“[Dunlap] anchors the book solidly in primary-source material, following Thoreau’s copious recorded observations of nature, including his classic work Walden, crafting an insightful and vivid portrait for readers.” Horn Book
“[A] richly detailed field guide to Thoreau that offers older readers ample inspiration for outdoor exploration. Back matter includes further resources, notes on climate change, and instructions for creating a nature calendar.” Publishers Weekly
“The book’s layout approximates a nature journal; the pages are riddled with labeled watercolor sketches and handwritten field notes. Facsimiles of primary documents are interspersed throughout, bringing 19th-century Concord to life. A marvellous life survey of a perennially relevant historical figure.” KIRKUS
This illustrated biography weaves natural history around Thoreau’s life and times in a field notebook format that can be opened anywhere and invites browsing on every page. Beginning each season with quotes from Thoreau’s schoolboy essay about the changing seasons, Early Bloomer follows him through the fields and woods of Concord, the joys and challenges of growing up, his experiment with simple living on Walden Pond, and his participation in the abolition movement, self-reliance, science, and literature.
The book’s two organizing themes—the chronology of Thoreau’s life and the seasonal cycle beginning with spring—interact seamlessly on every spread, suggesting the correspondence of human seasons with nature’s. Thoreau’s annual records of blooms, bird migrations, and other natural events scroll in a timeline across the page bottoms, and the backmatter includes a summary of how those dates have changed from his day to ours and what that tells us about the science of phenology and climate change.
Megan Baratta’s watercolours are augmented with historical images and reproductions of Thoreau’s own sketches to create a high-interest visual experience. The book includes a foreword from Thoreau scholar Jeffrey Cramer, Curator of Collections for the Walden Woods Project.
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