Reviews /

Rewild the World at Bedtime

Authored by Emily Hawkins
Illustrated by Ella Beech
Published by Quarto Publishing PLC

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How can we help children learn about the huge environmental challenges we face without making them feel glum and anxious about their future? This book of Hopeful Stories from Mother Nature is an excellent place to start.

Rewild the World at Bedtime is an illustrated collection of twenty true stories of natural regeneration from across the world, each telling the same tale. A beautiful habitat, rich in wildlife is changed or damaged, often by the removal of one key species and usually at the hand of humans. The change leads to devastating problems for wildlife, the reduction of species, and often for the people living in the area. Concerned environmentalists raise the alarm and campaign for change. With much hard work and over many years, key species are re-introduced and the area is naturally regenerated and restored, once again becoming a haven for a vast range of species.

The font chosen for the title of each story, paired with the beautiful, watercolour illustrations, showing friendly creatures in lush landscapes, are reminiscent of a book of fairy tales. Each story has an enticing, folk tale style beginning: ‘Once upon a time, in the northlands of Europe, a city lay nestled between sparkling blue sea on one side and forested green hills on the other’; ‘In the grey-green waters off the western shores of Canada, there once grew a vast forest on the seabed’; ‘As dawn breaks in the jungle, a thin veil of mist hangs over the still river’. The recounts, though factual, are full of lyrical, storybook description which inspires empathy, interest and wonder. This narrative approach to reporting is an appealing one. It introduces the ideas and vocabulary of the issues in an approachable and engaging way.

This book is the ideal inspiration for a KS2 topic involving ecosystems, biodiversity and positive environmental actions. The stories are perfect for a daily class read aloud and offer opportunities for discussion, research and writing. The global nature of the stories will inspire ideas for research projects about the places mentioned and the wildlife found there. Fuelled by the optimism of this book, children would surely be motivated to find ways they could rewind their school and locality.

These are bedtime stories which will leave you full of hope and positivity about the natural world. Drifting off to sleep dreaming of epic landscapes teaming with life, the nature-loving reader might be inspired to wonder: maybe I could be someone who protects and restores nature?