The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann.
There are SO MANY books that I’ve read more than once. Almost everything on my bookshelf, I have read more than once. But if I had to pick only ONE book to talk about, it would be this one. My personal version is so well-loved that its cover is filled with creases.
Because it’s simply wonderful. It’s a children’s chapter book, but like the Harry Potter series, can also be equally enjoyed by adults. It’s the tale of a group of animals whose home – Farthing Wood – is being redeveloped. Helpless to stop their home being destroyed for the good and greed of mankind, the animals decide to set off together for a nature reserve known as White Deer Park, led by Toad, who’s passed the park on his way returning home after being captured.
The animals are a mix of predators and prey, carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. They make a pact of Mutual Protection, which means they can’t eat each other, basically, and set off, led by Fox and his right-hand man, Badger.
This book made me fall in love with British wildlife and foxes in particular. Being Tasmanian, I find foxes ever so exotic. Odd that I grew up in the only place in the world, bar Antarctica, where foxes do not live. Perhaps that contributed to my obsession. or perhaps it was the brave Fox of this book and his Vixen who helped me love this creature more than any other.
This is a book of my childhood, and I think it is important for children to read it to get an understanding and a respect for wildlife. As a child with a limited book supply, I’d re-read it every couple of months. I just loved it. Now that my bookshelf has expanded, I haven’t read it in some years. I recently got my hands on the complete series, so I will be devouring them soon.