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The sounds of fall

The sounds of fall at our house are striking — literally. Our bedrooms are situated under two giant oak trees, and the squirrels have been busy scampering around in the canopy and up and down, shaking loads of acorns onto our roof. They are busy early each morning, often before the birds start their choruses. […]

Outdoor activities

Buchmann, Stephen Honey Bees: Letters from the Hive Middle school, high school     213 pp.     Delacorte In this adaptation of his adult book Letters from the Hive, bee scientist and beekeeper Buchmann details the history of humans and honey. The informative text touches on such topics as technological developments in beekeeping, bee species around the world, […]

“Kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!”

Every year, my family eagerly awaits a classic sign of summer in Maine. We look along roadsides, on rocky slopes, and in sunny patches of open fields, hoping to see a bright spot of blue. It has to be a tiny bright spot, though, as those are true wild blueberries. The berries are nestled low […]

On Jean C. George’s “Summer and Children and Birds and Animals and Flowers and Trees and Bees and Books” (from 1959)

That’s Jean Craighead George, folks. This article, originally published in the June 1959 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, is very much like its leisurely, evocative title: “Summer and Children and Birds and Animals and Flowers and Trees and Bees and Books.” Beginning with a tender story about her daughter and an abandoned rose-breasted grosbeak […]

Our butterfly project

In July, the world is in bloom. Midsummer fields are speckled with wildflowers and abuzz with insects and birds enjoying the sweet nectar. Eager to celebrate this bounty of color and sound, my kids and I ordered a butterfly kit to hatch Painted Lady butterflies. (Our kit came from Insect Lore, which offers other creature […]

These boots are made for walking…into mucky water

What kid doesn’t love wading in mucky water and scooping up slimy eggs stuck to cattail reeds and rotting sticks? Oh, it’s just mine? Well, we live in Maine and exploring local ponds is a great excuse to get outside in June — after waiting all winter for the opportunity. The appearance of the gooey […]

From The Guide: Wonder-full World

In Miss Rumphius, Alice’s grandfather told her to “do something to make the world more beautiful.” Now more than ever we need to encourage children’s interest in, connection to, and responsibility for the Earth and its inhabitants. As contributor Kathleen T. Isaacs says in “Fostering Wonder,” “When we share picture books that explore the natural […]

Sir David Attenborough’s Story of Life app review

Released in honor of his ninetieth birthday, Sir David Attenborough’s Story of Life (BBC Worldwide, November 2016; iOS and Android) spans his six-decade career as a naturalist and and the voice of the BBC’s wildlife programming. The app — which is, incredibly, free — contains over one thousand video clips from more than forty BBC […]