Nestled in the countryside, lies a barley field surrounded by hedgerows and woods. Old Oak stands amidst his own beloved hedgerow, which teems with contented wildlife. One day the farmer decides to get rid of one of the hedgerows: the old Oak watches in sorrow as his dear friend Beech's hedgerow is pulled up and destroyed. Now the soil dribbles down the hill when it rains, and the wind blows away the top soil. The crops will no longer thrive in this huge new field. But hope is returned when a new farmer comes to plant saplings one cold winter morning. By showing children just how empty our countryside would be without these wonderful, ancient habitats, the story engenders a lasting affection and appreciation of our hedgerows. Illustrated in a charming style, with accurate details of flora and fauna.
Elena Mannion is a new children's author who lives in a small, historic village in Hertfordshire. A keen walker, and nature lover who takes her holidays in a far flung forest, she is passionate about keeping children connected to the natural world, as well as fostering a love of reading. 'Children's stories take us back to the magical place where we all started: we can rediscover all those feelings of freedom and a world full of promise.'
Erin Brown is a Northern Irish illustrator who lives on beautiful Jersey. After graduating in Fine Art, a passion for children’s books took hold. She combines her love for hand drawn lines and traditional techniques with the freedom of adding colour digitally. Her love of stories comes from her Grandad who lived by the sea and was always ready with a tale or two (and a tea cake!). When not working, she can be found baking, exploring, or down at the sea shore, watching the tide roll in.
"This is a gorgeous read, perfect to teach children about nature. Fabulous illustrations throughout. A book that I feel children would treasure and happily read time and time again. Very happy to recommend on to all, both young and old."
– Independent Book Reviews, 5 star review
"A moving story and beautifully thought out, touching on big themes in an accessible way. The illustrations are stunning and accurate [...]"
– Lindsey Chapman, TV and BBC Radio 4 presenter
"Thanks to Elena Mannion's brilliant storytelling, readers will gain an understanding of the vital role that hedgerows play in the wider countryside – spurring them on to get out and explore the real thing."
– Crispin Truman, Chief Executive, CPRE The countryside charity
"Elena Mannion's book is a welcome reminder that hedgerows are our greatest nature reserves, with Erin Brown's illustrations perfectly capturing their crucial role as 'wildlife corridors'. The Happy Hedgerow will encourage children to engage with the rich variety of life on their doorsteps, ultimately inspiring a sense of responsibility for their local countryside and green spaces."
– Sir Andrew Motion, poet, author, VP CPRE
"A beautiful and dramatic tale of hedgerows and the teeming, twittering, buzzing, rustling wildlife they support. The Happy Hedgerow will touch the hearts of readers from age five to 105 and remind us all to love and protect these precious wildlife corridors."
– Sara Lom, CEO, The Tree Council
"Hedgerows! Carbon sinking, wildlife harbouring, glorious green corridors across our landscapes. This wonderful kids book about them is a first of its kind and a delight!"
– Sean McCormack, Conservationist, Presenter, Founder Ealing Wildlife Group
"Elena writes eloquently and gently with charming details [...] Erin Brown's illustrations are stunning, recalling favourites from my own childhood such as Beatrix Potter and Brambly Hedge."
– Picture Book Snob
"Through lyrical text and beautiful illustrations this lovely picture book reminds us of the wildlife hiding within these bushes and the benefits the humble hedgerow bring to our landscape. This is a beautiful book with a traditional feel that increases the poignancy of the story itself. The text is gentle and full of warmth capturing the sense of Old Oak as a wise and kind father figure to the other inhabitants of the farm. Elena Mannion incorporates the names of the birds and the bushes enabling children to learn to identify them as they read. Erin Brown's illustrations are gorgeous and depict nature in all its wonder with a rich palette and superb detail. The autumnal hues glow on the page."
– Anne Thompson, A Library Lady
"September sees the publication of a wonderful new children's book endorsed by CPRE and celebrating our favourite landscape icon. Elena Mannion's The Happy Hedgerow is a charmingly positive story, illustrated by talented young artist Erin Brown. CPRE vice president Sir Andrew Motion has called the book 'a welcome reminder that hedgerows are our greatest nature reserves' and feels it 'will encourage children to engage with the rich variety of life on their doorsteps'. It would make the perfect gift for young nature lovers aged four and up."
– Countryside Voices (CPRE The countryside charity) summer 2021