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WALDEN THEN AND NOW by Michael McCurdy Kirkus Star


An Alphabetical Tour of Henry Thoreau’s Pond

by Michael McCurdy & illustrated by Michael McCurdy

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: July 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-58089-253-7
Publisher: Charlesbridge

This elegant alphabet book brilliantly conveys the essence of 19th-century American author, naturalist and philosopher Henry David Thoreau’s solitary sojourn at Walden Pond. For each letter of the alphabet, McCurdy selects an item symbolizing Henry’s simple, secluded Walden world, including an anecdotal paragraph explaining how each fits into the Walden idyll, often with comparisons to Walden Pond as it is now. From “A” for the angry ants whose battles Henry described in Walden to “Z” for the zephyrs cooling the pond on summer nights, the alphabetical selections give readers a unique peek at Henry and the natural world he immortalized. Each page opens with the featured letter in crisp, black type on thick, creamy stock. Rustic, realistic black-and-white wood engravings echo Henry’s credo to simplify and feature him reading, plowing his bean field, building his cabin, playing his flute, chopping wood, roaming winter woods, cutting ice and staring at the stars in complete harmony with nature. An unusual yet entirely appropriate introduction to the famed hermit—and the other residents of Walden Pond. (source notes with quotes from Walden) (Alphabet book. 10 & up)