Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Blog Archives

Category Archives: Book Review

Book Review: Wild Love Story: Vignettes From Forest and Pond by Bob Jepperson

Wild Love Story by Robert Jepperson

There is an excitement to exploring new places far away, but there is a different kind of joy that comes from getting to know a place in every season over many years. Bob Jepperson has done a lot of exploring, but he’s also spent over a decade wandering the trails of a wild area close to his home on Fidalgo Island. Through these wanderings, he has gotten to experience some of nature’s minute and hidden dramas that play out just next door. On the surface, Wild Love Story: Vignettes From Forest and Pond looks like a book of simple photography and writing, but when you spend some time with it, you’ll see it is more than that. This book is packed with detailed information about different species that inhabit our lowland forests and wetlands. Jepperson wandered the trails in his neighboring forest multiple times a week, through every season. He carried cameras with longer lenses, as well as a 22-inch parabolic dish stereo microphone.  Because of the familiarity he developed, he came to notice details that many of us just hike right past.

I found myself wanting to sit down with a cup of coffee and really spend time with this book. It was interesting to read of his experiences on the trail, such as the time he witnessed and recorded the sounds of great-horned owls mating at dusk. His writing style is conversational, yet poetic. In fact, you’ll find his poetry scattered throughout. The book is organized roughly by the calendar year, starting with fascinating discussion and photos of red-legged frog escapades in January and ending with newts, mushrooms, and decaying leaves of autumn. Jepperson has included pages of detailed macro photos that entice readers to really look at the beauty and intricacies of plants and creatures.

I adored Jepperson’s photos of baby barred owls in the forest. These remarkable pictures are a testament to his devotion to spending long hours in the same place so the birds could get used to him. I also really liked learning more about the beavers who had a part in maintaining the lake by keeping their dams strong. One unique feature that is cool about the book is the QR codes sprinkled throughout the pages. Use your phone to read those codes, and they’ll take you to the featured sound in that passage. If you don’t have a phone, you can go directly to Jepperson’s website, where he has a page devoted to the sound clips he’s edited to bring to life passages from the book.

The one nit-picky thing I had a hard time with was the number of pages with text printed over photographs. The formatting made it hard for me to read. But otherwise the book is well made, a hardback with thick, glossy paper.

Adults and children alike will enjoy this book. I could see it being used as a base or supplement for homeschooling unit studies, or as something families could read before going out to the woods. Perhaps children will recognize plants or animals they’ve seen in the book, or even have a greater appreciation for what is going on behind the scenes in places they visit. I also recommend listening to the podcast that Bob is featured on: Cascade Hiker Podcast Episode #86. You’ll get to hear even more stories and background information. You can find his book at local bookstores (see his website for a list), or you can order one directly from him, and he’ll ship it to you for $2. I truly appreciate his philosophy of going slowly and learning to read a place, to have familiarity that comes from frequent forays and long hours spent noticing.

Robert Jepperson, Author

Book Review: Discovering Seattle’s Parks

  My family loves getting out into the wilderness, but many times we are not able to go far from town for our nature fix. But thankfully we have an amazing array of local trails to explore when we need some fresh air. Seattle is fortunate to have parks in every neighborhood. Large and small,…Continue Reading

Book Review: Day Hiking Olympic Peninsula, 2nd Edition, by Craig Romano

Mysterious, deep, ancient forests. Coastal beaches and headlands. Alpine meadows with far-reaching views. Lakes and rivers, wetlands and surf. The Olympic Peninsula has a diverse range of habitats and areas to explore. You can research your next adventure to this wild corner of the country by using Craig Romano’s book, Day Hiking: Olympic Peninsula. This…Continue Reading

Book Review and Interview: Backpacking 101 by Heather Balogh Rochfort

Summer is in full swing, and our thoughts are full of adventures we’re planning. We yearn to travel far and light, and sleep in the backcountry, with the stars and moon in view. If you’re new to backpacking, or are a dayhiker contemplating the next level of adventure, then you’ll appreciate a new book about…Continue Reading

Book Review: Take A Walk: Seattle by Sue Muller Hacking

  The month of March brought some newly published hiking books across my desk. Take A Walk: Seattle, by Sue Muller Hacking (Fourth Edition, Sasquatch Books) is one that I’m impressed with. I’ve been flipping through this book quite a bit this spring, and am surprised that there are trails near me that I haven’t explored yet.…Continue Reading

Urban Trails: Kitsap by Craig Romano – Book Review

Many of you are familiar with Craig Romano, the prolific and energetic guidebook writer for Washington State. We use his books all the time to plan our hikes to wild and scenic locations. But it’s not always easy to get out to true wilderness. With iffy weather, packed schedules, family illnesses – sometimes we need…Continue Reading

Hiking the Pacific Crest Trail : Washington, by Tami Asars, Book Review

  When I was younger, my biggest dream in life was to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. I was never able to figure out how to tackle that audacious goal, and life moved on, and I set that dream aside. But now Tami Asars has come out with a unique new book about how to…Continue Reading

Book Review: Treecology by Monica Russo

The latest book I’ve reviewed for you is Treecology: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring the World of Trees and Forests by Monica Russo. [Amazon link here.] This thin paperback is accessible for both parents and teachers. It is packed full of the science to understand all parts of trees and the environments they grow…Continue Reading

Book Review: 100 Classic Hikes: Washington by Craig Romano

My bookshelf has two rows of various hiking guides, but recently a new guide came out that will have a prominent spot in the first row. Craig Romano has rewritten and updated Harvey Manning and Ira Spring’s original 100 Classic Hikes in Washington book from 1998, including some of the initial hikes, but adding some new…Continue Reading

Book Review: Lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods

The Centennial of the National Park Service has inspired many people to take journeys through the parks and write about them. Mark Woods planned a year-long odyssey to twelve national parks to ask questions about their future. Each park was supposed to symbolize a different issue the parks are facing in the future. He ended…Continue Reading