Friday, August 18, 2006

The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat by Thornton Burgess

Ages 3+

This is one of possibly hundreds of easy-read nature books written by Thornton Burgess for children. This particular selection was not my favorite, but that's just because Muskrats aren't my favorite animal! Burgess consistently uses beautifully-crafted phrasing and clever personification elements:

(1) The rising sun is refered to as, "Jolly Red Round Mr. Sun was climbing up the blue, blue sky."

(2) The wind is named, "Old Mother West Wind," and each morning she shakes her children, "the Merry Little Breezes" from her big bag at the far end of the meadow.

Isn't that adorable?

Burgess manages to weave a lot of animal science into his stories. Even the youngest children learn about who is predator to whom, where each animal lives, the ecology of various habitats and other curious behaviors and relationships between animals.

My children have enjoyed these short-chaptered stories as I've read them aloud at the kitchen table from the age of 3. My 11-year old still enjoys hearing them (though she may not choose to read them herself). And best of all, I like them -- a lot! They are fun to read, and that matters.

I give this series of books a grade of "A."

1 comment:

Mary said...

Thank you for this review. It made me look twice at a Thornton Burgess book at the Goodwill. I read a chapter or two every night with my 8-year-old. We've read several now and we're hooked. I'm not sure who enjoys them more, her or me.