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Secrets of the Woods

William J. Long

Book Overview: 

The unique merit of this nature student rests in his fascinating style of writing, which invariably interests young and old; for without this element his pioneer work in the realm of nature would now be familiar only to scientists, introducing people everywhere into the wonderland of nature hitherto entirely closed to all.

This is another chapter in the shy, wild life of the fields and woods. Little Toohkees, the wood mouse that dies of fright in the author’s hand; the mother otter, Keeonekh, teaching her little ones to swim; and the little red squirrel with his many curious habits,—all are presented with the same liveliness and color that characterize the descriptions in the first two volumes. The stories are unusually accurate in portraying animal life as it really exists in its native haunts.

Containing many details of the lives of animals that you may never have known of before, these wilderness stories are great listening for young and old.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I had never gone near the place for fear of frightening them away; and it was months afterward, when the den was deserted, before I examined it to understand just what she was doing. Then I found that she had made another doorway from her den leading out to the bank. She had selected the spot with wonderful cunning,—a hollow under a great root that would never be noticed,—and she dug from inside, carrying the earth down to the river bottom, so that there should be nothing about the tree to indicate the haunt of an animal.

Long afterwards, when I had grown better acquainted with Keeonekh's ways from much watching, I understood the meaning of all this. She was simply making a safe way out and in for the little ones, who were afraid of the water. Had she taken or driven them out of her own entrance under the river, they might easily have drowned ere they reached the surface.

When the entrance was all ready she disappeared, but I have no doubt. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I liked the book fairly well at least the first part, although at times the style went between describing the animal in the woods (preferred) to almost poetic (not sure what to call it, but not of my liking). Also, I thought it was a good book for reading about the animals in the woods, until later


Refreshing book to show what can be learned when we slow down and observe what goes on around us. The descriptions made you feel you were there watching with him. Loved it.

Great read!

My 8 year old son says it's one of the best books he's ever read. "Especially the chapter about Meeko the squirrel, because he's such a funny critter."

5+ stars. This is one of my all-time favourite books. So far, every one of Long's books about nature have made it to that category. I love his gentleness and his care for the wild wood folk. He knows what he says and he says is so beautifully and clearly, you see it before your eyes. It brings a dee

Part of our homeschool curriculum. I read it to my 3rd grader. It was such an exceptional look at the ways of the wood folk through the eyes of a woodsman and naturalist.

An amateur naturalist waxes whimsy as he tells of his exploring in the woods and noting animal behavior. The use of dialects and Indian names makes it very difficult to get a hold of the story in places, and therefore doesn't make for very pleasant reading.

A slow and steady nature lore book. It took the kids and I almost 5 months to read this book, but it was one of their favourite read alouds this year. We enjoyed hearing William Longs’ observations of the wood-folks.
We had our favourites, Tookhees, the Fraid One and the sad fate of Meeko the mischi

Wasn't that crazy about it.

“For weeks I had looked longingly out of college windows as the first tracking snows came sifting down, my thoughts turning from books and the problems of human wisdom to the Winter Woods, with their wide white pages written all over by the feet of wild things. Then the sun would shine again, and I

Delightful. I'm not sure there is a better word for this book. Long's writings makes me want to get way out in the woods to just sit quietly. To observe, contemplate, form relationships. Since beginning this book, I've found myself and my kids taking much greater interest in the behaviors of the lit

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