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These 8 nature story eBooks from Thorton W. Burgess are delightful classics to read to or to listen to in audio version with your children! These stories will captive your children’s heart while teaching them important lessons about nature.
Reading books is a huge part of our unhurried Charlotte Mason inspired homeschool approach. There is nothing more captivating and engaging than great stories, exciting plots, and remarkable characters. I hope your kids will enjoy these stories as much as my kids and I do.
I highly recommend the audio for each one as well. My kids enjoy listening to these nature stories as we drive around or simply sit by the house eating snacks and sipping tea.
Nature Story eBook #1:
Blacky the Crow
Children will love this wonderful tale of Blacky the Crow, who has very sharp eyes, and who is often getting into trouble because he sees things he shouldn’t. One day Blacky notices two fresh eggs in a nest belonging to Hooty the Owl and Mrs. Hooty. The eggs are a prize too delicious to pass up and Blacky devises a plan to snatch them. But does he succeed? Young readers will enjoy finding out in this charming tale by master storyteller Thornton W. Burgess.
Reset in large, easy-to-read type, this book is filled with gentle humor and important lessons about nature and wildlife and is further enhanced by four original Harrison Cady illustrations. Blacky the Crow is sure to captivate youngsters discovering the joy of reading and the pleasures of storytelling at its finest. – Amazon
Nature Story eBook #2:
The Adventures of Jimmy Skunk:
Classic Bedtime Stories for Children (Illustrated)
When Jimmy Skunk curls up to take a nap in an old barrel, the imp of mischief gets the better of Peter Rabbit. Tons of trouble plague the long-eared prankster after he decides it’d be great fun to see the barrel — with Jimmy inside — roll down from its resting point high on a hill.
Reddy Fox gets the blame for Jimmy’s wild ride (as well as a dose of the skunk’s “perfume”); Peter gets his comeuppance for playing nasty tricks; and before the day is out, Jimmy Skunk and Unc’ Billy Possum go egg-hunting and wind up in a pretty pickle in Farmer Brown’s henhouse.
Children will delight in these warm, whimsical adventures that combine all the interest and excitement of a good story with gentle lessons about nature, wildlife and such virtues as a courtesy, kindness, and preparedness.
Newly reset in large, easy-to-read type, the text is enhanced by six black-and-white illustrations by Thea Kliros, based on Harrison Cady’s originals. – Amazon.
Nature Story eBook #3:
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail
One of the most beloved characters in children’s literature, Peter Cottontail is up to his long-whiskered nose in rib-tickling escapades in this delightful classic. With gentle charm and humor, famed storyteller Thornton W. Burgess draws young readers into the timeless world of the Green Forest, the Smiling Pool and the Purple Mountains.
Warmth and whimsy are the order of the day as Peter discovers the folly of changing his name, outwits the ever-hungry Reddy Fox, manages a number of hare’s breadth escapes and finally makes an ill-advised decision to hibernate as Johnny Chuck and other woodland creatures do. The silliness of trying to do what nature never intended is one of the gentle morals of these adventures that combine the fun of a good story with little lessons about wildlife, the environment and being true to one’s self.
Newly reset in large easy-to-read type, this unabridged childhood classic will delight young readers today just as it did their parents and grandparents. – Amazon.
Nature Story eBook #4:
The Restored Adventures of Paddy the Beaver:
With 10 Lost Chapters Restored (Illustrated)
Jerry Muskrat had been looking very sharply at the bank on which Little Joe Otter was sitting. “I think Paddy the Beaver has begun work on the dam he warned us about,” said Jerry.
“What makes you think so?” asked Billy Mink. Jerry just pointed to the bank. Everybody looked and they could hardly believe their eyes when they saw a wet line running all the way along the bank which showed that the water was not as high as it had been. They just stared and stared with eyes and mouths wide open, and even while they looked the water dropped ever so little.
Thornton W. Burgess originally wrote the chapters that would become “The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver” for newspaper serialization. They appeared in newspapers November 1st through December 8th, 1913. There were 32 daily installments, Sundays excluded.
When they were published as a book over three years later, in March 1917, ten chapters were removed, probably due to space constraints. This edition is the first time those deleted chapters have been in front of readers since Americans opened their newspapers in the winter of 1913.
The 10 deleted chapters follow the animals as they worry about the effect of Paddy’s new pond on the Smiling Pool and learn more about how Paddy builds his house, and finish the subplot about Farmer Brown’s Boy discovering Paddy’s Pool. – Amazon
Nature Story eBook #5:
The Adventures of Bobby Coon (Illustrated)
DREAMS are such queer things, so very real when all the time they are unreal, that sometimes I think they must be the work of fairies,—happy dreams the work of good fairies and bad dreams the work of bad fairies. I guess you’ve had both kinds. I know I have many times. However, Bobby Coon says that fairies have nothing to do with dreams. Bobby ought to know, for be spends most of the winter asleep, and it is only when you are asleep that you have real dreams.
Bobby had kept awake as long as there was anything to eat, but when Jack Frost froze everything bard, and rough Brother North Wind brought the storm-clouds that covered the Green Forest with snow, Bobby climbed into his warm bed inside the big hollow chestnut tree which he called his, curled up comfortably, and went to sleep. He didn’t care a hair of his ringed tail how cold it was or how Brother North Wind howled and shrieked and blustered. He was so fat that it made him wheeze and puff whenever he tried to hurry during the last few days he was abroad, and this fat helped to keep him warm while he slept, and also kept him from waking from hunger.
