Children's Literature - Meredith KigerThis is an unusual book about a Native American who had a distinguished career as a medical doctor, naturalist and spokesman for his people. One in a series of "Naturalist's Apprentice" books, it tells of the young Indian, Hakadah, his growing up within his tribe, and the events which led him into the white man's world to become a doctor. Hakadah was brought up in the Native American tradition of honoring nature, and learning as much as possible about it through observation. Hakadeh eventually assumes the name of Charles Eastman and lends his love and reverence of nature to everyone by publishing books on nature for children. Interspersed in the story are small vignettes about birds, animals and plants with suggestions about becoming an observer of nature. The biographical portion is accompanied by interesting photographs of Eastman and his family near the turn of the century.
School Library JournalGr 4-6Growing up at the turn of the century when women's career options were limited, Margaret Morse Nice managed to raise a family while pursuing her lifelong interest in bird behavior. Charles Eastman, born in 1858 into the Dakota Nation, became a physician, but later came to use his childhood experiences to teach children to love and respect nature. Ross takes an innovative approach to biography, using the lives of these pioneering naturalists as a framework on which to hang an introduction to nature study. Following Nice and Eastman throughout their lives, he intersperses nature observation and suggested activities in colored boxes. The two elements support and enhance one another, and are enriched by period photographs and colored illustrations. In Bird Watching, for example, Ross uses the anecdote of young Margaret struggling to identify a new bird as the springboard to a detailed section on "Choosing and Using a Field Guide." The success of this approach is exemplified by comparison with another short biography of Nice, Julie Dunlap's Birds in the Bushes (Carolrhoda, 1996), which adequately portrays her life, but lacks the immediacy of Ross's work with its family photographs and nature observations. These two well-researched books contain an amazing amount of material.Ruth S. Vose, San Francisco Public Library
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