It’s my stop on the blog tour for A Wild Child’s Book of Birds by naturalist Dara McAnulty and award-winning illustrator Barry Falls. I’m delighted to be sharing a special note from Barry about his favourite “bird” in the book and how he illustrated it.
A Wild Child’s Book of Birds is a beautiful book, full of fascinating fact about British birds. Split into the four seasons, Dara and Barry guide you through the life cycle of birds as well as teach you what to grow to attract different birds to your garden and what foods to put out on your bird table.
My daughters love spotting birds in the garden and enjoyed seeing species they recognised and also learning about new ones. They particularly loved learning about birdsong.
Barry has designed every page differently, presenting Dara facts about bird’s beaks, nests and eggs, the science of flight, migration in a really engaging way. I personally loved reading about birds in literature! There is something in this book for everyone, no matter your age. A Wild Child’s Book of Birds is the perfect gift for birders, young and old!
Now it’s over to Barry to tell us about his favourite bird and how it was illustrated…
My favourite bird to draw is actually not a bird at all, but a dinosaur! In the feathers section Dara wanted to talk about the therapod known as Archaeopteryx, and provide an illustration of it alongside a modern-day Cormorant.
This was a bit of a challenge as we can’t know exactly what it looked like – the fossil records provide a fascinating but incomplete picture, and so I had to do quite a bit of picture research to decide how this ancient creature should be depicted. It was a lot of fun and allowed me a certain amount of creative license. I tried to make it clear in the artwork that my illustration is what the Archaeopteryx MAY have looked like!
That’s fascinating! Thank you so much Barry!
A Wild Child’s Book of Birds was published by Macmillan, 15 September 2022
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour!
About the author:
Dara McAnulty is a naturalist, conservationist and activist from Northern Ireland. He’s received many awards for his conservation work, including from BBC Springwatch, The Daily Mirror and Birdwatch magazine. He’s written and presented numerous natural history programmes for BBC radio and television, and become an ambassador for the RSPCA, the iWill campaign and the Jane Goodall Institute. Dara is the youngest ever recipient of the RSPB medal for conservation. He lives with his family and Rosie the rescue-greyhound at the foot of the Mourne Mountains in County Down. His first book Diary of a Young Naturalist won the 2020 Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing.
About the illustrator:
Barry Falls grew up in rural Northern Ireland, where he spent a lot of time drawing pictures and writing stories to go with them. When he got to art college in Belfast, he discovered that he might be able to do such a thing for a living, and was very excited. Since then, he’s been working as a commercial illustrator, and picking up multiple awards for the work he does for such clients as The New York Times, American Airlines, The Telegraph, Laurence King Publishing and many more besides. His work has appeared in magazines, books, exhibitions, on textiles and homeware, and in advertising campaigns around the world. His first book, It’s Your World Now! was published in 2019.
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book. This voluntary feature contains my honest opinion.