FINE FEATHER PRESS is bringing out their next bird-inspired book, ‘The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs’, which will include a number of birds from the Carmarthenshire area.
Nostalgia for a bygone time, and a desire for 21st-century children to capture the essence of those days, is the driving force behind Fine Feather Press, a specialist natural history publishing company.
Established by Andrea Pinnington and Caz Buckingham, the business has been trading for three years. Their bestseller has been ‘The Little Book of Garden Bird Songs’, which sold out last year within three weeks, has already reprinted three times and has gained widespread acclaim from reviewers and parents alike.
Following the success of ‘The Little Book of Garden Bird Songs’, the newest release from Fine Feather Press features twelve songs from some of Britain’s best-loved feathered friends who inhabit the forests and woodlands throughout the UK.
Originally designed for young children, these sound books turn out to be popular with the whole family and especially among parents and grandparents who have fun learning with their offspring.
The solid board pages are chunky enough for the smallest of hands to manage, and include beautifully illustrated information about each featured bird.
As well as describing their habitat, feeding habits and physical appearance, there is also a little known fact about each bird – did you know that pheasants occasionally launch territorial attacks on people, animals and even cars?
What brings these books to life is the sound bar, which enables you to identify each different bird by its song.
The newest book features twelve wonderful birds; the long-tailed tit, the great spotted woodpecker, the cuckoo, the nuthatch, the willow warbler, the goldcrest, the buzzard, the jay, the woodpigeon, the coal tit, the pheasant, and the tawny owl.
Commenting on ‘The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs’, Andrea Pinnington of Fine Feather Press said: “We were delighted with the response to our first book. Chris Evans called it ‘genius’ on his BBC Radio 2 Show; parents and grandparents raved about it with comments on Amazon such as, ‘It’s the sort of book which children have to plead with the adults to let them have a look and, as of this afternoon, my granddaughter was still out in the garden trying to identify various birds and their calls. Everything about it is superb.”’
Both Andrea and Caz of Fine Feather Press have significant experience in publishing, having worked for a number of well-established publishers. Before setting up Fine Feather Press, Andrea had authored numerous children’s non-fiction books and had worked as an editor on many more. Caz’s background is in art direction and book design and, having forged a friendship while working together, the pair realised that they had the skills to set up business and produce their own titles on a subject that they are passionate about: nature.
“Both of us spent significant amounts of our childhood in the countryside during an era when you could leave the house in the morning, roam free all day and return when your stomach told you it was time to go home for tea,” says Caz.
“Very few children these days have that sort of freedom, plus the lure of virtual worlds seen via a computer and from a warm, comfy chair makes it less likely that children would want to spend lots of time outside.”
Both Andrea and Caz have teenage children, so they know, first-hand, the challenges of getting youngsters engaged with the great outdoors.
The realisation that many children are growing up without even a basic knowledge and appreciation of the natural world provides the driving force for Fine Feather Press. They’re not alone in their concern, with organisations such as the National Trust promoting the growth of Nature Deficit Disorder, a term used to describe children’s disconnection with the natural world.
“We regard what we do as having two benefits: our titles help to bring the natural world to young children in a fun and educational way, plus they provide the tools for parents to interact with their children in a way that costs little yet is extremely rewarding,” says Andrea.
Although publishing can provide challenging business models, they are encouraged by the way their work is being received.
“We could see that there was a gap in the market for good quality, highly visual, nature-based titles so we were optimistic we could make a success of the business if we went about it in the right way,” says Andrea. We have now produced 28 titles, sold over 65,000 books with many more in production, and we are rapidly being seen as the number one children’s nature publisher in the UK.
“We produce all the written, photographic and design content ourselves and juggling this with the business side can, at times, be challenging. It can seem indulgent to go for a walk on a crisp winter morning, camera in hand, rather than sit in front of our computer screens, but if we didn’t get out we’d have nothing to publish. It’s certainly a world away from the nine-to-five careers we used to have and we wouldn’t swap it for the world.”
At £12.99, ‘The Little Book of Woodland Bird Songs’ is a real keepsake that will be enjoyed by children and everyone young at heart. Available from February 15, it’s suitable for children and grown-ups aged 3 and up.