Tag Archives: wildlife

Celebrating Attenborough

When I was 13 I queued up at a bookshop in Birmingham to meet David Attenborough at a signing launch event for publication of ‘The Living Planet’. I actually cheekily asked him to sign my previously purchased paperback copy of ‘Life on Earth’ as I couldn’t afford to buy the hardback ‘Living Planet.’ I’ve still got the book & the newspaper cutting from his visit!

I’ve always been a massive wildlife fan and an avid watcher of his television programmes. My grandmother used to say she was going to write to the BBC and say if ever David Attenborough wanted to give up his job I was a prime candidate to take over!
I don’t know whether she ever did write in – but given he is still working as a wildlife presenter it would have been a very long wait!

So instead I’ve been inspired to try and follow in his footsteps to see for myself some of the wonders he has shared with us in his documentaries. As a result I’ve been lucky enough to sit with gorillas in Uganda, marvelled at the migration in the Serengeti, island hopped in the Galapagos looking for finches and iguanas, as well as getting up close with lemurs in Madagascar and taking to the oceans to watch whales.

Hopefully sharing my travels and love of nature through photography, illustrations and story writing with my nieces, nephews and other children will help to inspire a new generation of wildlife enthusiasts.

Pick up a Penguin

Today is World Penguin Day celebrating our tuxedo clad flightless feathered friends who walk with waddle but swim with amazing speed and grace.
I'm reminded of the story 'And Tango Makes Three' by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. The story is set in Central Park Zoo and tells the tale of two chinstrap penguins Roy and Silo and how they become parents to Tango.
It's a great story wonderfully illustrated by Henry Cole - yet the American Library Association reports that 'And Tango Makes Three' was the most challenged book of 2006 to 2010, except for 2009 when it was the second most challenged.
But just like the story says this penguin family isn't really any different from everyone else - "..they (Roy, Silo and Tango) snuggled together and, like all the other penguins in the penguin house, and all the other animals in the zoo, and all the families in the big city around, they went to sleep."
Penguins perhaps have a thing or two they can teach some people too!

Here be dragons

Well today is the feast of St George the patron saint of England famed for killing a dragon, which got me thinking about other incarnations of these mythical creatures.
The first that springs to mind is Idris a small, red Welsh dragon who is hatched out of his egg in the fire of Ivor the Engine a steam train featured in 1970's children's animation by Oliver Postgate.
Then of course there’s Smaug from Tolkein’s Hobbit story, as well as 'Puff' the Magic Dragon from the song performed American folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.
A person favourite of mine is Falkor the Luckdragon from the Never Ending Story – I love that film, but I have to confess I’ve never read the book. Perhaps I should?
I’ve been lucky enough to visit China where dragons are seen in temples, on boats and dancing at celebrations. From my travels there I brought back a dragon netsuke – although I appreciate these actually originate from Japan!
And then there are the real life dragons of Komodo – I’ve never meet one other than seeing them at Jersey Zoo, but I’ve had some encounters with some relatives of the Komodo dragon including Nile and Bosc monitor lizards during my time as volunteer worker at a pet rescue centre, as well as meeting the marine iguanas on my travels to the Galapagos. Maybe one day I’ll get to meet a Goanna in Australia just like the one in my story “Whose egg are you?”
Recently I’ve also been drawing dragons, I’m taking part in the #AnimalAlphabets challenge on Twitter so if I can keep it up I’ll have 26 mythical beasts to add to my illustrations portfolio!