(Review appeared first in the Winter 2023 edition of RURAL magazine)
Locally based acclaimed artist and writer, Ariel Whatmore, who writes and paints as Ariel Luke, has produced a book for young children which is both educational and fun. It will certainly appeal to children with an interest in colouring in and in the natural world, and who will be inspired by the beautiful drawings created by the writer.
As the title states, a family of baby chicks meet the other animals around their home in the 12 weeks that they grow up and before they join the other hens. There are all sorts of animals that they meet, some nice, some pretty, some nasty (from a chick’s point of view) like a buzzard who swoops down on a chick and catches a snippet of feather before he is driven off by the chick’s father, the cockerel; mother hen is understandably furious and tells her chick to be more careful in future.
But there are 18 other nicer neighbours, including swallows, herons, dragonflies, frogs, geese, moles butterflies, doves….
What makes this book stands out are the very artistic and detailed coloured drawings by Ariel. They are expertly drawn and appear on the left-hand pages of the book. On the opposite, right-hand page, the same or similar drawings are shown in black-and-white outline, tempting the young reader to colour them in, with (one hopes) the same care and attention to detail shown on the opposite page.
A lovely Christmas present to give to a young friend.