The secret life of woods and fields is brought together in The Naturalist's Bedside Book, that delightful collection of BB essays on the seasons of the British countryside.
This book was first published in 1980 and is now redesigned and back in print for a new generation to dip into. As he moves from winter through to spring, summer and autumn, BB covers such topics as:
. fighting starlings and where to site tit boxes
. how to identify old nests in winter hedgerows
. BB's pet rook Percy, an injured fledgling
. separating a clinging, amorous frog from a carp
. what makes a good taxidermist
. albino birds and mammals
. the perfume of the balsam poplar
. how to keep horse flies and midges at bay
. a search for the eggs of the purple emperor butterfly.
. the 15-year-old hand-reared goldfinch
. a perfect field pond
. autumn deer ruts
. long-eared owls mobbed by jays
Illustrated with 20 of his beautiful scraper-board illustrations, this new edition is in an improved, larger print and contains the addition of a BB illustration of the Bowcase Stone.
Denys Watkins-Pitchford, or 'BB' as he is known, was born in 1905. He grew up in Northamptonshire, where he spent many hours out in the open air as ill health prevented him from being sent to boarding school.
He studied art in Paris and at The Royal College of Art in London, and for seventeen years was art master at Rugby School.
He was already illustrating books before he began to write under his pseudonym, 'BB'.
The Sportsman's Bedside Book (1937) was the first to carry these now famous initials, followed by Wild Lone, the Story of the Pytchley Fox (1939) and Manka, The Sky Gypsy, The Story of a Wild Goose (1939). He was awarded the Carnegie Medal for The Little Grey Men (1941), the tale of the last gnomes in England, which established him in the forefront of literature for children. Many titles followed for both adults and children, and his reputation as a naturalist was further enhanced by his contributions to The Field, Country Life and Shooting Times.
He died in 1990.