Monday, May 15, 2006

Nature Stories

My seven year old and I are currently reading through a wonderful book called The Burgess Animal Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess. You may be familiar with some of his animal stories. (The Adventures of Poor Mrs. Quack, Chatterer the Red Squirrel, et al) This particular book, however, is actually a complete guide to the most common mammals in North America. I’m sure many of these are in Europe as well. We live in Asia, but still read through the entire book because it teaches basic facts about animals such as rabbits, squirrels, mice, deer, dogs, wildcats, and many more. It is excellent because the information is cloaked in a story. Mother Nature is teaching school to the little animals. They are all learning about each other. This is one of our family favorites. I read a chapter a week to my second grader and it takes a complete school year to finish.

You can download this book online from this website and print it yourself, or send the file via the Internet to a place such as Office Max and have it printed and bound for less than ten dollars. It does not have pictures, so I have been going to and downloading the pictures to my computer each week as a new animal is introduced. I use them for our screensaver so my children see them often.

I have also made these pictures available for you, the reader, so that you will not have to reinvent the wheel. You may view my Thornton Burgess photo album and download any or all of the pictures for your own personal use. I am still adding pictures to it weekly, as we have not quite finished the book, so check back again if you want all of them.

Some other books about nature in story form that our family has read and enjoy are: James Herriot’s Treasury for Children, My Side of the Mountain, Wild Animals I have Known and other books by Seton, Swiss Family Robinson, Kon Tiki, Robinson Crusoe, Album of Horses and any other books by Marguerite Henry. Thornton Burgess also has a book about birds but it is exclusive to North America. There are other excellent nature stories free and online at The Baldwin Project. In fact, just about ANY book from this website is wonderful! If you have a nature book that your family enjoys, please share it with all of us in the comment section.

We also keep pictures books handy for reference because not all nature can be experienced firsthand. These informational picture books also help satisfy the curiosity that a child develops from their nature studies.

Nature in literature form is not the only way to teach it, but I believe it should be the primary means, especially in the younger years. Of course, seeing and touching it firsthand while journaling is even better.

one step at a time...


  1. previous commentor3.1.07

    May 17, 2006 - Thank you

    Posted by

    This is perfect. I have really been wanting to get back to my Charlotte Mason roots (the basics) again. I love nature journaling and really want to get it going again in my homeschool. This is so wonderful , thank you.

  2. Amber17.8.07

    Thank you so much for doing this! I was just about to start doing this and now you have saved me the work!

    You are such a blessing to home schooling moms around the world!

  3. Amber, you are welcome! I wanted to let you know that some of these pics do not have high enough resolution to print. We just view them on our computer screen. Maybe I'll get around to fixing this some day.

  4. They are fixed. The resolution is better now.