Thornton Burgess Nature Stories

February 15, 2022 at 6:47 pm (In So Many Words, Reviews) (, , , , )

A year ago today, I was reading Cinnabar the One O’Clock Fox by Marguerite Henry with my daughter. We were in the middle of studying American History and what better way to fit in a nature story for “school” than to add it to your history lessons. George Washington’s crafty fox was a good excuse, especially in February as Washington’s birthday lands on the 22nd. This year, we’re studying ancient history again, and while Kiddo tackles Herodotus, I’ve been reading The Adventures of Reddy Fox by Thornton Burgess to my son. (What foxy title will I be reading next February, I wonder?)

Since last year, I had a baby, bought a new house, my mother died, my niblings came to stay for two months, and though we kept on schooling––as homeschoolers are apt to do––we needed some calm. Calm came in the form of Thornton Burgess, an old childhood favorite of mine.

I grew up on little pocket paperback two-for-one-dollar deals from good ol’ Wally World. Most of those now sit on my kids’ shelves, being enjoyed by the next generation of bibliophiles. Among those paperbacks were Thornton Burgess Bedtime Stories. Each little paperback following the tales of a new anthropomorphized character: The Adventures of Old Man Coyote and The Adventures of Prickly Porky, to name a few.

Imagine my glee when I found a Thornton Burgess Nature Stories, short tales from the Smiling Pool where Grandfather Toad spends his days. Thoughtful anecdotes that teach children about different kinds of birds and how they nest, through stories about mischievous rabbits trying to spot them. Eels with wonder lust, who find romance… These stories are the perfect medicine for children who have lost a grandmother, a breath of fresh air when it is too sweltering to go to the park, a cozy ray of sunshine when it’s actually the dead of winter. I am determined to collect them all and read every single one of them to my children, even after they have grown too old. They are simple, there is no mistaking them for great literary works. But they are beautiful. Sometimes we all just need a little more of what is beautiful.

If you haven’t read these little gems to your children or grandchildren, the entire collection is free on kindle. As for me, I like collecting the old copies.

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