If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, then you’ve most likely been joying the many glorious colours of Autumn. Some of the writers among you may even have taken part in Kaitlyn Leann Sanchez’s Fall Writing Frenzy, which in its inaugural year received an amazing 155 entries!
Well, what better way to spend a beautiful Autumn day than to go hiking? That’s the topic of the (appropriately named) new picture book The Hike, written and illustrated by Alison Farrell.
Three girls, Wren, El and Hattie set off with their dog Bean. Wren takes her sketchbook to make notes and drawings of her various observations. After a while, they stop to pick berries and El teaches them how to weave baskets. Little Hattie carries with her a hankie full of feathers (the reason becomes clear towards the end).
On the way, they all have a go at reading the map (a good old-fashioned paper one, with not a digital device in sight!). They trek through a forest and up a mountain, examining flora and fauna, helping each other out and having loads of fun, before reaching their ultimate destination – the summit of the mountain. Finally they head back against the backdrop of the setting sun. As they reach their home the stars come out, with several constellations clearly visibly (and marked as such).
In today’s screen-obsessed society, this is a wonderfully refreshing read, in which children explore nature at their own pace and fully embrace everything it has to offer.
In addition to the main story, which is highly entertaining by itself, the book is packed full of little notes indicating dear ferns, a chipmunk nest, violets and much, much more. Back matter provides yet more fascinating facts, presented in a unique way as part of Wren’s sketchbook.
Both the story itself and the illustrations are bursting with vibrant energy, while the girls’ enthusiasm is infectious. The ethnic diversity of the characters also greatly adds to the book’s appeal.
This is a must-read for all nature-loving families, and is also likely to get even the most hiking-adverse child (and adult!) excited about the idea of exploring and observing nature.
After reading The Hike I closed my laptop and headed off to enjoy some beautiful Austrian nature. Have you taken a hike yet this Autumn? Tell me all about it in the comments section!
You can get hold of a copy of this book by clicking one of the links below.
The Hike was released on 8th October 2019. Many thanks to Chronicle Books and Edelweiss+ for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.