Recent children’s books, such as The Lost Words, have drawn attention to the fact that knowledge of the natural world, which used to be commonplace, is dying out among younger generations.
Woodland Sounds is another book that aims to reverse this trend. High-quality sound recordings teach children what different woodland birds and animals sound like, and not only children: many adults will never have heard a cuckoo’s call, or a deer barking. On the other hand, the wood pigeon’s song is close enough to its urban cousins to elicit happy recognition in a toddler. It is not clear if some of the sounds –such as the splashing otter – are actual recordings of animal sounds, or just intended to stimulate the imagination. However, the child will be encouraged to look at the words for an explanation, which is no bad thing.
The functional text describes the sound. The illustrations show colourful woodland scenes full of birds, plants and animals, drawn in a bright, bubbly and nostalgic style reminiscent of 1980s cartoons. All the pages have cut-outs for toddlers to press their fingers into. The sounds are quite loud, which may or may not be an advantage.