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Nearer Nature

Nearer Nature

by Arnosky
Jim Arnosky shares his reflections and observations over the course of a year spent tracking wildlife and tending his Vermont farm. His is a naturalist's view you won't soon forget. B&W illustrations.


Jim Arnosky shares his reflections and observations over the course of a year spent tracking wildlife and tending his Vermont farm. His is a naturalist's view you won't soon forget. B&W illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
In this intriguing, large-format book, well-known nature observer, writer and illustrator Arnosky shares essays and black and white drawings from a journal that he kept in 1987, as winter turned into spring and early summer. These friendly, conversational glimpses into Arnosky's forested, hilly Vermont farm present a theme that has appeared in his other works, "that once you take the time to look, and realize that there is a world-animal, vegetable and mineral-in nearly every footprint, you begin to step more carefully." Artists and naturalists of all ages should be amused and inspired by his verbal and visual sketches about trying to save newborn lambs, appreciating spring wildflowers, observing the harrowing and comical mating of two snapping turtles, plus a variety of other activities from field, forest and pond.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Recommended for all who love nature is this collection of essays by Jim Arnosky. Jim treats us to his experiences as a farmer and a naturalist over the course of a year: the birthing of lambs, the change of seasons at Ramstail, his Vermont home. This is a book to be dipped into, to read aloud, to curl up with under a tree and watch the world around you.
VOYA - Diane Tuccillo
For the last twenty years, Arnosky and his wife, Deanna, have lived a simple and pastoral life in an old Vermont farmhouse. This collection of essays comes from journal entries written during a seven-month period, when winter became spring and spring turned to summer. It focuses on the farm and the wilderness surrounding it. Arnosky's very special insights, patient observances, and fluent writing make this a book to learn from, delight in, and savor. His lovely black-and-white drawings serve as a perfect complement to the text. The essays portray the farm, where experiences such as birthing and raising lambs, making maple syrup, or tilling the garden come to life. They also show, up close and personal, seemingly simple but often complex natural wonders, like spring wildflowers, amazing wild creatures on land and in water, and changes in the weather and seasons. This is due to Arnosky's special knack as a critical, inquisitive, and gentle observer who can effectively communicate what he sees through word and picture. He is already well known for this talent, being the author of many other wonderful books including Secrets of a Wildlife Watcher (Lothrop, 1983) and Drawing from Nature (Lothrop, 1982). Nearer Nature is a natural progression from all his works so far, speaking more comprehensively and with more depth and perspective than ever before. A treat for the eye and the spirit, this is a book for the unique young adult who enjoys nature writing. There are few authors who write this kind of material for a teen audience. Most teens seeking such subject matter must look to adult titles, like Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper, 1974) or Aldo Leopold's Sand County Almanac (1949). Even those young adults who don't claim to like nature books might relish this, with encouragement, especially those who live in cities and might not have a clue to examining the natural world. Arnosky's insights just might help them to recognize the nature that is present around them, even if far from "wilderness," bringing them nearer nature, too. Index and Illustrations. VOYA Codes: 5Q 2P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, For the YA with a special interest in the subject, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-For years Arnosky has fascinated readers with his books on enjoying, identifying, and sketching nature. Now he turns to the exploration of his own immediate world, the area around his Vermont farmhouse. Based on the journals kept over a seven-month period, the book details his experiences and meticulous methods of observation. As he watches, he constantly questions what he sees. "I always read `the book of nature' first. Then I check my findings against known facts." The story he "reads" is sometimes grim, but full of small revelations. The author's understated style expresses itself in such details as the fact that wet snow "...has a long memory." His familiar black-and-white sketches combine with decorative chapter headings and wide page margins to create an inviting format. This book is a treat for patient observers willing to follow Arnosky across the snow, to wait for an hour by the pond without moving, and to watch with him while the otters play.-Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library
Susan DeRonne
The book's title is its promise, with beautifully written, almost stand-alone chapters acting as a powerful zoom lens to immerse readers in the wonders of the Vermont countryside. It is a book of sweetly detailed descriptions of the creatures and natural beauty of life on a small, wooded sheep farm. Each of the 26 short chapters is an essay on one animal or aspect of country life in 1987, as winter turns to spring and spring to summer. Whether he writes of lambing or shearing or watching beaver, fox, or turtle, the author brings the reader to his side as sights, sounds, and smells jump off the page. Arnosky's charming sketches enhance the mood on nearly every page. Not just for young people, this attractive book will appeal to all who wish to get away for a while and rediscover the beauties of nature.
Kirkus Reviews
For 20 years Arnosky (I See Animals Hiding, 1995, etc.) has lived on a Vermont farm "tucked back against the mountains," far from main roads, cities, and villages. Detailed notes he took during a seven-month period in 1987 were expanded into this book, which contains not only descriptions of what he observed on the farm's 50+ acres but also his reflections on what he learned from the land and its creatures across the seasons. From scrutiny of tracks in the snow to the birthing of lambs to the sorrow of losing part of a noble old maple, Arnosky offers windows into the natural world as few readers experience it. This book is about life and death, grief and celebration: With spring comes rebirth, the first flowers, and other recurring miracles of new life on the land. Arnosky makes what he sees visible to readers, through his choice of words and in exquisite black-and-white drawings. This is a book to be savored, not only for the information it conveys but for its affirmation of the beauty of nature.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.27(w) x 10.31(h) x 0.71(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

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