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Wood Folk at School

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. The title of this book suggests the central thought about which the author has grouped some of his most fascinating animal studies. To him "summer wilderness is one vast schoolroom in which a multitude of wise, patient mothers are teaching their little ones the things they must know in order to hold their place in the world and escape unharmed from a hundred dangers." This unique book is a pleasure to read for young and old.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ike by plenty or poverty, that excited our boyish imagination and won the friendly regard of our ancestors of the coast. Opposite my camp on the lake, where I tarried long one summer, charmed by the beauty of the place and the good fishing, a pair of fishhawks had built their nest in the top of a great spruce on the mountain side. It was this pair of birds that came daily to circle over my canoe, or over the rocks where I fished for chub, to see how I fared, and to send back a cheery Ch’wee! chip, ch’weeee! “good luck and good fishing,” as they wheeled away. It would take a good deal of argument now to convince me that they did not at last recognize me as a fellow-fisherman, and were not honestly interested in my methods and success.

At first I went to the nest, not so much to study the fishhawks as to catch fleeting glimpses of a shy, wild life of the woods, which is hidden from most eyes. The fishing was good, and both birds were expert . . . Read More

Community Reviews

4.5 stars. William J. Long is one of my favorite authors. I loved each of his books that I have read so far. I have bread this one many times and still love it. Long describes the setting beautifully; he describes to you his animal friends humorously and beautifully. He does not over-anthropologize

Anyone interested in learning would enjoy this book, an interesting discussion of what the author has observed after hours in the woods and fields of North America, specifically focused on young animals learning the skills they need to survive. In many instances, he uses the Indian names for the ani