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The Animals of Farthing Wood

by Bryony Harrison (follow)
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animals of farthing wood, colin dann

The Animals of Farthing Wood is a series of seven stories written by naturalist, Colin Dann, the first of which was published in 1979. Although generally regarded as children's books (probably because it features talking animals and was later turned into a children's TV series), Colin Dann uses sophisticated language, and it is also appropriate for adults.

The seven stories are divided into a trilogy of books, which highlight environmental issues caused by man, and the effects it has on British wildlife.

When Farthing Wood is bulldozed to make way for housing, the woodland creatures, whose home has been destroyed, set out on a journey to White Deer Park. These animals, who would usually be one another's prey, take an oath of mutual protection to increase their chances of making it to the wildlife preserve.

Along the way, they face many dangers, such as motorways, pesticides, and farmers with guns. Not all of them make it, but those that do settle into the park to start their new lives.

animals of farthing wood, colin dann

In the second book, the Farthing Wood animals discover that White Deer Park is not necessarily the haven they had envisioned, especially since not all the inhabitants are that welcoming. Scarface, the leader of a pack of blue foxes, feels particularly threatened by these newcomers, and won't stand for any red foxes (or their offspring) sharing the area.

A Romeo and Juliette scenario eventually ends hostilities, but there are still more dangers yet to come.

animals of farthing wood, colin dann

In the final book, the original Farthing Wood animals are getting on in their years; they are not so spritely as before, and it takes the younger generations to whip them back into action when they are faced with the threat of a mysterious wild animal that goes on a killing spree. That plus a poisoned stream and rat invasion really dwindles their numbers.

Although classified as a children's series, Colin Dann does not shy away from the nitty gritty hardships of nature. Aside from the fact that foxes, owls, and snakes are living in harmony with toads, mice, and hares, The Animals of Farthing Wood is surprisingly naturalistic and realistic. The stories are very slow paced, however. Although this adds to the sense of realism and passing of seasons, it can become a bit tedious when the same sorts of conversations are repeated again and again.

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Glad you enjoyed it Vee. Did you enjoy the books as a child or as an adult? I did not read them until I was an adult, but watched the TV series as a kid.
Oh my gosh! This takes me back. Thanks for the article Bryony. :)
by Vee
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