Eaton Bray author's Treeture Creatures and Flowerbuds teaches children to recognise different types of trees

'I think trees are our heroes: they clean the air, they help use breathe, they filter the water we drink and they provide a habitat for life on earth'

Monday, 28th June 2021, 5:33 pm
Updated Monday, 28th June 2021, 5:37 pm

A creative Eaton Bray author has launched a new children’s book to teach youngsters about the importance of trees for the environment.

Marian Hawkins, 56, is inviting readers to come on a journey with Oaky the Oak Leaf, as he tries to make his way home and meets some unfamiliar characters along the way.

Her new story, ‘Treeture Creatures and Flowerbuds’ is the first in a series of books incorporating rhyming, facts, and beautiful illustrations to inspire a love for trees and nature.

Oaky the Oak Leaf. Right: Marian’s labrador, the story and swatch booklets, and an oak tree gifted from a friend for the Edlesborough Carnival float.

Marian told the LBO: “Initially, the idea came from when I was a child, remembering back to the Brownies.

“We used to have an activity where they would ask everybody to collect something beginning with each letter of the word Brownies, and for ‘o’ I used to pick up an oak leaf.

“I was just walking the dogs and remembering, when I thought, do children know about trees these days - can they identify different types of leaves?

“I thought that I could make the leaves into characters and build a story around them, making it semi-educational, helping children to identify leaves and trees, whilst telling the message about how important they are for the environment.”

The book and swatch booklets. Right: Marian Hawkins.

Marian had the idea of creating faces for the different leaves, and researched the history surrounding the many species of trees - for example Oaky has a little crown because the oak tree - ‘Oak King’ - is the personification of summer in folklore.

The author praised illustrator and artist Gaynor Volpi - “she nailed how I wanted the characters to look” - while she also thanked graphic designer, Peter Trew, who helped to format the special swatch booklets.

The portable Tree and Flower Trail Swatch booklets can accompany the book, and encourage readers to explore with Oaky and his friends.

Marian added: “There’s quite a big campaign to get children outside and active and that’s something I’m voicing as well.”

Marian launched her story on June 23 and is hoping to have a float celebrating trees at Edlesborough Carnival, as the theme is heroes.

Marian said: “I think trees are our heroes: they clean the air, they help use breathe, they filter the water we drink and they provide a habitat for life on earth.

“Over the years we have planted pear, apple, cherry, plum and greengage trees in our garden.”

‘Treeture Creatures and Flowerbuds: Oaky the Oak Leaf’ is published by Blue Falcon Publishing and is available from Amazon and Foyles.

Marian would like to thank her husband Jim and her three grown up children Sarah, Rose and John for their support.

She concluded: “When writing the story I tried to channel my inner child. I don’t think I ever grew up.

“I went through the process of re-writes, editing and proof reading, and holding the draft copy of the book was a lovely feeling.

“I hope children will really enjoy this!”