Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Year in the Woods

A Year in the Woods

Henry David Thoreau
Illustrator:  Giovanni Manna 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 and up
Creative Editions, 2017   ISBN: 978-1568463056

Henry David Thoreau believed that as much possible people should “think creatively,” “live simply,” and that it was vital that they “always ask questions.” Wanting to live these principals himself, in 1845 he built a cabin in the woods by Walden Pond in Massachusetts and he lived there by himself. His goal was to “live deliberately,” and so this is what he did. Henry wrote a book about his experiences living in his little house, which he did for two years, two months, and two days.

In this book, excerpts from Henry’s writings are presented alongside beautiful artwork in such a way that we are taken through a year from season to season. We begin with Henry standing by Walden Pond, which is where he ends up building his house. For him the project feels like the right thing to do just as “a bird building its own nest,” is the right thing to do.

Inside the house there are three chairs; one for Henry, one for a friend, and one for “society.” Though he has his cozy cabin to live in, the woods are his favorite place to be. In the great outdoors he can commune with wild birds, swim in the pond, and truly see the beauty of nature.

When winter arrives Henry sits by his fireside, reading as the snow falls, and when the pond freezes he ventures out onto the ice to skate.

This wonderful picture book will introduce young readers to the words of one of the world’s most extraordinary thinkers and writers. They will be invited to consider how a life with less might be a life with more, and they will be encouraged to explore the beauty of solitude in nature for themselves.