BOOK REVIEW: The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You

Well-known for her many books about nature journaling, especially Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You, naturalist and artist Clare Walker Leslie has just published a new book that will appeal to a wider audience than folks interested in drawing their nature experiences – one that aims to help explorers connect to their natural environment.

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Clare Walker Leslie, The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You (North Adams, MA: Storey Publishing, 2015), 144 pp.

Publisher’s description Best-selling author, naturalist, and artist Clare Walker Leslie invites you to step outside for a moment to re-ignite your sense of wonder about the world and discover the peace and grounding that comes from connecting with nature. Using stunning photography as well as Leslie’s own original illustrations, The Curious Nature Guide offers dozens of prompts and exercises that will inspire you to use all of your senses to experience the colors, sounds, smells, and textures of the trees, plants, animals, birds, insects, clouds, and other features just beyond your own doorway, no matter where you live. Challenge yourself to notice one exceptional nature image every day for a week, learn to identify cloud types and the weather they bring, or create a record of what you see on your daily walk with your dog. Easy, enjoyable, and enlightening, these simple exercises will transform your view of the world and your place within it.

The combination of art by Leslie and photographs, along with engaging textual layout, makes this a very attractive book. This book is full of natural history tidbits – such as “Trees that lose their leaves in fall actually form next year’s buds during the summer, while they still have leaves and the energy to make complex structures” – and prompts for activities to do outside – for example, marking of a section of your yard with string and sticks and examine this area once a week and note what changes have occurred. With lovely nature-inspired words from notable writers and poets, the book’s pages are a smorgasbord of appreciation for nature, and how one can make nature more a part of their life.

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