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Summary

The breath-taking children's debut from acclaimed nature writer and Costa Award-shortlisted novelist, Melissa Harrison - a tale of the rich, wild world and all its wonder.

Three tiny, ancient beings - Moss, Burnet and Cumulus, once revered as Guardians of the Wild World - wake from winter hibernation in their beloved ash tree home. When it is destroyed, they set off on an adventure to find more of their kind, a journey that takes them first into the deep countryside and then the heart of a city. Helped along the way by birds and animals, the trio search for a way to survive and thrive in a precious yet disappearing world....

Cover illustration by Lauren O'Hara 2021

©2021 Chicken House Books (P)2021 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about By Ash, Oak and Thorn

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Vivid and enchanting

Attracted by the cover illustration and title, as an adult listener I really enjoyed this. It's an important, relevant story beautifully told, and it would be lovely to share with a child. There are also some perfectly chosen natural sound effects - e.g. real bird song - and some gentle music to mark chapters. It's beautifully done and wonderful to escape into. The only thing I didn't like was one very brief comment on a character's body shape and food intake which felt wrong and out of place in an otherwise generous and thoughtful book where the characters encourage each other NOT to judge by appearances. Otherwise it seems like the perfect book for encouraging engagement with 'the wild world' and also gentle understanding of each other.

12 people found this helpful

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Gentle and educational

I am useless at reviews ; I can't say things as well as Sam did above.
I'm an adult and I loved this. It includes some beautiful music and educational descriptions of birds and animals. It teaches beautifully about the wildlife in your back garden and weaves in lessons about moral standards, communication techniques , emotional maturity, loss, prejudice and inclusion in a delightfully easy way.
I would argue that many children should listen to this book as I feel it could influence the minds of the next generation for the better.
Nicely done Melissa Harisson: I feel you could have narrated this yourself 😉

6 people found this helpful

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Heartwarming

Absolutely lovable and heartwarming.
PLEASE, read/play this to your children. You will love the story, too.
I went searching for the second book even before finishing this one.

3 people found this helpful

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A pleasure to listen to!

While listening to this the thought occurred to me that I wish it had been around when I was a young girl. I found the story magical, interesting and also thought provoking. Although the book is aimed at children I’m in my sixties and I can’t wait to listen to the next book!
Well done Melissa Harrison, more like this please.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautiful story ….

Beautiful story amazing natural sounds in the background especially bird songs… mesmerising… read beautifully… lovely words of wisdom too through out… like it’s alright to be scared and afraid and talking about sad things can often help…I’m an adult but would be really good for young kids to listen to… I believe there is a sequel in 2022 …

2 people found this helpful

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Lovely book for kids & adults

What a great book to listen to with a little one this is! Lovely tale, some excitement but it gets resolved, some education without being preachy, some funny bits, lots of sweet -but not sugary- bits, overall just great. I like the performance a lot as well. The cover art is gorgeous too, even though that matters less for an audiobook.

This is a book that kids will love and adults will like and right now it is free on plus as well, so I strongly reccommend checking it out! Volume 2 is also lovely.

1 person found this helpful

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For children of the Wild World, of all ages

Having loved B.B.'s The Little Grey Men & Down the Bright Stream for over forty years, I am so glad to have found this wonderful, timely gift of hope. Its important message is delivered with gentleness & love. Children of all ages will discover new friends here & may shed a few tears along the way.

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Gorgeous.

I absolutely loved this, a beautiful story that really understood and showed how magical the natural world we live in is. The narration was perfect too.

I particularly loved how the animals were gendered but none of the Hidden Folk were; it took quite a while to even notice this, it was done so subtly. It's not commented on at all, just gently done through clever omission of any gendering words, leaving the reader able to relate to the Hidden Folk in whatever way suits them best.

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Exceptional!

Should be read to all children in school so not one misses out! Highly recommended to adults as well!! And then to be shared and discussed and hopefully acted upon. Wonderful narration. Now embarking on the sequel.

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A new favourite series and author

If you loved The Borrowers, or The Little Grey Men you’ll love this story of the Hidden Folk. If you lived the Animals of Farthing Wood, or The Wind in the Willows you’ll love the animals herein.

This audiobook has been artfully brought together. It’s hard to say which is the best part. The story is magical and fresh. The narration is natural and carries the story well. Then there’s music and the sounds of nature just enough to round out the experience and pull you into the world inhabited by Cumulus, Burnet, Moss, and Sorrel.
It’s so magical I’m glad there’s a second book.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-02-22

Lovely

A wonderful jaunt, and reminder to slow down and enjoy the world around us. Great expression of positive mental health strategies too. The music is calming. I am going to relisten with my boys at bedtime.

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  • Lovely Reader
  • 05-09-22

Not my Cup of Tea

I listened to this because I wanted to read the physical book to my daughter. Overall, the narrator sound like she has a stuffy nose cold, which is annoying. The story itself was boring, I don't think my daughter will like it. I do like how the author includes Pan, which as a pagan that was a plus.

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  • K. R. Hammack
  • 21-08-22

loved this

This is such a wonderful imaginative work. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you so much.

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  • HaggardMelon
  • 04-08-22

All ages allegory about climate change

Sweet all ages allegorical tale about climate change. It is not particularly subtle, but not overly heavy handed either. Just about right for the intended audience I think. There are really sweet messages about acceptance in the story too. The author’s note was a little odd, but the story itself was good.
I would suggest this for families looking for a book that everyone can listen to with kids or for kids to listen to alone. I think younger kids would especially like it or kids that are into faerie/hidden folk stories. I listened with my 10 year old kid who is a fan of faeries, and we enjoyed it.

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  • Jennifer Greenfield
  • 25-03-22

Vibrant and delightful story

Not only was this story full of meaning and depth, the narrator was simply excellent. An enthusiastic 5 stars on all accounts.