Into the Wild

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Robert Vescio (text) and Mel Armstrong (illustrator), Into the Wild, New Frontier Publishing, December 2020, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9781921928789

Robert Vescio has written many picture books and says that one of his aims is to write stories the help children to better understand their world. Here he explores a child’s relationship with nature, the ‘wild’ to be found close to home.

Roman loves to take solitary rambles along the seaside or into the forest. With his magnifying glass, his net and handy bag he examines bugs, crabs, squirrels, and stares at owls, foxes, and squirrels. He ponders the vastness and the depth of nature and longs to share his discoveries. He is thrilled when he unexpectedly finds a friend.

This gentle story celebrates the wonder of nature, the serendipity of wandering without intent and the rewards of sharing experiences. There is plenty happening on each page that echoes a young child’s own experiences of being out ‘in the wild’: rock-hopping, catching a crab, walking along a beach, climbing a tree in a forest, walking along a stream.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful, Roman is a very distinctive character with his spiky hair and big glasses, and the nature shown is bold, beautiful, and full of life.

A timely book that encourages children to explore and enjoy the world around them.

Reviewed by Mia Macrossan

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