1) The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
A stunning spellbook celebrating the vanishing vocabulary of nature, from bluebell to heron, kingfisher to otter, in an attempt to rescue them from extinction. Robert Macfarlane’s poetry sets the words dancing on the page, while Jackie Morris’s beautiful illustrations are truly bewitching. Children will love its oversized, magical quality.
Judge Phoebe Smith says: “A real work of art.”
2) Islander by Patrick Barkham
In this tremendous island-hopping book, Patrick Barkham journeys around the 6,300 islands that make up Britain and explores the mindset of those living off the mainland. The islanders’ stories are beautifully told.
Judge Fergus Collins says: “A wonderful book.”
3) The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young
Rosamund Young has farmed livestock in the Cotswolds since the 1950s and has observed her charges with a meticulous intensity. She argues that, given freedom to express themselves, cows are capable of complex behaviour, to form fascinating bonds with each other, to self-medicate when sick and even help each other give birth. An absorbing antidote to the idea that domestic livestock are dull-witted, lower lifeforms.
Judge Fergus Collins says: “A welcome reprint of a lovely little book.”
4) Beyond Spring by Matthew Oates
Despite all the bad news about our natural world, naturalist Matthew Oates writes with welcome optimism, recalling a number of wildlife adventures and perfect days in the British countryside. Each one is revealing, uplifting and wise – and accompanied by a stanza or two of verse from Edward Thomas and other lovers of the wild.
Judge Fergus Collins says: “A total joy.”
5) The Wainwrights in Colour by Andy Beck
This received a huge number of commendations so how could we refuse such endorsement. Andy Beck has spent 10 years researching and painting all of Alfred Wainwright’s illustrations of the fells, producing an attractive collection of watercolours of the famous Lakeland landscapes for all to enjoy.
You said: “This has been a massive undertaking by Andy to paint all of the illustrations in Wainwright’s guides to the Lake District Fells. The paintings are exceptional and Andy meticulously searched out the place where Wainwright stood to make each of his sketches. A brilliant companion to the Wainwright guides.” Carole Standing
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