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

Thought for the Day:

“Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.” 

~ Kurt Vonnegut ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

We often see articles about what a writer should always do. HERE Zachary Petit wrote an interesting article for Writer’s Digest with 15 Things a Writer Should Never Do.

Mysteries are incredibly popular with youngsters. I’ve never tried my hand at writing a mystery, but one of these days… HERE is an article by Charmaine Clancy to help those who want to give it a try.

A strong setting can often become like another character in a story. HERE Liz Michalski has an article in Writer’s Digest with 5 Tips for Writing Setting as a Character. It’s a good one.

I am happy to report the prednisone has started to kick in, and I am feeling a tiny bit better and getting a little stronger every day. Baby steps, but steps nonetheless. Tomorrow I will receive an infusion of something called Rituximab. The infusion will be followed by 3 more infusions over the next 3 weeks. Hopefully, this will knock this illness into remission. I’m really looking forward to getting out and taking a walk and maybe taking a drive and, of course, having enough energy to get back to writing. The brain fog has been particularly hard on writing. But books and baseball continue to carry me through this time. My San Francisco Giants have a really tough schedule right now, but it’s exciting to watch. And I have a nice Anne Cleeves mystery for my 7-hour infusion tomorrow. Yes, I actually do read adult books now and then, and Ann Cleeves’s mysteries are favorites of mine. So tomorrow it will be The Last Call, the first in the Detective Matthew Venn series. Very excited.

I have long been a fan of Henry David Thoreau’s work. One of the blessings of taking lots of American literature classes in college was being exposed to his work. I absolutely loved Walden especially, and some of his nature essays are fantastic. When I saw a book about Thoreau on the list for review books from the Portland Book Review that was written for middle-graders, I had to have it. I was not disappointed. I Begin with Spring: The Life and Seasons of Henry David Thoreau by Julie Dunlap and illustrated by Megan Elizabeth Baratta is simply a lovely book, and I think it is a good introduction for young people. Here is the review I wrote for PBR.

Henry David Thoreau was born and grew up in the Concord, Massachusetts area. He and his brother and best friend, John, spent as much time as they could out in nature. Henry, fascinated by the natural world, studied it all his life. This beautiful book is designed to look like a nature journal, the kind people in the nineteenth century would have kept.

Julie Dunlap

Illustrations by Megan Elizabeth Baratta populate every page, all painted in quiet, soft colors, mostly greens, browns, and blacks, and have a simplicity to them that is evocative of the kind of illustrations young people might make themselves. A few photographs of items from the Thoreau estate are also included.

The writing by Julie Dunlop is lovely, and it is interspersed with some of Thoreau’s own words. She tells the story of Thoreau’s life from beginning to end simply and briefly, but taking care to include the most important events and with a firm nod to the beautiful, lyrical language lovers of Thoreau know well.

The back matter will encourage young readers to do further study on their own and perhaps to keep a nature journal themselves. Designed for middle-grade readers, this book deserves readers far beyond that age group.

Please don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE.

24 thoughts on “I Begin with Spring: The Life and Seasons of Henry David Thoreau — Review”

  1. baseball, huh? over here at our house it’s soccer and the Stanley cup… glad things are improving. Great book choice – I will have to look for it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, hockey. The Sharks broke my heart this year, and then Patrick Marleau retired. I’m not sure I can watch hockey anymore. Glad you are enjoying it. So many game 7s this year! Thanks for stopping by, Sue. Always nice to see you here.


  2. In high school I was assigned to read Thoreau’s work and got hooked. This book will be a fascinating read for me. Thanks also for the links as I have attempted a few mysteries and a expert tips are appreciated.
    I’m glad you are seeing some improvement. The Rockies will help both you and the Giants feel better. They have a way of doing that to other teams.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure you will enjoy this book, Greg, if you like Thoreau. It’s terrific. Glad you found links you like. The Rockies split the series with us, so they helped us a little. They were pretty exciting games! Thanks for the comment.


  3. This sounds like a wonderful book and beautiful book. I am looking forward to reading it, whether I win a copy or not. Glad you are feeling better. Onward to good health.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Rosi, I can’t believe I left for a few months and I come back to find that you’ve had a massive health scare and a new diagnosis!! (I glanced over the last 7 posts of yours to catch myself up on the situation). I’m very glad things are starting to improve a little bit! And a 7-hour infusion is a long time, but I hope your book helps you get through it! I’m so sorry this has all been going on.

    As for the book, this looks like a lovely homage to a brilliant thinker—we read Thoreau’s “Civil Disobedience” in my philosophy class last semester, and there was definitely a lot to think about. I love the meme and quote as well! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, and feel better—good luck tomorrow!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I went to see HDT’s little cabin in the woods when we visited Concord. (We went for Little Women, but took a walk in the Thoreau woods. Concord is just bursting with literary history.) Thanks for sharing this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I may need to invest in this, if I’m not lucky enough to win the drawing. Thank you so much for all the fun I find here on your blog. Books to read, jokes to make me laugh, and quotes I want to steal. Thanks for it all, Rosi. I hope your healing is speedy and complete

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you are feeling a little better each day. That is important! Hope you feel much better soon. Great that you have some good reading to keep you occupied during the transfusions.

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I love the cover. Thanks for the introduction to it- I will have to check it out for sure. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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