Nature Story eBook #6:
The Adventures of Prickly Porky
There’s a big mystery brewing among the animals of the Green Forest — and it’s all because of a strange little creature with no head, legs, or tail that came rolling down a hill and gave Peter Cottontail the fright of his life. What could it be?
Young readers and listeners will love finding out about this and other interesting goings-on in the Forest as they learn how Prickly Porky made friends, what made Old Granny Fox lose her dignity, why Old Man Coyote lost his appetite, and more.
Written by master storyteller Thornton W. Burgess, this classic combines all the fun of a good story with gentle lessons about wildlife, the environment, and human virtues. It is reset here in large, easy-to-read type, enhanced by six full-page Harrison Cady illustrations that perfectly capture the mood of this charming tale. – Amazon.
Nature Story eBook #7:
The Adventures of Johnny Chuck
Spring has arrived at the Green Meadow and Johnny Chuck is strangely discontent. On a whim, he offers Jimmy Skunk his house and then wanders off. Along the way, he gets into a fight with a strange woodchuck and, after a bruising battle, chases the intruder off. At that point, Johnny is feeling rather unconquerable — that is until Polly Chuck uses her feminine charms to capture his heart. Before long, the two are happily keeping house in a burrow in the old orchard.
Thornton W. Burgess, the author of many delightful classics for children, draws young readers into a timeless world of woodland creatures, teaching children important lessons about nature by basing the animals’ actions and adventures on actual wildlife behavior. Six charming illustrations by Thea Kliros, based on Harrison Cady originals, enhance a story sure to delight young animal and nature lovers. – Amazon
Nature Story eBook #8:
Happy Jack (Illustrated)
Mr. Burgess, the children’s favorite, has never done a more captivating piece of work than in his charming description of the characteristics of Happy Jack Squirrel, the liveliest, most industrious of animals. He affords an artistic writer like Burgess the best possible inspiration for characterization and personification. Happy Jack Squirrel is first of all thrifty and Mr. Burgess makes the most of this phase of the lively little fellow’s life. The most thrilling feature of the book is that which Mr. Burgess tells of the adventures that befell Happy Jack during one winter of his busy little life when his enemy, the Weasel, and his friends, Tommy Tit, the Chickadee, Sammy Jay and Farmer Brown’s boy played a part.
I couldn’t resist but to add two more of my favorite Thorton W. Burgess’ books for children here for you:
The Burgess Bird Book for Children (Illustrated)
“This book was written to supply a definite need. Its preparation was undertaken at the urgent request of booksellers and others who have felt the lack of a satisfactory medium of introduction to bird life for little children. As such, and in no sense whatever as a competitor with the many excellent books on this subject, but rather to supplement these, this volume has been written.
Its primary purpose is to interest the little child in and to make him acquainted with, those feathered friends he is most likely to see. Because there is no method of approach to the child mind equal to the story, this method of conveying information has been adopted. So far as I am aware the book is unique in this respect. In its preparation, an earnest effort has been made to present as far as possible the important facts regarding the appearance, habits, and characteristics of our feathered neighbors. It is intended to be at once a story book and an authoritative handbook.
While it is intended for little children, it is hoped that children of larger growth may find in it much of both interest and helpfulness. Mr. Louis Agassiz Fuertes, artist, and naturalist has marvelously supplemented such value as may be in the text by his wonderful drawings in full color. They were made especially for this volume and are so accurate, so true to life, that study of them will enable anyone to identify the species shown.
I am greatly indebted to Mr. Fuertes for his cooperation in the endeavor to make this book of real assistance to the beginner in the study of our native birds. It is offered to the reader without apologies of any sort. It was written as a labor of love—love for little children and love for the birds. If as a result of it even a few children are led to a keener interest in and a better understanding of our feathered friends, its purpose will have been accomplished.”—From the Preface.
The Burgess Animal Book for Children (Illustrated)
Following the success of “The Burgess Bird Book for Children,” Thornton W. Burgess’ fans clamored for more, thus prompting the author to produce “The Burgess Animal Book for Children,” a work similar to its predecessor. In this work, the author instead turns his attention to the four-legged animals that populate the natural landscape of North America. Whimsically told through a conversation between Old Mother Nature and Peter Rabbit, characters that fans of Burgess’ work will recognize from his other books, The Burgess Animal Book for Children is a delightful and educationally entertaining work of naturalism.
Originally published in 1920, The Burgess Animal Book for Children included the beautiful illustrations of artist Louis Agassiz Fuertes, reproduced here in this edition in black and white, which readers will be familiar with from the earlier “Burgess Bird Book.” “The Burgess Animal Book for Children” is a beautiful work that will not only enchant readers of all ages but just may inspire the inner naturalist in all who are so lucky to read it. – Amazon.
Your Turn: Which one of Thornton W. Burgess is your favorite nature story?
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Ana is the unhurried homeschool mom of 3, wife, health coach, social media and online marketing strategist, and blogger. She loves to encourage, inspire and empower moms to go from stressed to blessed by providing them with the tips, strategies, and resources they need to succeed. Ana is the founder of They Call Me Blessed and the creator of 5 Days to Your Best Homeschool Years, Grow Your Blog Partying in 30 Days, and the Beyond Blessed Life Planners. She leads a vibrant online community for moms on Facebook and you can connect with her at www.facebook.com/theycallmeblessedblog.