye of the Needle

About the Author

Chris Campbell, born in Dublin, is a former national and regional journalist who worked for newspaper titles in London, Bristol, bath, south Wales and Gloucestershire. Chris has a passion for poetry, writing and travel and has judged young writer competitions in Swansea. he graduated with an MA in Journalism from Kingston University and a BA (hons) in Economic and political Development from the University of Exeter, with a year’s study in Uppsala, Sweden. he currently lives in Nottingham.

#Review by Lou – Blue The Green Sky by Stuart M. Buck by @stuartmbuck @BrokenSpineArts #Poetry #ContemporaryPoetry

Blue The Green Sky
By Stuart M. Buck

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I read this collection of poems in – Blue The Green Sky in one sitting. It grabs you and whisks you on a journey to a different country, and deep into nature and human nature full of universal themes.
Thanks to Alan Parry at The BrokenSpine for gifting me the book and for being in contact through my “Contact” page on my blog to invite me to review and interview. Follow down to find out a little about him
and my review and at a later date, look out for an interview with Stuart M. Buck to discover even more about what makes him tick and what else you can expect…

Blue The Green Sky pic

About the Poet

Blue the Green Sky is the third poetry collection from Stuart M. Buck, and is the second chapbook to be published by The Broken Spine.

Stuart M. Buck is a writer and artist currently living between the UK and Colorado. When he is not creating himself, he runs the fictional online newspaper The Bear Creek Gazette. His art has been featured in several journals, as well as gracing the covers of several books. Stuart likes to cook, juggle, and listen to music. He suffers terribly from tsundoku  —  the art of buying copious amounts of books that he will never read.

Review

Blue The Green Sky picIntuitive and reflective poems about life, death, nature, humanity with a dose of redemption can be found within these poems. They range from humans to cats and dogs to the smallest insects, such as ants. There are 16 short and sharp poems,with masses of emotion; but what seems quite dark on the surface, sometimes has an underlayer of something that shines a glimmer of light and hope and uplifting in a rather punchy way that brings any surreal demeanour, crashing back down to earth in a moment of divine realism.

There is some humour to be found in “Dear Richard” and an apology in “Ants”. There is love in “A Poem About Everything” that is sure to make your heart soar. You can then be whisked off to Prague and anyone who has been there, will recognise it in a sense. This piece of work is lyrical and will feed on your senses.
Quantum is fun as it casts a shape down in words, but also presents so much, humbling in-depth meaning and love for the universe. There are many more poems to feast your eyes on, with their relatable themes and unexpected twists.

These poems that embrace nature and human-nature will wrap and swirl around you as you read in their surrealist wonderment that simply hooks you into reading them all in one sitting, before wanting to go back and dip in and out of it.

Stuart Buck’s acknowledgements are impressive and in a sense, may also give hope to other budding writers, so do check them out at then end of the book.

Buy Link: https://thebrokenspine.co.uk/product/blue-the-green-sky-stuart-m-buck

An #Excerpt from Empire of Ants by #Susanne Foitzik #Olaf Fritsche @Octopus_Books @RandomTTours #Extract #Nature #Ants #Insects #NonFiction #BlogTour

Empire of Ants

The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth’s
Tiny Conquerors

By Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche
Extract/Excerpt

Empire of Ants Graphic

Ants are amazing insects in my humble opinion and they are a gardener’s friend. They are, like worms, great for the soil. In saying that, there is more to an ant, as tiny as they are, they have been around for centuries. There is more to the ant than meets the eye… Find out more in this excerpt I have kindly been provided with by – RandomThingsTours and publisher Octopus Books for the blog tour.

Empire of Ants cover

Excerpt

Taken from Empire of Ants: The Hidden Worlds and Extraordinary Lives of Earth’s Tiny Conquerors by Susanne Foitzik and Olaf Fritsche.

Empire of Ants GraphicIf there’s anyone for whom the phrase L’état, c’est moi (“I am the state”) is true, it’s the ant queen. She is the past, present, and future of her colony. She establishes the colony, bears all the ant workers, males, and young queens that live within it, and once she dies, the colony will often perish soon afterward. And to achieve all this, all she has to do is take a trip out her front door.

