The Storyteller by Leila Moss Knox

The Storyteller

My Years with Ernest Thompson Seton
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Knox’s engaging memoir introduces a famed British naturalist to a new generation of children.

Plagued by health problems that doctors blamed on the Los Angeles climate, the 6-year-old author went to live with relatives in New Mexico in the 1930s. She moved in with her aunt Julie and her uncle Ernest Thompson Seton. Known only as “Granddaddy” to the author, Seton was a conservationist, writer, and artist who played a vital role in the founding of the Boy Scouts of America and published numerous well-known children’s stories. For three years, the author experienced a world of nature, art, stories, and poetry. She soaked up Seton’s nature tales and made the great outdoors her playground. She also learned to track animals and identify a variety of native plants. Throughout the year, she traveled with the Setons on lecture tours and field trips, visiting pueblos, mines, and caves. During the summers, she attended Childervil, one of Seton’s camps designed specifically for children. Knox’s recollections of the camp read like a nostalgic movie script, with days occupied by hiking, crafts, and campfire stories. This memoir aims to convey Seton’s beliefs and accomplishments to a young audience rather than take a critical look at the man or his legacy. The book is beautifully designed, bursting with photographs as well as illustrations by Seton himself. Its bright colors and short chapters will be perfect for young readers, who will be drawn into the life and work of the celebrated conservationist. Knox intersperses her own memories with selections from Seton’s classic stories, including his famous account of Lobo the wolf from his 1898 book Wild Animals I Have Known. She also weaves educational elements, such as the history of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and its early inhabitants, into her tales of her explorations. Along the way, she relates lessons about the importance of respecting nature and its creatures. (The book also includes a foreword by the late folksinger Pete Seeger.)

A charming collection of memories and stories that will encourage readers to follow in Seton’s footsteps and engage with the wonders of the natural world.

Pub Date: April 7th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1935204534
Page count: 122pp
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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