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Whispering Woods-Tales from the Caledonian Forest is a magical and enchanting walk through the Scottish forest told by Alan Crawford and exquisitely illustrated by Susan Gray.
Author Alan Crawford invites us to sit by the fire and read this collection of tales aloud, and that’s exactly what our family did. Whispering Woods is a collection of 5 stories divided each into 2 parts. This organization mass great starting and stopping points.
Tale is told based on five of Scotland’s well known trees, The Alder, Ash, Birch, Rowan, and Softs Pine. Whispering Woods delivers us into the world of each tree and the folklore associated with it.
Whispering Woods is a collection of stories about Scotland’s native trees, that weave together threads of mythology and lore, herbal medicine, uses of timber and wood, woodland ecology and imagination to produce unique tales that are appealing to adults and children alike.
These stories will both entertain and inform. Whilst entering into the imaginary world of the story, the reader or listener will also start to become more familiar with the features of our native trees and their associated flora and fauna, leading to a deeper understanding of how species, including ourselves, depend on one another and the environment for survival. These beautifully illustrated stories evolved through a fortuitous, accidental meeting between the author and a teacher searching for original stories to read to children in the forest – stories that would both capture their imagination and enhance their understanding of, and respect for, the woodland environment. They will bring much pleasure to all who love the natural world.-Amazon
One piece of advice I would give is to read the glossary section first before reading the tales aloud. Each day I’d go into the glossary section to learn the Gaelic pronunciations of names and places, and it helped to know this information before hand so I could deepen the experience for the kids as I read each night.
**Please, oh PLEASE do not let a little Gaelic deter you from reading this book! You will be depriving yourself of a Scottish nature adventure like you’ve never heard of.
I have to mention this next little bit as well; this book is an actual joy to hold and handle. The pages are soft and silky and the book opens easily. There is a great balance in the design of the book between the gorgeous illustrations of Susan Grey and the lovely little imprints of each specific tree. All of this beauty of a book is printed on paper made from responsible resources which means there will be plenty of forest to walk through in the future as well as clean air because Whispering Woods uses responsible sources for its paper and non-toxic ink for its text.
Whispering Woods isn’t just a great teaching tool into the people, traditions, and woodlands of Scotland but a call to everyone of the importance of the trees that surround us. By the end of this book everyone will want to sustain and protect their forests. Alan Crawford plants these seeds brilliantly and with the confidence that we can live up to the challenge.
Author and master storyteller Alan Crawford knows a lot about the forests of Scotland as he has walked through most of them as a woodland consultant for the Forestry Commission’s Native Woodland Survey of Scotland. His knowledge is woven beautifully into each tale.
Something to Do:
All five of these stories inspire the imagination to do a myriad of activities to jump into the pages of this very fine book. However, we have chosen to jump into The Ferryman and the Fern King (The Alder Tale)
To save the ancient trees of Coille na Fearna from being cut down by Colum MacAllan, the Ferryman enlist the help of his very creative friends. To save the forest we will need to make a waistcoat, felted slippers, and a wooden brooch.
- Light-weight cotton lab coat .
- A collection of dry leaves. If it isn’t autumn in your part of the world, you can use paper or felt leaves as well.
- A glue gun. When working with children we always use a cold glue gun.
~ Gather a collection of leaves. You will need many of them for this project.
~ Start on the back of the lab coat and then work your way to the front section.
~Glue the leaves on the collar next.
~And then the sleeves.
It’s alright if you don’t cover the whole jacket. You can create a pattern with the leaves so that you have white sections and leafy sections of your jacket.
felted boot photos by Jennifer Tan
I learned how to make felted slippers from the ever talented Jennifer Tan. By far one of the best tutorials I’ve ever encountered. This tutorial is step by step with very clear instructions. Here’s a sampling of what you can do.
- Round wooden disks.
- Colored Pencils
- Pin clasp
1. Using colored pencils make a design on one side of the wooden disk.
2. Once finished add a pin clasp to the back side in a centered position.
We hope that you will read this amazing book, and if you do please share your experiences with us on Jump Into a Book, or on Whispering Woods’ Facebook Page.
Get your copy of Whispering Woods HERE. Happy Reading!
Concerned that your kids aren’t getting enough “outside time?”
Despite data that shows that 80% of natural vitamin D comes from the rays of the sun, many children, roughly only 23% are spending enough time outside and welcoming the sun’s rays. Most children do not get enough vitamin D from food alone and are at risk of deficiency if they are spending prolonged periods of time indoors. Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Marilyn Scott-Waters from The Toymaker have combined their respective talents to not only create a clever solution, but also an amazing guidebook to help parents help their children regain their interest and love of nature.
With over 120 pages, with 150 original color illustrations and 48 activities for families to enjoy, learn, discover and play together, A Year In the Secret Garden brings the magical story to life while also enjoying nature and the great outdoors.
With fascinating historical information, monthly gardening activities, easy-to-make recipes, and step-by-step crafts, designed to enchant readers of all ages. Each month your family will unlock the mysteries of a Secret Garden character, as well as have fun together creating the original crafts and activities based on the book. Our goal is to not only raise awareness for the necessity of families spending more quality “unplugged” time together, but to also share monthly activities that incorporate nature and the outdoors as well. Get your kids moving, exploring and playing today. Get access to this wonderful children’s activity book here.