Sunday book review – Skydancer by Martin Bradley


This is the latest book by Martin Bradley (see here and here) aimed primarily at children – and this time he tackles the controversial Hen Harrier.

There is a lot to like in this book although I think there are a few snags in it too.

Personally I like the illustrations, most of them, very much, but I wonder how well they will work with young people.

And the poetry doesn’t scan perfectly in all cases.

The links between the plight of the Hen Harrier in the UK and the global extinction of some other species is a bit of a stretch but is a good way to get these wider messages across to a young audience.

Are mink ‘natural’ predators of Hen Harriers? Not in this country they aren’t. This is an example of one of a few places where a very slight change in wording would have been a good idea.

The problem of illegal persecution of this bird is certainly mentioned in an uncompromising way but it is wrapped up, cleverly, in a roller-coaster of a sky dance at the fairground.

There is a crossword, some ideas for drawing Hen Harriers, and quite a lot of information about Hen Harriers, other birds of prey and extinct birds, all presented in an attractive manner.

Iolo Williams provides a foreword to the book. Here is a short extract ‘The fact that these protected birds are still persecuted in the 21st century is a national disgrace, even worse is the fact that there is little political will to bring it to an end‘.  Well said Iolo, diolch yn fawr iawn.

Skydancer by Martin Bradley is published by Skyhunter Books and will be available to buy at the Hen Harrier Eve event in the Palace Hotel, Buxton on the evening of 8 August.

adverta copy



1 Reply to “Sunday book review – Skydancer by Martin Bradley”

  1. I think that’s fair. I find that, in the books, there is too much of a focus on the rhyming couplets having an exact rhythm and it therefore doesn’t flow as well. Although, this could be my critical eye as a teacher.
    Then again, as the author’s niece, I know that writing these books is an enjoyable aside and genuine love; Martin’s main occupation is at an oil refinery as well as being Dad to my teenage cousins.
    He has a real talent for creating the illustrations and, having shared these books with children from age 6-10, it’s clear that children genuinely love them. My classroom copies are certainly well-loved!

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