Scale Free Network’s Briony Barr and Gregory Crocetti, along with illustrator Aviva Reed and writer Ailsa Wild, are currently developing two new books in the Small Friends Books series – bringing to life the hidden biodiversity within soil.

We will take readers on a journey into this spectacular underworld to convey the importance of soil microbes to the health and resilience of our soil and our biosphere.

  • Xenos’ Feast will be a delightfully gothic tale that explores the unique partnerships between plants, nematodes (roundworms) and Xenorhabdus bacteria (‘Xenos’).
  • The Forest in the Tree will describe the interconnected relationships between plants, mycorrhizal fungi and bacteria, inspired by the ‘Wood Wide Web’ – the underground, fungal ‘internet’.


These scientifically accurate soil stories will join the dots for readers both young and old about the importance of organic agricultural systems.

  • Xenos’ Feast will highlight one of the many natural biological control processes that plants and other microbes use to naturally maintain a healthy balance of soil diversity – which is often devastatingly disrupted by the use of pesticides.
  • The Forest in the Tree will illustrate the networks of communication and nutrients between plants and the communities of bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi living around their roots – and how this language is broken by the use of synthetic fertilisers and tilling.