30 Days Wild.
Someone posted a photo of some old Ladybird fairy story books on Twitter which reminded me of the i-Spy books I had as a child of the 70s!
I remember going shopping in Saffron Walden and my treat would be a visit to the book shop that sold these small pocket books. Then the hunt would be on. Birds, insects, shells, even not so wild London landmarks and car journeys featured!
My interest in nature was caught earlier than the i-Spy books though by a story called The Children of Cherry Tree Farm by Enid Blyton. These sickly city children get sent off to stay at their Aunt and Uncle's Farm where they befriend a 'wild man' in the woods who teaches them about wildlife. I remember so desperately wanting to be those kids as the fox came and sat by the fire to hide from the hunt. I downloaded it recently to read again. Still loved it!
Another favourite, although it scared and worried me equally, was the much loved Watership Down. I also had a nature handbook. I've been trawling the web to see if I can find a photo of it but nothing so far. It might still be on the book shelf at my mum's house so I'll have to have a look next time I visit. This handbook and going on a Saturday morning to a nature club got me hooked. Unfortunately it didn't last long though. The mid 70s saw me off to secondary school and all those wishes to conform. We had the long hot summer of '76, Elvis died, Grease was at the cinema and nature wasn't cool anymore.
In fact it didn't really feature in my life again until fairly recently. Having a digital camera and the freedom to fail when a bird took off before I pressed the shutter helped. Finding happiness in walking or just being outside is a big factor.
You can still buy i-Spy books I've found out so they will be a part of my granddaughter's Christmas stocking or shopping treats in a few years time, although I've yet to figure out how i-Spy Dinosaurs will work!
(Images from Google Images)