Cover Image: When We Went Wild

When We Went Wild

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

When We Went Wild by Isabella Tree is a pretty picture book with a good message, that nonetheless suffers from pretty heavy handed messaging. I realize books for kids need to simplify complex issues, and organic farming and developing wild spaces are issues I care about. And yet somehow I found myself almost rolling my eyes at passages in the book. Didactic. Preachy. Well-intentioned but pushy. Those words and phrases all come to mind.

Which is unfortunate, because the art is charming in both style and subject. The British countryside is picturesque. And, like I said, the moral of the story is an important one, and is also based on true stories, including the author's own experiences. Maybe children, as the intended audience, won't mind, and will simply understand the story and feel bad for the sad cows and pigs before, and the happy birds and butterflies afterwards. And maybe adults sharing this book with a child will think twice about using pesticides, and instead consider letting parts of their outdoor spaces be a little more wild and natural. And think about how rewilding's ability to absorb more water will benefit all developed areas, in this age of catastrophic flooding.  I hope so, but I am not confident that will happen.

For that reason, I'm not sure I'd wholeheartedly recommend When We Went Wild. I'd at most recommend with the above caveats. If it sounds like a message important enough to put up with a little preaching, or you just want to admire the illustrations, you may enjoy it more than I did. Thank you anyway to #NetGalley and Ivy Kids for allowing me to read a free temporary digital advanced copy of #WhenWeWentWild in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This was a good book! It’s not my favorite kids book, but it wasn’t bad. I liked how it’s trying to teach kids how the chemicals can be harmful. The pictures were really good.
Was this review helpful?
*received for free from netgalley for honest review* this book makes no sense. what kind of family farm has that kind of equipment? did they plant everything by hand after? milk the cows by hand? did they just raise the cows or pets, for meat? happy i always read books before reading them to kids.
Was this review helpful?
When a farm decides to stop using crazy machines and let their plants grow wild, the local community is upset. But it turns out, going wild is the best thing that has ever happened to them. A charming story about returning to nature, this is sure to be embraced by naturalists and kids who want to know what we can do to save our planet NOW!
Was this review helpful?
SO CUTE. A story about the benefits of getting back to nature-- two farmers decide to cut the chemicals out of their farm because they can't pay their bills, but their misfortune ends up being a great benefit for their whole town!
Was this review helpful?
I would imagine that farming is a tough life at the best of times, long hours and hard work in all conditions, but if you loved it and it made you happy then it’s worth it.  But what if you weren’t happy, and you could see that the animals on your farm weren’t happy, what then?  

The characters in this book are in that situation, not happy with the chemicals, not happy with the way their farm is headed…so they make the move to literally get back to basics.   No more chemicals, no more fancy machines, no more sheds for the animals…just sit back and wait for nature to do its thing…and it did.  Not only did this rewilding benefit the farm, it also benefitted the town when they needed it the most.

I like that fact that there are author notes in the book, letting us know that this specific story is not true, but it’s a blending of many rewilding stories. I really like the information about the rain and flooding and how wild land can hold huge amounts of water, like a sponge, but water just runs off heavily plowed land…which can result in flooding in heavy rains.

I do often wonder if this type of farming is sustainable. As in, can we grow enough food to feed everyone?  It turns out we can, if we didn’t waste so much.  

And it’s not limited to farms.  We can all do a little rewilding, in our urban communities, backyards or balconies!

A simple book, that opens a whole lot of discussion, just the kind of book that I love.

Thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group – Ivy Kids for the chance to review this title.
Was this review helpful?
This was such an impactful children's story about the ways in which chemicals and the alteration of nature is damaging to the world. It shows the benefits of allowing nature to control itself, and how the pros of doing so greatly outweigh the cons. I cannot wait for this to come out in physical copies because I think it has a great message about nature and I would love to be able to share this with my daughter when she gets a little older!
Was this review helpful?
I loved the idea of this book and heard about it frequently prior to reading it. I believe many adults and farms could use rewilding and this book was a perfect opportunity. I enjoyed how the book covered the challenges the farm faced before, during and even after the wilding process and how some were inspired and some still hated and didn't trust. I didn't love the beginning of the book and wished there would have been more joy to start the story.
From a reader who wishes everyone would go wild in some form or another, this book was a win for me.
Was this review helpful?
A pretty awesome picture book showing kids the harm of chemicals and such and how they harm things. The pictures are also beautiful.
Was this review helpful?
Very cute and and interesting book! I liked to learn about the rewilding of lands. It's wonderful to know that the author let her own farm go wild. So... Let's all go wild!
Was this review helpful?
Call it nostalgia, call it withdrawals - lately I have felt a strong desire to read children's books and get back to reviewing them.  Inspired by a true story, When We Went Wild is a book about two farmers Nancy and Jake who decide that they are missing nature and the "real world" as their farm became taken over with chemicals, machinery, and fancy new tools. On a whim, the couple decides to get rid of it all and return their farm to its natural habitat. Of course, they are met with resistance from the locals but soon the townspeople come to realize the benefits of a wild and natural farm. This story was inspired by a couple who in 2000 in the smalltown of Knepp, West Sussex UK decided to rewild their farm. Complete with beautiful illustrations that are Safari meets Farm Life, this sophisticated picture book is perfect for ages 6-9 years old.
Was this review helpful?
Not everything's answer is technology and chemicals! 

Let's go wild. Let's go natural. Let's go green.

Let's not depend too much on machines, technology and chemicals. They help and make things easier but overusing them have caused too much harm.

And this story tells just that.

Beautiful illustrations from cover to cover, a refreshing book and yes, let's go back to being wild.

Thank you, authors and publisher, for the advance reading copy.
Was this review helpful?
The print copies of this book are sustainably printed and encourage sustainable farming and encourage us to take care of the land for the kids who will be reading this. Nancy and Jake are modern farmers. They use machines and chemicals but their animals seem sad and they can barely pay their bills. When they get a flyer advertising a wild safari in Africa, they get inspired to bring the wild to their own home. They sell off the machines and chemicals and let the land return to its natural, wild state. The animals are happier, wildflowers grow which attract birds and bees and nature crops up all around them. Their neighbors are angry until a heavy rain comes and going wild saves the town from flooding.

This book is about letting nature do its thing. Machines and chemicals and modern technology aren’t good for the land, and just letting it be can be more beneficial both for the Earth and for us. This book encourages us to think about the practices we use to grow our food and how we might leave behind a good, healthy place for our children to live. I enjoyed its message and its simple, classic illustrations. It’s out as of Tuesday, so check it out.
Was this review helpful?
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It seems a little dramatic both in the beginning and at the end. But I enjoyed the middle. And the art was good.
Was this review helpful?
When We Went Wild is a children's book, focused on the virtues of living a more organic lifestyle.  Nancy and Jake owned a farm, where they used chemicals to keep weeds and insects at bay, and literally no one on the farm was happy.  Nancy and Jake had huge bills to pay, and the pigs and cows on the farm were really unhappy most of the time.  When they finally didn't know just how they were going to pay their bills, they decided to sell the equipment and chemicals, and let their farm go wild.  They let wildflowers grow, and didn't kill the bugs or weeds that began to take over the farm.  The neighbors were angry, until the uncultivated land saved their own homes from flooding during  a big rainstorm.  Because of the grass and flowers, the ground was able to soak up all the rainwater, and didn't affect any of the structures in the area.

Generally, this book was entertaining and easily got across the point that they were trying to make.  I think it is an idyllic point of view, and the end of the book really made that idealism show.  In the book, the world was a much happier place without the chemicals and the farm machinery.  I just don't know if this can be translated into the real world as smoothly.

Overall, this book got across the point it was trying to make, in an easily understood way for both children and adults.  This would be a read alone for an older school aged child, or a book suited for a toddler being read to.  The illustrations were spot on, and gave a soft picture of the way the earth would be if it were more "wild".

Thank you to the author, illustrator, publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
When We Went Wild is a retelling of the wilding of the author's estate, Knepp Castle in West Sussex written and illustrated for children. Due out 1st June 2021 from Quarto on their Ivy Kids imprint, it's 32 pages and will be available in hardcover and ebook formats. 

