‘When We Went Wild’ by Isabella Tree

If you are looking for a good read for a child in your life – or even for yourself – do read this review sent to us by Rona Gundry, from the ‘Greener Belstone’ Group.

It is a children’s picture book by Isabella Tree, the author of ‘Wilding’. It is pitched at 4 to 8 year olds in presentation, although the message is for any age. The book tells the story of what happens when a farming couple give up high-intensive farming in favour of allowing their animals and land freedom and wildness – it is a simplified telling of Tree’s own experience when she and her husband turned away from conventional methods on their land at Knepp in Sussex.

The story is simple and charming, the illustrations big, bold and colourful. I am giving it to a grandson for his birthday, lucky boy! When I first read it I was a bit troubled by it but couldn’t quite work out why. With time and a second read I think I know: it reads very simply, rather like a fairy tale, one with a happy ending. And yes, this surely is what you would expect and wish for young children – but with my adult head I was wanting something more realistic, more nuanced.

So: my thoughts are that if you have a present to buy for a child in your life then think of this rather charming book; but if you yourself want to learn more about changing land use, be it many hectares or your own back yard, then buy and read Tree’s book ‘Wilding’.
Rona

Why not buy both these books from our local bookshop https://www.dogberryandfinch.co.uk/ Okehampton’s Independent Bookshop.
Editor