Non-Fiction Monday: An Alphabetical Book about Walden Pond

I have always wanted to visit Walden Pond.   And through a new book by Michael McCurdy, I journeyed to this wondrous place.

Walden Then and Now, An Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau’s Pond takes readers on a walk from  A to Z.

Julie Cummins describes Thoreau and McCurdy as one a “man of nature and one a man of art” in the her introduction.  Readers will understand these two men, born more than a century apart, shared a goal of preserving nature.

McCurdy takes a then and now approach in describing each letter.  For example:

  “A is for the angry ants Henry once saw battling. 

While Henry was living at Walden Pond he saw red and black ants fighting. The ants haven’t changed from Henry’s time-they will still fight one another. What’s different is that in our time they have a greater chance of being stepped upon by a human.  After all, the population of Concord in 1874 was about two thousand. Today there are more than sixteen thousand people in the town.”

The page is completed with a beautiful wood-en graving close-up of an ant.  The appendix includes source notes.  For ants, it is the following:

  • “ANTS “I observed two large ants, the one red, the other much larger, nearly half an inch long, and black, fiercely contending with one another.”(Chapter 12, paragraph 12).”

Readers are able to enjoy Walden Then and Now on many different levels.  From gazing over the woodcuts (can you imagine how long it took to create each one?) to glimpsing into how Walden Pond was over a century ago and how it is today.  I think it will be a great addition to a classroom or library about one of our earliest environmentalists.

Title: Walden Then and Now an Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau’s Pond
Author: Michael McCurdy
Date Published: 2010
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K+
Publisher: Charlesbridge
ISBN: 978-1-58089-253-7
Source of Book: Copy from the publisher.

Non-Fiction Monday is held over at In Need of Chocolate.  Hop over and see what over nonfiction delights are being reviewed today.

Happy reading.


PS On Wednesday, I am reviewing Bamboo People and Tell Me a Secret. Stay tuned.