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‘The Insect Hotel’ by David Stringer (A Prize from #IndieBooksBeSeen for #IndieRoar)
This is a wonderful & truly unique little book, and like the Quality Street sweets, ‘Made for Sharing’. The cover is designed by Donna Harriman Murillo; it is very bright & beautiful, it is not this however, that makes this book distinctive. I say it is unique, purely because I have never come across a book like this before. The internal pages are all edged with little illustrations, but it is the actual paper that these words & images are printed upon, that makes it so different.
The paper is a strange dry, dusty, garden soil grey colour. Holding the book I could well imagine being out in the garden, in the dry summer heat. Upon turning each page, I felt like I might smudge the words across the sheet and end with little bits of gritty grey dust, upon the tips of my fingers. Of course this didn’t happen thankfully, it was just my over the top imagination, running away with itself.
This book gives you every opportunity for the imagination to run wild. It’s exciting, funny and also educational.
So to the story, it’s all about a little boy called Harry and his Dad. The idea for building an ‘Insect Hotel’ came about one day when Dad wanted to get himself and Harry out into the fresh air. Dad has a great love of nature and he wants to share it with his young son. Together the pair spends their days in the garden, with Harry learning about the insects, plants & wildlife, along with doing little chores, like watering the plants.
Then in the evenings, at bedtime, Dad makes up stories, these are created around the adventures and activities of the day. The little tales are delightful and often funny and Dad hopes they will send Harry off into Dreamland.
Characters & Hotel Guests.
Dad of course is the main character; he is everybody’s dream parent, spending quality time with his son Harry, teaching and nurturing. This little boy, as most children are, is inquisitive with his ‘Why’s’ and ‘What’s this’? How does that work, etc? Then more often than not, his attention span has been lost. His mind has moved on to other things and he is away, off on another adventure or playing on his wonderful yellow (mountain) slide. You’ll get this when you read the book.
The story is actually split into five little chapters, each one for a different insect character and bed-time story.
Chapter 1 is about Woodster – a woodlouse that happens to be the insect equivalent of a ‘Handyman’, his story is mixed in with that of the ants, rushing around with their red shiny safety hats, fixing the roof of the hotel.
Stinker is the star of chapter 2 – a shiny green shield bug, who works as a bowtie salesman. Again to find out the story of Stinker you will have to read the book, unless of course you are an insect specialist and already know about the green shield bug?
Chapter 3’s character is a thrill seeking, young and very energetic snail called Curly Whirly and boy is he fast.
Next chapter 4, which happens to be my favourite of the book, features two spiders – Conundrum & Nutmeg weird names for these arachnids, but hey ho. Spiders have come a long way, since Incy Wincy climbed up the waterspout, for these two are no less than style guru’s who want to re-decorate the ‘Insect Hotel’.
I don’t have an ‘Insect Hotel, in my garden perhaps if I did the design duo might pay it more attention than my house. It’s like the hotel lobby on my landing, with fine silk filigree curtains strewn wall to wall and ceiling to floor. Spider Utopia. However, I would rather put up with their decorating, than lose the protection of these eight legged bodyguards who are great at getting rid of any filthy, germ breeding, low life flies.
Our final character is a little ladybird, who is always being mocked by the other insects, particularly the spiders. Gamble is his name, this he inherited after a rough game of roulette with some big frogs, who happened to be using him as a dice, on account of his spots.
At the end of the book, we get to learn how the ‘Insect Hotel’ was constructed, and why Dad & Harry took up with the project in the first place, with no costs involved.
Or being lazy, you could buy one already made from the likes of Amazon?
Myself I found this a fun and engaging read. A book so exciting that it really must be shared with the whole family. Best of all, it encourages learning, and the chance to enjoy the great outdoors, an activity which will always be FREE!
I sure hope there is a follow up book, the final pages hint at new projects surrounding the extension of the hotel. Now thinking along the lines of Bill Oddie the Comedian (before becoming nature man), this book is ‘Goody Goody, Yum Yum’ (Sorry I had to get this little reference in being as the Great Bill Oddie of the Goodies fame wrote the foreword for this little treasure. Words changed to prevent copyright infringement.)
Top Rating a 3 Rose ~ Very Highly Recommended.