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Three Books from Eric Sloane

Author and illustrator Eric Sloane wrote and illustrated many books on early American living and artifacts. I read these books as a boy and they inspired a life-long study and interest in the subjects the author so clearly explains.

I recommend these three titles  to you and to your Scouts as sources of knowledge and inspiration.

A Reverence for Wood

A-Reverence-for-Wood-9780486433943In  A Reverence for Wood Sloane weaves the tale of a nation built from the vast forest that covered much of North America. How we harvested, prepared, and worked with wood to frame our civilization and it’s central role in American life makes for a compelling story.

A Reverence for Wood at Amazon

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Gentle to the touch, exquisite to contemplate, tractable in creative hands, stronger by weight that iron, wood was, as William Penn had said, ‘a substance with a soul.’ It spanned rivers for man; it built his home and heated it in the winter; man walked on wood, slept in it, sat on wooden chairs at wooden tables, drank and ate the fruits of trees from wooden cups and dishes. From cradle of wood to coffin of wood, the life of man was encircled by it.

One of the remarkable things about wood is its self-expression. Whether as the handle of a tool, as a dead stump, or alive in a forest where every branch is a record of the winds that blew, it is always telling something about itself. This is why man has an affinity with wood not only as a mere material, but also as a kindred spirit to live with and to know.

A Reverance for Wood

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Eric Sloane’s Weather Book

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Knowing how to read the weather is an important skill for Scouters and Eric Sloane’s Weather Book is a fine resource for developing your expertise. I refer to my copy (a small, well-worn, paperback found digging around in a used bookstore a couple of decades ago) regularly. The new printing available at Amazon is larger (8.3 x 10.8 inches) making Sloane’s fantastic illustrations more readable.

Sloane writes with a sense of humor and common sense, and generously illustrates what he says with his own drawings. Sloane explains the science of the atmosphere and the scientific basis of common weather folklore in a way that is both compelling and easy to understand without losing the reader in a forest of scientific jargon.

Spend an hour or two with Eric Sloane’s Weather Book and you’ll understand the workings of the atmosphere and be well on your way to becoming a reliable forecaster.

Eric Sloane’s Weather Book at Amazon

Our heads are often bowed down with the material burdens of life, but we know that all through the ages thinking people have found time to look upward and to seek peace and solace in the panorama of weather. Emerson called the sky the daily bread of his eyes. Ruskin called it almost human in its passions, almost spiritual in its tenderness, almost divine in its infinity. Lincoln said he could not imagine a man looking up a the sky and denying God. These spiritual qualities of weather frequently outweight the adverse influences that rain and snow have on our daily lives. They are, to my way of thinking, important enough to be a part of any book about the weather.

This book may help the reader to learn how the forecast tomorrow’s weather; more important, it is hoped the book will give to many a new concept of weather, that it will explain the character as well as the mechanics of the sky and the atmosphere. Not everyone can be a meteorologist; but it is easy to be weather-wise, and the pleasure of being close to the weather is endless.

Eric Sloane’s Weather book

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Diary of an Early American Boy

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The Diary of an Early American Boy is based on on the actual 19th century diary of a fifteen year old farm boy named Noah Blake. The book illuminates the spare original entries in Noah’s diary with Sloane’s illustrations and writing. The obscurities of early American life are explained in a compelling story that is at once plausible and inspiring.

Diary of an Early American Boy at Amazon

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The Blake farm in the early years.

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The Blake farm in later years.