The Blurb On The Back:
Four friends are outside having fun when they discover an injured fox. After taking it to an animal rescue centre, they decide to find out more about the amazing animals, plants and places that make up our natural world.
Through talking to teachers and local conservationists, the children learn about ecosystems and biodiversity, climate change and pollution. Seeing how all of nature is connected encourages them to discover different ways to help protect it. Full of fascinating facts and fun activities, this book reveals why nature really does need you!
The Review (Cut For Spoilers):
Liz Gogerly is a former teacher who’s been writing children’s non-fiction for over 20 years. Sr Sanchez is an illustrator who lives in Spain. This book for children aged 8+ looks at how you can help protect the natural world by following 4 children who become interested in nature after rescuing an injured fox cub. It’s broad in scope, has activities for readers to do and is a good way of getting children to think about the world around them.
Although this is a non-fiction book whose main aim is to explain the diversity of the natural world, the importance of looking after the environment and the risks that pollution and climate change pose to our world, it’s framed around four children – Mason, Lulu, Noah and Anjali – who become interested in the natural world after finding a fox cub with a broken leg and calling the local wildlife rescue centre to help it.
The children then become more interested in the natural world, starting with Mimi who runs the wildlife rescue centre and then their relatives, teachers and even the school cook. This allows Gogerly to pick different topics such as the importance of helping bees and why they matter, how insects help biodiversity and the importance of ecosystems and she covers a lot of ground here with each double page set covering a new topic and offering a combination of facts and the ways in which children can either help out or take action. Sanchez’s illustrations work well in this setting – bright and cheerful he helps get across Gogerly’s messages in a way that supplements rather than overwhelms the text.
I actually learned a number of things from the book, e.g. I didn’t know that there were dolphins that lives in freshwater but there were a couple of diagrams that took me a moment to figure out (notably one on the food chain, which didn’t quite work for me because of the way the arrows were placed) and because the book is aimed at the US and UK market, there’s a wide variety of wildlife referred to here, which might disappoint British children hoping to spot wild bears for example. However there are a number of activities suggested here for children to do, e.g. making a fat cake for birds to eat and plenty of practical suggestions for how they can get involved, from litter picking and volunteering with conservation groups to buying less plastic.
If you have a child who is showing an interest in the natural world or you’re keen to try and explain it to them, then I think that this is a good starting point.
NATURE NEEDS YOU! was released in the United Kingdom on 22nd April 2021. Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.