Troy’s Book Club: The Sense of Wonder

“The Sense of Wonder” by Rachel Carson/photos by Nick Kelsh, is not a long book, having begun its publishing history as a magazine story in 1956. It first became a book in 1965 and the version I read was published in 1998. This book was lent to me by a dear friend – the one who also lent me “Galapagos” and “Pagans and Christians“. She knows me well, because I have yet to be disappointed by a book rec from her.

“The Sense of Wonder” was written with a particular “mission” and that was to encourage parents to get their kids outside and into nature. The benefits of doing this would be two-fold: it would foster an appreciation for, and curiosity about, the natural world in the children, and  it would restore/reinvigorate the adults’ appreciation by experiencing the natural world through the eyes of a child.

Ms. Carson wrote a simple, clean text, and in being paired with Klesh’s photos, got me to see how fine a book can be when the collaboration between text and image is so fitting.

One of the points that really stood out to me in Carson’s exhortations about getting out to nature was her belief that you don’t need to be well-studied in nature in order to appreciate it – you just need to GET OUT THERE. And, get out there at different times of day. Get out there, and close your eyes, and try to take it in with your other senses. Perk up your eyes and LISTEN to what the natural world wants to share with you. Buy a magnifying glass and get down on your hands and knees and get CLOSE to nature (I love this idea, and need to follow through on that).

As said, this isn’t a long book, and I’d easily suggest it to anyone. Read it and then get outside. Take your time, take off your shoes, take nature in. I don’t think you’ll regret it, whether you’re a child or an adult.

“The Sense of Wonder” at Boswell Books and at the Milwaukee Public Library.


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