Wild Creatures in Winter (Old Homestead #4)

215dd950eaf47ea59354b555251444341587343Wild Creatures in Winter by Neil Wayne Northey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wild Creatures in Winter is the fourth and final volume Neil Wayne Northey’s Old Homestead series. Like the previous volumes in the series this is a quick and pleasant children’s book that follows the lives of numerous animals that inhabit the area around the series’ titular location. Unlike the previous three books that could be read out of order, this book needs to be read last as all the animals followed were previously introduced in the other books in the series. Yet despite this one difference from the other books, it’ll still provide enjoyment to young children either reading on their own or being read to by their parents.

The Bluebirds and Their Neighbors
The Mallards and Their Neighbors
Paddletail the Beaver and His Neighbors

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Paddletail the Beaver and His Neighbors (Old Homestead #3)

90ae197669056af59764f346c51444341587343Paddletail the Beaver and His Neighbors by Neil Wayne Northey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Paddletail the Beaver and His Neighbors is the third of four volumes of Neil Wayne Northey’s Old Homestead series. Like the first two volumes this is a quick and pleasant children’s book that follows the lives of numerous animals inhabit the area around the Wildwood Pond in the Black Forest though the titular Paddletails. Although the third book in the series, it doesn’t have to be read in order while still providing enjoyment to young children either reading on their own or being read to by their parents.

The Bluebirds and Their Neighbors
The Mallards and Their Neighbors
Wild Creatures in Winter

The Mallards and Their Neighbors (Old Homestead #2)

159ad30170cde40593479555251444341587343The Mallards and Their Neighbors by Neil Wayne Northey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Mallards and Their Neighbors is the second of four volumes of Neil Wayne Northey’s Old Homestead series. Like the first volume, this is a quick and pleasant children’s book that follows the lives of numerous animals that inhabit the area around the Duck Pond though the titular Mallards with brief appearances by Mr. Bluebird. Although this is the second book of the series, it can be read before the first volume and still provide enjoyment to young children either reading on their own or being read to by their parents.

The Bluebirds and Their Neighbors
Paddletail the Beaver and His Neighbors
Wild Creatures in Winter

The Bluebirds and Their Neighbors (Old Homestead #1)

a399e30aee12cdb59346d555251444341587343The Bluebirds and Their Neighbors by Neil Wayne Northey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Bluebirds and Their Neighbors is the first of four volumes of Neil Wayne Northey’s Old Homestead series. A quick and pleasant children’s book that follows the lives of numerous animals, but mostly the titular Bluebird family, around the Old Homestead that will provide enjoyment to young children either reading on their own or being read to by their parents. From the outset this book makes it clear that is coming from a Christian perspective and uses that to make comparisons for the traits animals show to that of humans in their sinful nature. However given that this book was first published in 1930, it should not be surprising and should not deter some from reading this.

The Mallards and Their Neighbors
Paddletail the Beaver and His Neighbors
Wild Creatures in Winter

Calamity Jane (Living Forest #12)

Campbell12Calamity Jane, The Wise Old Raccoon by Sam Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A year in the life of a raccoon, particularly a female, is challenging and then there are the kits one must raise and teach to survive before winter comes and the cycle starts again. Calamity Jane is the final book of Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series, focusing on the year in the life of a raccoon introduced in Loony Coon yet in a different style than the rest of the series.

Campbell begins Jane’s story with her emerges from a several weeks long nap in mid-February to get out and about, eat some, and meet other raccoons especially one big male in particular. The book then shifts into spring as Jane reemerges on the hunt for food as quickly and as much as possible before having to feed her four kits. Taking up most of the book, the spring is when young kits are in the most danger first because they rely on their mother and then when they’re eyes open they begin exploring much to their mother’s fear in some cases. Eventually Eno, one of Jane’s kits, begins living with a nearby farmer and his family after a misadventure but later reconnects with his mother and siblings. The most shocking turn of events is the apparent death of Jane when hunters enter the Wildlife Refuge she lives in and attack her, though by then she had weened her kits off of needed her and able to survive on their own. But later that fall, Jane returns after proving harder to killer than the hunters expected to the joy of the farming family. The book ends back in the winter with Eno not comfortable his human family’s sleeping habits and heading back to his old home to get some much needed sleep with his siblings and mother.

Like Sweet Sue’s Adventures before it, Calamity Jane is written differently than other books in the series. Focusing on Jane and her kits, the book follows them in a style meant for young readers. With the addition of over 50 photographs, this book is definitely for young readers than readers for all ages. Given that Sam Campbell passed away the same year as this book was previously published, one wonders if his health changed the way he wrote the last two books of this series though interesting information for nature’s citizens isn’t diminished.

