Books: What Do We Know About Crop Circles?
What Do We Know About Crop Circles?
By Ben Hubbard
Penguin Workshop, 2022 (paperback RRP £5.99)
‘… Excited by their work, the men left the field, with Bower saying: “Look what we’ve done! This is sure to be spotted. It won’t be long before it’s on the news.” However, the next day, there was nothing. Nobody had seen the circle.’
There is plenty of children’s literature on Fortean subjects to be found on the shelves in libraries and bookshops, but when it comes to crop circles things have been lacking. The pages given over to the circles in Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker’s wonderful Real-Life Mysteries (an engaging, beautifully illustrated and easily understandable text from 2018 that won the Blue Peter Book Prize) are still worth seeking out to introduce kids to the phenomenon, but American publishing giant Penguin Young Readers have got in on the act with a book solely dedicated to our favourite subject: What Do We Know About Crop Circles?
Written by Stateside author Ben Hubbard, the book is part of the Who HQ series; a long-running, no nonsense sequence of books for children aged around 7-11, with each title exploring a subject or individual possessing a place in the American psyche. WDWKACC? fits in perfectly with the rest of the series, providing a reasoned, rational and matter-of-fact take on crop circle history. Hubbard has done his research and takes us from the days of grass circles in Native American mythology through to contemporary advertising via Doug and Dave and the golden era of cerealogy. His prose is clear, age appropriate and accompanied by line-drawn illustrations of the type you probably thought had long disappeared with The Indy kids’ newspaper. A stickler for detail would suggest a few of Andrew Thomson’s drawings are based more on guesswork than archive photographs, but it is hard to dislike the thought of Colin Andrews proclaiming the triumph of Operation Blackbird from a lectern underneath the Westbury White Horse.
If there’s any genuine criticism of WDWKACC? It is that the lack of colour photographs and colour illustrations inside the book may not draw in some young readers, but this is a style choice of the publisher in keeping with the rest of the Who HQ series.
Ultimately, What Do We Know About Crop Circles? is a solid starting place for children to explore crop circle history. We can think of numerous adults who could also benefit from a reading of this book.