The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales
Written by Dawn Casey
Illustrated by Anne Wilson
Hardback with jacket – 96 pages
11.25inches x 9.5inches – full color
Ages: Read Together 4-8 and Read Alone 6-10
ISBN: 9-7818-4686-223-0
Price:14.99 GBP

In this beautiful anthology of folktales from various parts of the world and different cultures, young readers will learn about the way that different cultures all over the Earth set out to live in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of Nature and our Planet.

The readers will discover how to tread lightly on our precious Earth by following the easy eco-tips and by trying to do some of the fun activities that accompany each story.

Children will learn how the residents of the Kingdom of Benin, deep within the Nigerian Rainforest, consumer less and conserve more; how the Comanche, a tribe of the Native Americans, often referred to as Indians, and some even refer too themselves as thus, respect Mother Earth by giving more than receiving; while amongst the coral reefs and volcanic mountain peaks of Bali the lesson is that everything in Nature is connected, and that includes man.

Gandhi said, “The Earth can provide for every man's need, but not for every man's greed”, and we must heed this message. The majority of native cultures and also, for instance, the Romani-Gypsy seem to have always understood this. Only the White Man, or maybe better “developed” man, especially those from the “Christian” areas, with their greed and envy do not seem to see this. Reason probably that Christianity has removed man so far from the real spirituality rooted in Earth wisdom so that he has no connection anymore to the Creation.

The book will help children – and maybe adults too – to develop global awareness and perspective and also and especially suggests that the century-old practice of “Living Green” is perhaps today more relevant than ever before, and it shows how to adapt lifestyles to live in harmony with the environment and Mother Earth. The hands-on activities that follow each story can help children to put green ideas into practice.

Dawn Casey is a primary school teacher and has always been passionate about traditional tales, believing that folklore can help to answer some of the toughest questions about humankind. In fact, I would say that such tales of folklore were in fact designed to do just that.

Anne Wilson gains much of her inspiration and sense of color from her travels. She has an MA in Illustration from St. Martin's College of Arts in London, and has been illustrating children's books for many years.

This book is certainly one that should be made part of the school reading curriculum, and should also be in every children's library, for certain. Aside from that it is definitely a book that I would recommend to any parent for his children.

© 2009