This is such a beautifully illustrated, exciting, and encouraging book for kids and their teachers, families, and facilitators. It's very simple but shows the concepts clearly and understandably for even very young readers. The author explains some of the concepts, and mentions regenerative farming, rewilding, and resource equity in the afterword which could prove a good starting point for very valuable conversations with our children or in a classroom setting. 

The book is beautifully and simply illustrated with a wealth of subtle detail and colour. There are insects, animals, and wildflowers on almost every page. It's never directly referenced in the text, but I appreciated that the human characters are multi-ethnic. Representation is important. (I like that the author and illustrator didn't make a huge deal out of it; but it's nice to see, nevertheless). 

This would make a good selection for public or school library or home. It's a heartening story and has a happy ending, but not without dramatic tension in the telling. 

Five stars. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
Was this review helpful?
When We Went Wild
by: Isabella Tree
Reviewed by: Jennifer Smith - "Page Journeys"
When We Went Wild is the first children's book by conservationist and award winning writer Isabella Tree. A sustainably printed book, it addresses the topic of letting farms go to a natural state. With a story about the farm of fictional characters Nancy and Jake, children can be introduced this type of farming which ultimately helps endangered species, is chemical-free and promotes environmental conservation. Tree has the personal experience of a pioneer rewilding endeavor with her conservationist husband at Kneep Estate in West Sussex, Unitied Kingdom.
I feel that this book fits nicely into conservation education in 2021 for both children and adults.  We all need to look at alternatives and solutions to protecting the environment of our beautiful and fragile planet. Reading this book led me to want to research the topic of rewilding further. 
Thank you to Net Galley and Quarto Publishing Group - Ivy Kids for the Advance Reader's copy of this book, and I gladly share my review.
#WhenWeWentWild #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
When We Went Wild is part children's picture book and part memoir of how a small animal farm in the U.K. stepped back from chemicals, machinery, and human manipulation to let the farm return to its natural state, or as the movement is more commonly known - rewilding. I enjoyed this simple story as a clear introduction for young children (probably age 4-8) about farming, and human's impact on the earth. Using the simple family farm with pigs and cows is an easy example for children to understand and the cause /effect relationships are again, very clearly explained.

The illustrations were nice, but I did not think they were especially vibrant or eye-catching for young children.  The colors seemed muted.  I was reading this as a digital eARC, so that certainly could have been a format problem.

Overall, the book is interesting, and a solid addition to what's currently available in terms of children's picture books focused on conservation, environmentalism, and natural farming.

The author's note at the end reveals her personal connection to the topic, and gives more detail about what happened with her farm, and acknowledges the questions or issues associated with the topic.  Even though it is a book for children and has a very clear position on the issue, it's nice that the author speaks to concerns some have with rewilding.
Was this review helpful?
This children's book should be read not only by small kids, but parents and adults should try to read this amazing book. It will remind grown-ups about the bad effects of using chemicals and those huge machineries in their farm. Perhaps, I should send a copy of this to my father in the province so he will realize that they must re-assess what they are doing in the farm and start rewilding also, just like what the author and the story of Nancy and Jake in the story.
Was this review helpful?
This beautifully illustrated Children's Book brings the concept of "Rewilding" to the youngest generation. The target readership are the children who will be responsible for trying to undo the mistakes and missteps of previous generations when it comes to the environment. 

Although this is a serious topic, you would not guess it's importance by the tone of the story. I think it is fabulous that the author is able to get her message across without scaring the very readers she is trying to inspire. 

Yes, there are many doom-and-gloom tales that could be used to illustrate the need for rewilding, but most of these scenarios are either too complex or too terror-inducing to be used in a story for young children. 

Using a fictional flood to illustrate the many benefits of rewilding, the author is able to use the existence of floods (which are constantly in the news) and to show that Rewilding just might be the easiest solution to prevent more floods in the future. 

The Illustrator has done a wonderful job. I love how the cows looked sad when traditional farming was taking place and how they exuded joy after rewilding. 

I rate this book as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and recommend it for schools, libraries, and homes worldwide. 

Thanks to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.
Was this review helpful?