Wednesday, April 2, 2014

I HEART...a good talking squirrel story!

Everybody loves Wednesday, right?
The week's half over.  The weekend is on the way.
What's not to love?
Each Wednesday, I want to share something with you
that I absolutely love and can't live without!  
Brack and I have been reading the best little book, and I wanted to share it with you!  It's a children's classic called The Adventures of Happy Jack by Thornton W. Burgess.
Gerald read many of the books by this author when he was a young child (thus making it a classic!), and he is the one who actually bought a collection of these books for our kids.  I think he read one to Jewell when she was really little and then it got put back on the shelf.  Brack and I were looking for something to read last week, and pulled this one out because, well, it's about a squirrel.  And Brack is a squirrel hunter.  I know, crazy connection, right?  But he's a squirrel hunter with a heart!  Anyway, we started reading this book each day during literature, and we love it.  Jewell is working on math while we read, but she often wanders in to see what we are laughing about.  She intends to read the series herself.
I did a little research about the author, Thornton Burgess, and learned he was born (1874) and raised in Massachusetts.  He was a naturalist and a conservationist and during his 50 year career, he wrote over 170 books and 15,000 short stories for daily newspaper columns.  His first book, Mother West Wind, was published in 1910.  He died in 1965.
Kids love stories with talking animals.  That's a given.  But what I like about these stories is the commentary Burgess gives on human nature through the adventures of  his animal heroes.  Each chapter begins with a saying attributed to the main character.  It's usually a summary on the action to come, but more than that, it's a little gem.  A pearl of wisdom.  Here are some of my favorites from the hero of this book, Happy Jack Squirrel.
Never say a thing is so
Unless you absolutely know.
Just remember every day
To be quite sure of what you say.
As grows the might elm tree,
From just a tiny seed,
So often great things happen
From just a kindly deed.
This particular book was written in 1918 on the heels of WW1.  Much emphasis is put on "thrift" and reflects the national mindset of the day.
It's up to you and up to me
To see how thrifty we can be.
To do our bit like soldiers true
It's up to me and up to you.
And probably my favorite...
I prefer big acorns, but I never refuse little ones.
They fit in between. - Happy Jack 
I highly recommend that you look into this series.  It is beautifully written.  The stories are interesting and the characters engaging.  Brack begs to read one more chapter.  And then one more chapter.  You get the idea.  And isn't that the idea behind a good book?  To keep kids wanting more?  This series does!  We can't wait to start the next one...

I'm so glad you stopped by my neck of the woods!
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