Today I’m showcasing the new ‘Lottie Loves Nature’ title: ‘Frog Frenzy.’ This is a brilliant series for newly confident readers or anyone who’s nutty about nature!
Today, I’ve got a special post from author, Jane Clarke about her lifetime of loving nature and will be championing the title again in November on the Federation of Children’s Book Group’s annual National Non-Fiction November blog tour.
In this instalment, Lottie decides to make a pond in her back garden to encourage local wildlife. Her techy neighbour Noah’s is drafted in to help help, but is distracted by his dad, who is determined to rid their garden of an army of annoying ants. Suddenly Noah’s dad’s golfing green is swarming with ants and a multitude of frogs – hopping mayhem! Noah is convinced that escaping to Mars would be easier than facing his dad, but Lottie is keen to save the planet one creature at a time!
A lifetime of loving nature – by Jane Clarke
Jane Clarke is the author of more than 80 books for children. To celebrate the launch of her new young fiction series, Lottie Loves Nature, Jane joins me to talk about her life-long love of the natural world.
Lottie loves nature, and so do I.
As far back as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed being close to nature. When I was small, this literally involved getting as close as possible, often at dog level.
As a child, I loved collecting natural things like conkers, shellsand fossils – and I still do. Grubbing around in dirt has never been a problem for me, which is just as well, as my first job was as an archaeologist. Then, I married an engineer and his job took us to different, exciting places, with fascinating wildlife – including scorpions, cockroaches, tarantulas, piranhas and the occasional snake. Wherever I went, I’d get a book on the local flora and fauna and tick off the things I spotted.
Walks in nature when our sons were small weren’t always relaxing. Their rocks, cliff and trees philosophy was ‘if it’s there, climb it,’ but we did manage the odd moment of quiet observation.
My oldest son’s first word was “ant” quickly followed by “ant, ant, ant, ant, ant” – he was pointing at a line of them. My younger son was bug and reptile obsessed from an early age, and later spent a couple of years working as an adventure tour guide in Venezuela, where he took me and his brother on an unforgettable Anaconda hunt.
With retirement looming, I’ve returned to the midlands countryside. Being able to get outside every day has been such a solace this year. At the back of my garden, there’s an old grown-out hawthorn hedge, so even during lockdown I felt close to nature.
It was reassuring to watch birds, insects and small creatures going about their normal business and even thriving. I’ve never seen so many bees and butterflies in my garden as I have this year. And, during lockdown, the bluebell wood was waiting in a calming sea of blue, and trees burst into fresh green life.
As seasons change, nature carries me through the year with it. This autumn, I’m loving the hedgerows, rosehips, blackberries, sloes, the leaves turning colour – and conkers.
It makes me smile to see my four granddaughters connecting with nature, too and the eldest mirroring their respective dads’ tree climbing and reptile-loving traits.
A lifetime of loving nature has made me passionate about to helping preserve the natural world for future generations, and I believe that there are lots of little things we can do to help. As Lottie knows, every little thing matters. I hope she will inspire readers of the series to make a closer connection with the natural world.
Lottie Loves Nature: Frog Frenzy is published on 1st October 2020, £6.99 paperback, by Five Quills.
Jane is right. I think there is absolutely no doubt that getting outside into the fresh air and into nature is vital for mental and physical well-being. My boys and I are constantly outside getting muddy and collecting various treasures – thank goodness for welly boots and warm coats!