I Begin with Spring: The Life and Seasons of Henry David Thoreau

Tilbury. Feb. 2022. 96p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9780884489085.
K-Gr 4–Henry David Thoreau, more commonly known for his literary works, is revealed to be a multi-layered gentleman in this refreshing biography. Written in descriptive prose and beautifully illustrated with drawings and primary resources, this is an exploration of the convergence of influences that shaped his philosophy and naturalist lifestyle. As an inquisitive and keenly observant child, Thoreau had an ability to use all his senses to connect with the plants, animals, and the flow of the seasons; this ability provided him with the foundation that would eventually aid phenological studies 150 years after his death. Dunlap details Thoreau’s upbringing and some of the historical figures (lesser and well-known) who would have an impact on his life and writing. Baratta’s glorious illustrations, time lines highlighting Thoreau’s observations, and Thoreau’s own words evoke a sense that readers are exploring the mind of a man with a deep respect for all life and stages in the cycle. Readers will not only come to appreciate, as Thoreau did, the beauty in nature and simplicity, but feel inspired to treat the earth and its inhabitants with kindness as well.
VERDICT An engaging and inspiring biographical title for budding scientists, artists, and environmentalists.

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