C – Colin Dann

colin dannThere’s actually very little information about Colin Dann on the web. I know, I checked!  What I could determine is that he was born in 1943 making him 70 years old on the date of this post. He’s was born in Richmond, Surrey, and now lives in London. Colin Dann wrote a very lovely series of books beginning with the Animals of Farthing Wood, for which he was the Winner of the first NATIONAL BOOK AWARD for Children’s Literature. My edition, which I still have and treasure, is a first edition paperback printed in 1980. I have no idea how it came to be in my possession as I could not have read it until the mid to late 80’s but the price on the back tickles me, it was £2.50.

The Editors note inside reads:

Colin Dann bred butterflies as a boy and kept all manner of strange pets, such as toads, slow-worms, terrapins and giant snails, as well as the more conventional animals like hamsters, tortoises and mice.  He still has a strong interest in natural history, in particular entomology.  He now prefers to study nature in the wild, and his concern for our vanishing countryside and its effect on wild animals led to the writing of the Animals of Farthing Wood.

deforestation

Through reading Colin Dann’s novels I began my journey towards becoming an environmentally conscious person. In the opening chapters the forest is destroyed and the animals made homeless. As an animal lover the idea of animals suffering and habitats being destroyed by greedy corporations was shocking especially at the age of eight or nine when I still believed in unicorns, fairies and all things honour bound. In fact, I still struggle to understand how they are even given permission by authorities to do it. We have lost so much of our natural environment, have damaged our local, regional and global ecosystems to the bring of toxic overload and extinction, and that makes me incredibly sad.

DSCF1764

Most of what has been lost may never be regained but we can still do much to fix the situation.  The few sparse nature reserves, the SSSI’s, LNR’s, & NNR’s, are but a start.  Yes we have succeeded in preserving a few important habitats, what we must do now is create more, nurture new areas and allow nature to re establish itself, creating more woodlands, wetlands and hedgerows. These are among Britain’s richest habitats.

You can support the work of environmental activists by becoming a member of nature based facebook pages, and joining in with campaigns, signing petitions and most importantly researching and understanding the little things you can do at home.  Shop ethically, recycle, look at your own carbon footprint.  There is so much information on the internet  and so many companies trying to do ethical business just waiting for consumers to choose them.

Anyway, this is a subject I’m most passionate about and I can easily lose myself in.  I’ll paste a few webpages at the bottom of the article for those who want to find out more. For now, I shall return to Colin Dann and the Animals of Farthing Wood.

List of Works

The Animals of Farthing Wood                                 The King of the Vagabond Series

In the Grip of Winter                                                       The Lions of Lingmere Series

Fox’x Feud                                                                              Nobody’s Dog

The Fox Cub Bold                                                                The Ram of Sweetriver

The Siege of White Deer Park                                       The Beach Dogs

In the Path of the Storm                                                   Just Nuffin

Battle for the Park                                                               A Great Escape

Farthing Wood – The Adventure Begins                              Legacy of Ghosts

Reviews

The_Animals_of_Farthing_Wood

 

The Animals of Farthing Wood follows the journey of the animals who make a pact to help each other survive after their home is destroyed. They work together (awkwardly at first) to find the promised land, White Deer Park.  It is a nature reserve where animals are safe from humans, but the journey is long, hard and trying.  They are led by a wise badger and a clever fox. The story is told from the point of view of the animals which is very appealing for children.  Here’s a snippet from chapter three, where Toad finds out the humans have destroyed the pond:

 

Toad looked at Fox with an expression of disbelieving horror.  ‘But…but…they couldn’t!’ he whispered.  ‘I was born there. My parents were born there… and all my relatives, and acquaintances.  And every spring we have a reunion.  Toads all around leave their land homes and make for their birthplace.  They couldn’t take that away from us?’ He looked pathetically from one sad face to another, almost compelling someone to deny this awful piece of information, but he received no answer.

‘Filled all of it in? Is it…quite gone?’

It is after this revelation that it becomes clear to the animals that if they are to survive they must find a new home.

Resources for making a difference

http://www.avaaz.org/en/

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org

http://www.recycling-guide.org.uk/facts.html

http://www.devonwildlifetrust.org/

http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/

Find your local nature reserve and volunteer!

 

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5 responses to “C – Colin Dann

  1. Visiting on day 3 of the #atozchallenge with all my fellow writers. I appreciate all the hard work it takes to participate. I hope you make many new blogging friends. Appreciate all the work/research for this post. For the #challenge, too long because people don’t have that much time to spend. Congratulations on a great theme idea, however. Have fun! If you have time or interest, I’m writing about gardening, mostly English gardening and related things, this year. Problem..all this social media keeps me from writing the NEXT chapter.

    • Not directly I don’t think. Just in shaping my own awareness through reading the fictional children’s novels. I wonder if anyone else developed similar a awareness through reading them.

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