A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies

A First Book of Nature

Written by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Mark Hearld

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Winner of The English Association 2013 Prize (Non-Fiction 4-7)

A beautiful book which brings nature to life in words and pictures. Nicola Davies interweaves fact and fiction as she brings each season into focus. She celebrates new growth and the rich harvests of autumn. Stunning, richly textured illustrations encourage young readers to look closely at the world around them.


A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies

This is an exquisite book that evokes a child's first experience of nature. From beach combing to stargazing, from watching squirrels, ducks and worms to making berry crumble or a winter bird feast, this is a remarkable book - part poetry, part scrapbook of recipes, facts and fragments - and a glorious reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered. Mark Hearld's pictures beautifully reproduce the colours of the seasons on woodfree paper, and Nicola Davies' lyrical words capture the simple loveliness that is everywhere, if only we can look.

Nicola Davies is an award-winning author, whose many books for children include Ice Bear, Big Blue Whale, Extreme Animals, Gaia Warriors and the Silver Street Farm series. She graduated in zoology, studied whales and bats and then worked for the BBC Natural History Unit. Mark Hearld, a breathtaking new talent in children's books, is a distinguished artist and printmaker.


“From beachcombing to stargazing, this is lyrical and lovely guide to nature for young children. Beautiful production too.” - The Bookseller

About the Author

Nicola Davies

Nicola Davies - As a child

Nicola says: I don't remember a time when I wasn't utterly besotted with animals. I spent all my time before I went to school, in the garden with my lovely Grandpa (who was small and round and had all sorts of things in his cardigan pockets) looking at flowers, and ants and bird's nests. My parents moved around quite a lot so I was always the new girl in school, which meant I spent a lot of time on my own reading and thinking... still my two favourite recreational activities. What finally saved me at school was that I learnt to make people laugh. But I was still mostly by myself, alone, out in the fields in Suffolk where my parents then lived, walking my dog and listening to the skylarks.

As an adult

I did a zoology degree and went on to study various animals in the wild; bats, geese, whales... Then I went to work at the BBC Natural History Unit, first as a researcher and later a presenter on 'The Really Wild Show'. TV was fun for a while, but I really hated the pressure. The good thing about it was that it allowed me to earn money, and still have time for my kids when they were little. I've loved being a mum, absolutely adored it. Some of my happiest memories are of reading my kids books I loved as a child - books like the Lord of the Rings. I can still make my daughter squeal by doing my 'Gollum' voice!

As an artist

I wanted to write from about the age of twenty, and I wrote scenes and characters in my head all the time. But never put anything on paper. I would go into bookshops and see all those books and think, there's just too many and I'm not clever enough to do yet another one. So I didn't start writing until my thirties, when I began to write scripts for kids' programmes. I gradually got more confidence and started to write for Walker Books, then for newspapers and magazines and then adult novels. I've just started to write poetry for children too. I'm terribly disciplined about my writing. I just sit down at my desk and get on with it every day I have, and get really cross about being distracted. I also teach writing at a university now and sometimes I get really cross with that too, because it keeps me from getting as much writing done as I would like. I love children's films and cartoons... Lilo and Stitch is my favourite at the moment. I cry every time in Babe when the pig says to the sheepdog, 'Can I call you Mum?'

Things you didn't know about Nicola Davies

1. If I were rich, I would fill my whole house with flowers all the time.

2. I have a sister who looks and sounds just like me.

3. I love singing and I know lots of folk songs (some with rather rude words!)

4. My children are always telling me off for saying sorry all the time.

5. I used to study whales in Newfoundland, dressed in nothing but wellies (only on hot days)

6. I used to keep Shetland sheep which I sheared using a pair of kitchen scissors.

7. I'm expert at wringing chickens necks (but I suppose you didn't really want to know that!)

Please note there are two children's authors called Nicola Davies which our systems are unable to tell apart. The books Star in the Custard, Shampoo and Seawater, and Stories from Abergele Street are not written by this Nicola Davies. Apologies.

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Book Info


108 pages
Interest Age: From 3


Nicola Davies
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Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

3rd May 2012




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