"Teach your children well ..."

The title of this entry is a lyric from the Crosby, Stills, and Nash tune called "Teach Your Children". It's pretty corny, but it's the best I could think of to introduce this series of books for kids that I've discovered somewhat recently. The series contains three books written and illustrated by Thomas Locker on the topic of American Naturalists. There is one about Henry David Thoreau, another about John Muir, and the third for Rachel Carson. The illustrations are what really grabbed my attention. They are more like paintings in the style of Moran or Bierstadt than they are typical illustrations for an ordinary children's book. And so if you believe some reports that suggest kids are losing interest in the outdoors, then order these books, click off the xBox for a few minutes, and introduce them to some fascinating folks. The books are rated for kids grades 2-5, but I think even younger ones may appreciate having the story read, while gazing at the pictures. Book covers and jacket descriptions follow:

Walking With Henry : Thomas Locker BookWalking With Henry: Based on the Life and Works of Henry David Thoreau
Footstep by footstep, we follow Thoreau on his solitary journey through wilderness, gaining insight into his quiet and reflective world. With this wondrous introduction to the poet'philosopher, Walking with Henry helps readers understand Thoreau's belief that wilderness can be found in every blade of grass, every tree, and every aspect of the natural world. Wildness wasn't a resource for Thoreau; it was the ultimate source of creativity, essential for survival in an ever-evolving, fast-paced world.

John Muir : Thomas Locker BookJohn Muir: America's Naturalist
In a series of richly painted landscapes, Thomas Locker brings the world and words of John Muir to readers, both the young and the young at heart. Equally at home in the wildernesses of California and Alaska, Muir wrote charming lyrical descriptions of nature for the benefit of future generations.

Rachel Carson : Thomas Locker BookRachel Carson: Preserving a Sense of Wonder
From a small town in Pennsylvania came a little girl who saw the magic in spring fog and heard the ocean's song in her heart. This was also the girl who one day would become the groundbreaking environmental author of Silent Spring. In Rachel Carson, young readers will experience all the enchantment of nature as seen through the eyes of the budding scientist. Thomas Locker's lyrical paintings re-create important scenes in her development and are accompanied by memorable quotes from Carson, together with Joseph Bruchac's poetically rendered biography.