Reviewed by Mrs_Taylor
What a lovely book! The tag line is ‘Talk to the wildlife. It works wonders for your mental wellbeing” and I must admit I want to now find my nearest pond and spend hours talking to the wildlife there!
Conversations at the Pond is a book by Henry Slator, published in September 21 by Cherish Editions, which touches on COVID-19, the pandemic and dealing with chemotherapy while talking to the variety of animals, birds and insects around a pond. At the beginning of the book Henry Slator explains that he wrote this book after being diagnosed with colon cancer and going through chemotherapy during the pandemic.
Cancer, chemotherapy and the pandemic can all be tough conversations to have and yet this book manages to deal with these topics in a fun almost light hearted way (with a few laugh out loud moments) without ever making the subject matter seem trivial. I don’t think there is a set audience for this book as I think it is suitable for anyone of any age going through chemotherapy or who knows someone who is going through chemotherapy as they can find hope and joy in this book.
The illustrations all throughout the book are done by Cheyenne Hardwick and they are wonderful! They are entertaining, clear and enticing and means that if you did read the book out loud to a child you could then show them all the pictures as you went.
I love Henry Slator’s imagination and I will definitely not look at a pond in the same way again – instead I will be trying to see if I can spot a fashion show or bubble bursting competition or The Biggest Little Band on the Pond! I also love how informative it is. As well as going into detail about chemotherapy and the pandemic it also touches on ranavirus (a disease which killed around 80% of the frog population), eel migration (did you know that some types of eels travel almost 4000miles from the Sargasso sea?) and so many other facts about the aray of animals, birds and fish that you can find at a pond. It also goes into detail about a variety of musicians and songs.
There are 19 chapters (and an epilogue) in the book and although they all link to one another you could just read each chapter as a short story. This means that you can choose to learn all about Gina Toad across all the chapters or focus on a particular animal (or insect or bird) like Chapter 8 (Heraldry) with Norman Newt and Simon de Salis Shieldbug.
Some of the jokes were personally not to my taste as there are a few fart jokes but I do appreciate that different people have different senses of humour – and I know lots of my nieces and nephews would find those parts the most hilarious.
This is a very sweet, imaginative and thought provoking book which definitely should be made available for anyone going through chemotherapy but is also suitable for anyone who is going through a tough time and would like a laugh.
Rating: 5/ 5
RRP: £12.99 (paperback)
This book can be purchased here.