BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Lottie Loves Nature (available here) is the first in a new early reader series from well-known author Jane Clarke, with a focus on engaging children with the natural world. The highly-illustrated series is well pitched for 6-8 year olds and it combines fun stories with science fact to encourage children to engage with and help to look after the wildlife on their doorsteps.
Lottie is an endearing young girl who is passionate about wildlife. She will introduce readers to fascinating facts and easy wildlife projects they can try at home throughout these funny stories about life with her science-mad brother and clumsy dog, Einstein. Scrapbook pages and lively black and white illustrations feature throughout.
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 talks about how she mixes fact with fiction.
Mixing fact with fiction
by Jane Clarke , author of Lottie Loves Nature (available here)
I’m passionate about nature, and so is Lottie! Every little thing matters, and there are lots of little things she, and everyone, can do to help.
I’ve loved mixing fact with fiction In Lottie Loves Nature. There are so many wonderful things to share, the facts - and the fact pages - popped up naturally as I was writing the story.
For me, it began with the character who leads the story. Lottie is an amalgam of fact and fiction herself. She’s based on my younger son, Rob, who shares many of her wildly enthusiastic nature-loving traits. Lottie is the twin sister of the science-obsessed Al from my Al’s Awesome Science books, so she already comes complete with a family including their less than brilliant, but very friendly dog, Einstein. In this new series, I’ve given Lottie a parrot as a pet (inherited from a Great Aunt) so there’s lots of opportunity for parrot and dog chaos even before frogs and other creatures get added to the mix!
The Lottie stories are driven by Lottie and her burning desire to help nature. Like many of us, she has a favourite wildlife show, and I’ve used that to spark off her ideas for how to help nature. In this, the first book of the series, the main project is making a small container pond. Lottie’s favourite TV show, ‘Every Little Thing,’ is hosted by Samira Breeze and is inspired by the nature programmes I have watched over the years including The Really Wild Show, all the Attenborough series I’ve been glued to, and programmes like Spring Watch. Samira’s show ‘bookends’ the stories, with her Conservation Corner at the end sharing a threatened species story with a hopeful outcome. It also provides an extra motivation for Lottie - the person who sends in the best nature notebook will get the chance to be a wildlife presenter on TV. The team at my publisher, Five Quills, had fun making some of the non-fiction pages look like pages from Lottie’s notebook.
A story has to have conflict, of course, and mostly this is provided by Lottie’s neighbour, Mr Parfitt, who hates nature and has transformed his back yard into a golf course, complete with artificial grass. Mr Parfitt’s son, Noah, loves computers and is determined to be one of the first colonists on Mars. I’m very fond of Noah - he has his own non-fiction pages, called Noah’s Next Level, in cartoon style. They offer an opportunity to showcase exciting technological developments that are based on - or can help - the natural world. It’s been an absolute pleasure to research technology and trips to Mars one moment, and ants and frogs the next, and to be able to slip the odd awful pun into the cartoons!
The team at Five Quills has done a wonderful job of bringing together all these fiction and non-fiction elements. I hope readers will have fun reading the story, and that the non-fiction pages will encourage them to help nature in small and often simple ways they can do at home. As Lottie (and Samira) would say - every little thing matters!
Lottie Loves Nature: Frog Frenzy by Jane Clarke, illustrated by James Brown, is published on 1st October 2020, £6.99 paperback, by Five Quills.
Many thanks to the publishers for sending us a review copy and to Jane for the guest post.
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