Spring has sprung and this season of renewal feels especially poignant given the turmoil the world is facing.
As we walked through a woodland nature reserve on Saturday (keeping a socially acceptable distance), seeing the buds on the trees and hearing the birds singing gave us such a boost – and made me worry about how we will manage if the lockdown we are now in becomes even stricter and we told we cannot enjoy them any more.
It also reminded me that whatever crises are befalling the human world, the natural world continues with its annual cycle – a certainty in uncertain times.
There are some stunning nature-themed children’s books on the shelves of shops currently, but one of our absolute favourites has to be the peep-through series created by renowned German illustrator Britta Teckentrup, with words by Patricia Hegarty.
There are four titles so far and the books explore different icons of the natural world, using clever cut-outs through the cover and pages to enhance the stunning collage-style artworks.
The first book was Tree, which came out in 2015, and uses an owl sat in a tree to demonstrate the changing of the seasons. The colours are just spectacular and really demonstrate the glory of each part of the annual cycle.
We particularly love how different animals appear and disappear on the tree as the year passes, along with the changing leaves.
Next came Bee, which teaches children about of one of our most miraculous and under threat creatures, bringing to life this insect’s daily efforts to support our planet. The 2016 hardback edition won lots of rave reviews and has just come out in a beautiful board book version for younger readers.
Book three – Moon – is extremely atmospheric, with the cut-outs illustrating how our night-time neighbour waxes and wanes as the lunar cycle unfold over the world.
It’s all brought together with gentle rhyming text and looks so good, you could hang it on your wall.
The most recent title was Sea, another dreamy looking read which takes children from the dark depths of the ocean to the vibrant colours of coral and shoals of tropical fish.
What’s glorious about these books is that they are factual without being inaccessible and the artwork offers plenty to discuss.
At a time when we need the calming influence of nature more than ever – yet we might not be allowed to step outside and drink it in – these books should provide you and your child with a little respite from reality.
Tree, Bee, Moon and Sea by Britta Teckentrup are published by Little Tiger. All available in hardback (£11.99) and paperback (£7.99). Tree and Bee are also in board book format (£6.99). Buy from Amazon
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