A portrait of Thoreau as a seminal American philosopher and naturalist, with nearly two dozen projects that will have young readers marching to his beat.
Though Smith doesn’t suggest that students get arrested and thrown in jail like Thoreau, she does offer other activities that reflect his significant insights and achievements—from keeping a daily journal and gardening to closely examining a simple spoonful of sand or checking out the world from a fresh angle by climbing to a high place. With particular focus on his many wilderness expeditions, she lights her account of his brief life (he died at 44) and his views with the thesis that his enduring significance lies in his rare ability to make what he saw and experienced in his time recognizable to readers of any other. Understanding nonetheless that less-practiced readers may find his style difficult, she enlarges on the many short quotes throughout with a topical table of cogent passages from Walden. Also, with an eye on Common Core standards, she tucks in discussion points such as Thoreau’s use of metaphor and simile and draws intellectual connections among Thoreau, his friends, and the politically active women in his own family, not to mention later figures like Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Utilitarian of format but well organized and with plenty of grist for both minds and hands. (period photos, bibliography, endnotes, index) (Biography. 11-13)