Have you ever wondered what wildlife hides in hay meadows, rushy fields, ditches and drains or behind hay sheds, and what adventures such wildlife enjoys? If so, then Shane Casey’s books are a must read.

Shane has self-published four books to date – Nature’s Secret Adventures; Nature’s Hidden Adventures, Nature’s Incredible Adventures and Nature’s Marvellous Adventures. Each book contains three individual stories about wildlife and aims to engage children with the wildlife they may find on their doorstep or in their local area.

The stories are set on farms and are told through the eyes of the wildlife featured. Combined with wonderful illustrations by Vincent Killowry, the tales are kept as true to life as is possible in a children’s story and depict the habitats, diets and behaviours of all the array of animals featured.

Nature is close to Shane’s heart and the stories are inspired by growing up on his family’s farm in the Burren with the educational aspect stemming from his work as a former biodiversity officer. “Nature is all around us and it doesn’t matter if you are standing on a farm or in your back garden - there is a wonderful world to explore,” he says. “Writing the books has given me a fresh perspective on how important it is for children to read and engage with nature and the world around them.

“The books also contribute significantly to the SESE curriculum - with the help of many teachers, we have produced free-to-download support materials for teachers (Mrs Teal’s Teachers Handbook), which are available on our website, http://www.shanecaseybooks.ie/.”

Dyslexia friendly

An added benefit of the series of books is that they are dyslexia friendly.

Shane explains “We use five simple techniques in our books to make them more accessible for dyslexic readers. While they may not work in every case, we have received a very positive response from parents, teachers, and children with dyslexia.”

The special features include;

1. The use of a special font called OpenDyslexic font. This is currently free to download at dyslexicfonts.com

2. Avoiding black text on a white background. Instead, they use dark blue text on a cream background.

3. Using only single spacing after all punctuation marks.

4. Avoiding beginning the first word of a new sentence on the previous line.

5. Avoiding justifying the paragraph format.

Flavour of the books

Below is a snapshot of two of the three stories in Nature’s Secret Adventures which also contains a short fact-file about pygmy shrews, otters and mayflies.

The Amazing Tale of Sheridan

Sheridan is an ordinary little pygmy shrew, living in an ordinary little garden, and minding his own business. Then one day, danger arrives in the form of a big tom cat called Terry. Find out what happens when Terry threatens Cheryl, the pygmy shrew of Sheridan’s dreams!

Orla’s Big Day

It’s Orla’s first day at school and she’s very nervous. However, Orla’s nerves quickly disappear when she meets the other little creatures in her class. There’s Milly, the little duckling, Simon, the young salmon, and a dozen tiny tadpoles, who all have very big dreams. Find out what they would like to be when they grow up!

How to find the books

The books are ideally suitable for children aged six and upwards and can be found and purchased at http://www.shanecaseybooks.ie/. The books cost €9.50 each excluding postage.