Calamity Jane like its predecessor is a children’s book to get them interested in nature and giving them a wonderful introduction to Sam Campbell’s writing so they can be interested in the other books in the Living Forest series.

Living Forest

Sweet Sue’s Adventures (Living Forest #11)

Campbell11Sweet Sue’s Adventures by Sam Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The length of a mother skunk’s time with her young is less than three months, but even in those three months you can learn a lot. Sweet Sue’s Adventures is the penultimate book of Sam Campbell’s Living Forest series, yet unlike all of the other books in the series this one completely different.

Sam Campbell takes the reader on a journey of six hikes to a nearby farm and follow the adventures of a female skunk just before she gives birth through to the raising of her big family to when they leave, all of that under three months. However this time, Campbell writes in such a way that the reader becomes an active participant of the narrative like a student going out with an old-timer to learn instead of relating a variety of events around the Sanctuary of Wegimind or another location that his wife and he travelled to. Yet the information learned about the skunk like its eating habits, the raising of it’s young, and the warning signs before it sprays you with its pungent odor are extremely interesting.

As stated before, Sweet Sue’s Adventures is a completely different book than its predecessors. The first was the change of narrative style as noted above, the second was that instead of being easy to read for all ages this book was aimed at younger readers specifically, and third was the inclusion of 48 black-and-white photographs of Sue and her litter instead of the occasional illustrations. Being the shortest book of the entire series at around 120 pages with photographs and wide spacing made this a very quick read, though informative.

Sweet Sue’s Adventures is a quick lite read aimed at young readers about an animal that is stereotyped as always smelling. While it is completely different from previous Living Forest books, Sam Campbell packs it was information that is suited to his target audience. Though adult readers and probably first time readers might find it juvenile, for experienced readers of Campbell it’s a nice quick read on a rainy day.

Living Forest

Beloved Rascals (Living Forest #10)

Campbell10Beloved Rascals: Nature’s Knaves Are Nicer Than You Think by Sam Campbell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just like humans, the animal world is filled with rascally species that just make you shake your head in frustration and laugh at their antics. Sam Campbell writes about both animals and humans in the tenth book of his Living Forest series, Beloved Rascals, as he and his wife Giny interact with a variety of said rascals from their own Sanctuary of Wegimind as well as in and around Canada’s Banff National Park.

The return to their island home begins on a somber note for the Campbells as they drive past a fire in the woods that is slowly growing, they get help and provide service of food and water for the numerous firefighters, forest rangers, and game wardens battling the blaze. After rain ends the fire, the Campbells continue their journey home sadden by the loss of animal life and one burned crow, named Midnight, they intend to help mend. Soon Midnight is joined by a pair of baby raccoons, a pair of porcupines, and an infant hare that escaped from a wolverine. But the forest fire make the Campbells nervous and after a group of campers led by a guide they trusted left an open fire going on their property they post ‘No Trespassing’ signs. But then a southern family, the Meadows, shows up excited to be near Sam Campbell and at the Sanctuary after unknowingly passed a downed trespass sign on their way to the Sanctuary. However, the Campbells are impressed by their visitors excellent camping skills—though tenderfoots, they studied numerous books for proper camping etiquette—and their twins sons enthusiasm that they allow the family to stay after the Meadows find the fallen sign and apologize. The Meadows appearance and enthusiasm for nature allows the Campbells to head to the Canadian Rockies—Banff National Park—to photograph and film wildlife as well as interact up close and personal on occasions with both animals and humans. One of the latter is the local legend, Klondike, a former miner who is rumored to have a pet three-legged grizzly, but is notoriously hard to find.

Like the previous book, Beloved Rascals comes in slightly longer than the rest of the series at 244 pages making it the second longest of Campbell’s books. As usually Campbell’s engaging prose makes the activities and misadventures of the numerous animals chronicled come alive in a very easy to read way. The Canadian trip and the foreshadowing of Campbell’s meeting with Klondike pepper the book, but it does take away from the other things Campbell writes about resulting in a good balance. But like the last book, Campbell laments that the actions and carelessness of others is slowly making him cut off the Sanctuary for other people in an effort to protect the land and the animals.

Beloved Rascals is quintessential Campbell with wildlife and human misadventures in the forests of North America, but once again shows the downside of human carelessness as well. Spanning from the familiar Sanctuary to the spectacular Canadian Rockies, this book allows the reader to experience both sorrow and joy of the animal life in North America.

Living Forest