I can’t think of a better book to represent this guideline in teaching young children about animals. When I spoke to Carl Sams on the phone he described numerous nature walks (sound familiar Waldorf friends?) in the woods where, over twenty years, he developed enough of a relationship with the wildlife that he could peek in on their private lives without them running for cover.
Then one day he introduced a part of our lives into theirs and documented how they reacted. As a wildlife anthropologist I can’t say enough about how fantastic that is for children to see. Not only is it important to teach children a reverence for nature, but it is even more important to teach them about what it looks like when humans interact gently with nature.
This is also the perfect book for introducing and celebrating the season of winter with young children in the early childhood classroom. For first and second graders it is a wonderful book to introduce them to the animal world. For second graders it is an especially beautiful entry into the world of animal stories/fables but in a unique manner. For third graders you can tie this into their study of science, gardening and even housebuilding by showing them examples of who else lives on the lands we garden and build on. It is important for children to learn that when they build and garden they need to have respect for the wildlife that surrounds them. For fourth graders you can tie this into the “Man & Animal” block.
I am going to put a large age range on this book and say it is appropriate for ages 3 and up. And by up I mean all the way into adulthood. When my children were younger this was the first children’s book I read to them that caused me to react like a delighted child along with them. As we opened each page I didn’t have to pretend to be as enthusiastic as they were or sit back and enjoy how enthusiastic they were – I was delighted along with them and probably even let out a few gasps of joy upon encountering some of the images. – Kristie Burns of Earthschooling.com