192pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99
Walking to explore our local neighbourhood became daily exercise for many during the recent pandemic, and our children learned to walk with their eyes wide open. They looked at the sky, the ground, the trees, bushes and flowers and within them they found all sorts of treasures – coloured leaves, scribbles on bark, coloured feathers, a spiderweb jewelled with dew… Perhaps they found a bird’s nest, a pretty stone or even blew on a dandelion fairy clock…
All around us there is evidence that Mother Nature has walked before us with “dazzling feathers, armoured fruit, extraordinary eggs’, bristly teeth, leaf skeletons, glittering gems, ancient fossils, exploding seeds, super-sticky webs, rocks from outer space and much else besides.” In this superb book, the stories of these fascinating objects is explained – where they are found, how they work, what they tell us, how they are used… Grouped into categories -animals, plants, fungi and algae, minerals and rocks, and made by Nature – common and not-so-common finds are examined with photographs, diagrams and readily accessible text.
From the early “Cabinets of Curiosities” -“large private collections of those wealthy enough to travel to gather them displayed in glass cabinets- to the classroom “nature tables” eagerly renewed each Monday morning as children brought in their weekend discoveries, there has always been a fascination of these sorts of objects, although now there is a much greater emphasis of just taking photographs and leaving them in situ because they are part of the particular ecosystem and others can also enjoy them. Thus, a book as beautiful, as entertaining and as informative as this one is a must-have in both the home and school library because if children know and understand what they are looking at, they are more likely to treasure and protect it.