Sunday book review – Into the Red curated by Kit Jewitt and Mike Toms

Following the successful publication of Red Sixty Seven in 2020 this is another run at the same group of species (with a net three additions) – those on the UK Red List because of their conservation status.  Profits from the sale of this volume go to the BTO for work on such species and to the Rare Breeding Bird Panel for documenting the status of many of them. Profits from Red Sixty Seven raised £40,000 for BTO and RSPB work.

If you have Red Sixty Seven do you need Into The Red? There are very few books that are truly needed but there are very few books that are so exquisitely produced as these two. I’ve said it before, but for a bunch of bird-boffins the BTO show remarkably fine taste – or is it just Mike Toms? or Kit Jewitt?

The format is for a page of words to face a page with an image of the species. As a gross generalisation, I think the texts in Red Sixty Seven had the slight edge but the images in Into The Red are even more beautiful.  I enjoyed many of the texts in this book and I expect you will too. For no particularly deep or meaningful reason, except that it rang true, was evocative and described the type of experience that many of us have had, I enjoyed Tom McKinney’s words about his first Red-necked Grebe.

I spoke briefly to Kit Jewitt at the Society of Wildlife Artists/BTO event in the Mall Galleries on Wednesday evening and congratulated him on being given the BTO’s Dilys Breese Medal. He’s an engaging communicator – maybe he’s planning a UK Red List opera next – who knows?

This is a fine book, but it is essentially a repeat of the earlier version so there is a serious question about whether you really want to have both. That question is partly answered by ‘profits from sales go to good causes’ but, I think fully answered by ‘profits from sales go to good causes and it’s a very fine book which you will certainly enjoy if you enjoyed the first of the pair’.

The cover? Gorgeous and stylish. I’d give it 9/10.

Into The Redcurated by Kit Jewitt and Mike Toms is published by The BTO.


1 Reply to “Sunday book review – Into the Red curated by Kit Jewitt and Mike Toms”

  1. This beautifully produced and very well packaged book (no bent corners here) arrived this morning. I have, so far, only quickly dipped into it, the pages having first fallen open at the entry for Marsh Tit. I found that the text for this species was written by a wheelchair-bound birdwatcher whose subtle description of her frustration at the limitations imposed by her disability brought tears to my eyes – not something that happens very often. I had expected to read about the causes of the scarcity of this bird, but here was an even clearer message, highlighting the everyday frustrations of a disabled birdwatcher who is unable to share so many of the things which able-bodied folks take for granted. Authorities, please take note.

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