A QUEEN’S GIRLHOOD

Ant queens are generally made, not born. Excluding a few exceptions, genes rarely play a part in this process. The nannies in the nest nursery follow to a T the recipe for creating “young queens” (as we call them). First, the red wood ants, Formica obscuripes for instance, take one of the winter eggs, laid at the end of the dormancy period necessitated by the cold temperatures. This process is not possible with eggs laid in the summer, for reasons that remain a mystery to science, and don’t seem to bother the ants much either. But the right egg is just the beginning; the wet-nurse ants must also feed the royal larvae a special diet. This must be plentiful and of high quality. If a red wood ant princess receives this cocktail of nutrients within the first three days of her life as a larva, then the die is cast and she is on the path to becoming a hopeful young queen. And she will be queen—along with a couple hundred of her sisters from the noblest caste.

When it comes to the line of succession, ants do not like to put all their eggs in one basket. The risks of something going wrong are many. From the disappointment of no suitable prince being available or a failure to mate, or the lack of an appropriate location for a new nest nearby, to a deadly encounter with a predator such as a woodpecker—which feast on well-fed young queens—there are any number of opportunities for failure and an early demise. According to estimates, only one in 10,000 young queens is successful in founding a new colony.

The young virgin queens have no inkling of this at first. They are far larger than their worker sisters and have no need to work away, boasting two pairs of wings on their backs. What these are good for, however, does not become apparent until a mild day between June and July in North America,

when it is warm enough.

When the moment comes, the whole anthill is seized by a curious unrest, unlike anything seen in the nest. An innate urge forces the flying young queens and males—still around, for once—toward the nest’s exits. Anyone else wanting to follow the call is held back by scrappy ant workers. Only on a secret signal do all the nests of a particular species open their doors to release the reproductive insects all at once, and in one fell swoop the exits are swarming with flying males and young queens. They traipse around somewhat aimlessly and eventually take to the air for their nuptial flights.

The timing of the nuptial flight during the summer depends on the species of ant. Ants of the species Temnothorax nylanderi fly out in the two hours before sundown, while reproductive ants of the species Temnothorax unifasciatus prefer to swarm in the morning, around dawn. These different swarming times ensure that nuptial flights do not result in hybrid couplings between males and young queens of different species. Some ants don’t leave the nest at all: Young army ant queens stay home on their wedding night, awaiting their lovers in the safety of the nest.

The choreography of nuptial flights also varies according to species. Some males move around in thick swarms of young bachelors, appearing like dark clouds from a distance. If a young queen collides with one of these groups, it swiftly descends into an enormous orgy in full flight. Other queens prefer solid ground. They seek out a romantic spot and emit pheromones, scent signals that no male can resist. Young queens can have sex with as few as one or as many as a dozen males—but just this once. Once the wedding day is over, that’s it for life.

This is why the queen diligently gathers as many sperm as she can and stores them inside a special pouch known as the spermatheca. This can hold a few hundred million sperm cells. Not all that many, when we consider that many queens will produce up to 150 million offspring in the next ten, twenty, or thirty years of their lives. A third to a half of these sperms will fertilize an egg and thus contribute to the next generation of ants. This is a considerably better ratio than human sperm enjoy, as only around one in every 250 million human sperm cells succeeds in merging with an egg. Human sperm also have an expiration date of around a month after production, while the cells stored in an ant queen’s spermatheca remain viable for decades.

Once the sun begins to sink toward the horizon, the wedding celebrations are over. These millions of future mothers and fathers have little to say to each other after sex—and very different fates await them.

About The Authors

Empire of Ants Suzanne Foitzik Author Pic

Susanne Foitzik is an evolutionary biologist, behavioral scientist and international
authority on ants. After completing her PhD in ant evolution and behavior and conducting
postdoctoral work in the US, she became a professor at Ludwig Maximilian University of
Munich. Currently, she teaches at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany,
where she studies the behaviors of slaveholding ants and different work roles in insect
colonies. Her findings have been published in over 100 scientific papers to date.

Olaf Fritsche is a science journalist and biophysicist with a PhD in biology. He was
previously an editor at the German-language edition of Scientific American, is the author
and coauthor of many books, and has been published in a wide variety of newspapers and magazines.

Empire of Ants BT Poster