by Rebecca Elliott
Last year I was lucky enough to review Cub’s First Winter by the same author, so I was very pleased to have been sent the sequel, Cub’s First Summer.
These books appeal to me because they combine animals, nature and the seasons – three subjects I personally find fascinating. I’ve always tried to instill a love of the natural world in my children too, so I love reading these kind of books to them.
This book reads along very similar lines to the last one I reviewed, it’s about a fox cub experiencing a new season and wondering at all the changes in his surroundings – his mother tries to answer his many questions about his first summer in the best way she can. Winter is left far behind and he begins to notice that the days are warmer and longer, that the vegetables grow bigger in the rich soil, that the bees buzz around and make honey, and that there are thunderstorms sometimes and fields full of wild flowers. Cub wants to know why this is, so he asks questions such as ‘Why are the days so long?,’ and ‘Why are there so many wild flowers?’
Cub’s mum replies that the days are so long so that ‘We have more time for fun!’ and that all the flowers are ‘So that we can enjoy their beautiful smell!’ All her answers are beautifully simple, concise and touching as they are all about how they can enjoy the world together. Cub learns about his world through his mother’s observations and her actions. Both of them dance to the sounds of the birds singing and little Cub clings to his mum’s back as she climbs up to a bee hive to show him the busy bees making honey.
Whenever I read a book, I always try to work out what the author is trying to say, or the feelings that they are trying to get across. Wrong or right, I’m not sure, but Cub’s First Summer and Cub’s First Winter both strike me as a celebration of the wonderful sharing experience that is part of being a parent. Our children learn about the world through us and our eyes as well as their own, Cub and his mother revel and learn about the natural world together.
I love that at the end of each of Rebecca Elliot’s books, it shows both of them curling up in their den, snug, warm and safe – the day’s lessons learnt. The illustrations are gorgeous! The one where they curl up in their den is drawn in almost glowing shades of orange and earth brown, with the mother encircling the little cub with her fluffy, white tipped fox tail. As a mother myself, I look at that and remember the times when my two fell asleep in my arms and I felt like nothing else existed in the world.
There’s so much to look at too, although the pages aren’t cluttered. Swallows swoop over a rain striped sky on the thunderstorm page, and ladybirds climb up blades of grass for example. The drawings are lovely to look at, and the story is beautifully simple whilst still being entertaining.
If you and your children have an appreciation for the world outside your window, the sun and showers and the changing of the seasons – I honestly can’t see how you wouldn’t love this. Cub’s First Summer can be bought from Top That Publishing for £5.39 HERE, personally I think it’s priceless.
Top That Publishing sent me a copy of Cub’s First Summer to review, no other financial reward was given.