My new non-fiction book, out now from Icon Books. It’s about kids – my kids, the nature-mad kid I used to be, everyone else’s kids, everywhere – and nature, the environment, the climate, Octonauts, Willard Price, Darwin, Anning, trees, leaves, jays, limpets.
You can order it here.
Some nice things people have said about it:
This is a touching book in all senses of the word, it is his tenderest book yet, and his truest. Generous, moving and alive. A gift.
Tim Dee, author of GREENERY
Intelligent, thought-provoking and always, always interesting. Children are full of wonder but they are also full of questions, forcing us to look afresh at the world around us. What I love about Richard Smyth’s writing is his willingness to engage with moral grey areas – the uncomfortable and the unexpected. He also makes me laugh. Dark and light: that’s what I want from a book
Cal Flyn, author of ISLANDS OF ABANDONMENT
A searching study of the nature of curiosity, and the curiosity of nature, Smyth writes with warmth and engaging perception about our relationship and understanding of the natural world on our doorsteps
Jon Dunn, author of THE GLITTER IN THE GREEN
Fresh and tender and playful. In truth, a book about sharing the wonders of nature with your kids could be the ickiest thing going, but it isn’t that at all. It’s about society and love and identity but it’s also a raw exploration of the way that children experience the world and the way that those experiences challenge adult self-delusion. Nature writing can be earnest and handwringing but this book isn’t: I laughed and laughed. I imagine it wasn’t Smyth’s intention to write a call to breed but it’s hard to read The Jay, the Beech and the Limpetshell without thinking that really we should all have some children, to avoid missing out on the joy of showing them finches in the park
Patrick Galbraith, author of IN SEARCH OF ONE LAST SONG
A delightfully irreverent, charming and hilarious guide on how to engage young children with nature, written with a real understanding of the way they experience the world
Stephen Moss, author of TEN BIRDS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD
Richard Smyth mixes up a rollicking and compulsively readable cocktail of memoir, environmental history, and tips for the nature-minded parent. Irreverent and earnest in perfect measure, The Jay, The Beech and the Limpetshell is, at heart, an ode to wonder
Thor Hanson, author of BUZZ and HURRICANE LIZARDS AND PLASTIC SQUID
The Jay, The Beech and the Limpetshell is a marvellous book, in that it is full of marvels. Richard’s prose is one such marvel: fast-paced, musical, and frequently very funny. So too his erudition and seemingly effortless range of reference. Most marvellous of all, though, is his loving, achingly honest commitment to bequeathing his children a world at which to marvel
Nick Acheson, author of THE MEANING OF GEESE