Review – Where In The Wild by Jonny Lambert.
From Savannah to the Arctic Tundra. Where In The Wild provides a first look at different habitats. A meerkat has curved claws to dig through the Savannah sands. Blue-Tits peck insects off the woodland trees. This book introduces the concept that animals are adapted to their habitats to survive.
This book is a visual treat. Each double-page spread illustrates a habitat. There isn’t a single bit of white space. The effect is something like looking through a window at the different habitats. The animals are beautiful. Fur, feathers and horns are illustrated with different textures and the pictures give a sense of their different movements.
The design is stunning. Some animals live in more than one habitat. Peek-through holes are used to show that they might be found in more than one habitat. The reader questions where else the animal might live. This works on different levels. For the youngest readers, it is a game. For slightly older readers it will first stimulate curiosity, then act as a memory test. (Where else does the African Elephant live?)
Butterflies are found in many habitats. This is turned into an I-Spy game. I have spoken before of the importance of such games – these create a positive experience around books without the need for reading skills. The importance of these games can’t be stressed enough. If you haven’t had positive experiences around books, why would you struggle through learning to read?
The final page talks about environmental damage and encourages children to speak out in defense of the natural world. Empathising with nature early is crucial. Children need to care about the damage which is being caused to the natural world before they pick up on other attitudes (eg that human progress is more important).
Overall this is a stunning book. It could be used to educate children about the natural world or it could be an entertaining bedtime read. It is a work of art and I hope readers will fall in love with the natural world and speak out in its defence.
Thanks to Little Tiger Press for my copy of Where In The Wild. Opinions my own.