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Handbook of Nature Study
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Handbook of Nature Study

4.31  ·  Rating Details  ·  845 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
The late Anna Botsford Comstock was the founder and first head of the Department of Nature Study at Cornell University and the first woman to be appointed to the Cornell faculty. Written originally for elementary school teachers, this book is as valid and helpful today as it was when it was first written in 1911.
Paperback, 740 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Benediction Classics (first published 1911)
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Carling Barker
Nov 21, 2012 Carling Barker rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Currently reading this with my kids who LOVE nature and we are all going to start our own field guide books to keep track of what we have learned & seen :)
May 07, 2014 Sherri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this book. I haven't finished reading it yet because it is the kind of book that is best read in little snippets, but I can't say enough good about what I have read so far. The book is a compilation of essays/lessons written by a female professor at Cornell back I the early 1900s. I love the old fashioned language and the author's unrestrained love for the natural world which spills over into everything she writes. Sometimes she is really funny even though she is not trying to be because ...more
Jun 15, 2011 Tana is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
This book will inspire the love of nature. It teaches a very interest-led method of learning more about what you see outdoors. We went for nature hikes when I was a kid, but I didn't learn very much about what I saw. This book teaches you how to go out and observe, observe, observe, and in doing so, you learn a lot and become a naturalist. I was always jealous of the people who could tell you all sorts of things about nature - this book is helping me to become one of those people.
Nelleke Plouffe
Feb 04, 2014 Nelleke Plouffe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I use the Handbook of Nature Study as a reference for our homeschool Nature Study. The ideas contained in the introduction alone are worth the price of the book. It amazes me how valuable the nature information in this book is, even in this age of the internet. I think it's because the author loved nature. This is more than mere information. This is a living book with perspective, wisdom, and interesting detail.
I would like to see this book updated with better binding (hardcover would be nice)
I am in love with this book. It is a lot of information and can take a bit of time to figure how to use it and go through the information. I use it as background for me so I know how to guide things in our nature and science studies. It's been a staple in our home school since we first started over 10 years ago.
Jan 22, 2012 Alicia added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, homeschoolers, nature lovers
Shelves: reference
I use this for reference for Outdoor Hour Challenges. Originally written 100 years ago by Anna Botsford Comstock of Cornell University, it's still a landmark book for field biology, botany, astronomy, geology--all the various strains in science that can fall under "nature study." It's not exactly something I'd want to lug around on a hike, but as a reference book with 232 lessons--on anything from observation of aquatic insects, to how to dissect and examine a seed pod, to locating a constellati ...more
Laura Rogers
Excellent handbook for studying nature with your children (or by yourself) - I guess the title is appropriate, eh?
It might be a little tedious to those who don't like to or won't read the introduction. The beginning includes lots of lofty philosophy about how to do nature study correctly - all of it excellent, but non-bookish people might balk at the old fashioned language and sheer volume of text to wade through. It is worth the read. Apply the principles and you will have an award winning natu
Oct 03, 2015 Poiema rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-books
This is a great resource for nature study with children. It prepares the teacher to guide her students in developing obvservation skills via hands on exploration of nature. What I love about it is that the author doesn't come across as being didactic, but writes as someone who comes alongside the reader to share in the joy of discovery. The preface of the book, written directly to the teacher, is worth the price of the book. In it, she discusses the importance of nature study, not only for the b ...more
Jul 15, 2010 Deanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science
This is a classic. This is my new favorite book for Biology. I need to get a copy of this. This book will now be our family's scholor book to teach biology.

This book is descriptive and answers all the questions we could ask about nature. This book is black and white and certainly not entertaining. I'm trying to remove the books out of my life that are entertaining and provide only "good or fair" reading material. This book will actually teach us about nature and biology.
Dec 04, 2011 Adam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
Another wonderful book gifted to me by a wonderful sister. This is an extensive nature guide for the layman. I believe it was originally published in 1939 and Cornell University had something to do with it. Her writing on nature is witty and informative; I seem to recall a particularly funny description of a badger. The book is broken up by animal, and includes questions for review for those using it as a study guide or textbook.
Chris Gager
Sep 17, 2012 Chris Gager rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unlikely that this is the book I'm looking for but at least it's old enough to have been on the family bookshelves in the 1950's. I found my first nature book there and found it to be reasonably kid friendly. The book I'm referring to was not 7-900 pages and was hardbound and bigger than an encylopedia volume and may have been only about animals. I don't remember. Very engrossing... Date read is approximate.
Aug 18, 2015 Carol rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I didn't exactly read it cover to cover yet, it's just one of those books you know that while it would take years to "finish", it will be used and used often. The introduction on how to teach nature study is phenomenal and necessary as the entire book is a necessity for every parent who wants their child to have a great relationship with nature.
Sep 20, 2008 Jenny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education, re-read
I just got this book before school started. I had heard and read so much about it, I had to have it. I'm glad I own it now. What an invaluable reference for our nature studies. I have caught myself going back to it again and again long after a lesson is over just to read some more.
I'm starting the Green Hour Challenget and she directs folks to view or download the book here

Jun 22, 2011 Becomingsix rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature-study
LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book. It is our go-to book for everything nature. We have a physical copy as well as the e-book (for taking out side on hikes). We will use this for many years to come. A great investment!
Mar 04, 2008 Sherilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature-study, math
We use this for school. It is full of great information for science and nature study. This is really a reference book. Recently, we have learned about wasps, spiders, and other invertebrates.
Julie Scott
Oct 05, 2014 Julie Scott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The bible of nature study. 232 "verses". As a teacher, Comstock is a fascinating character...a teacher of teachers. This book is a must read for elementary teachers who are capturing imaginations.
Nov 09, 2011 Tracy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
Saw this book at my library and so glad I checked it out. So much useful information with pictures. Good book for adults and children.

Will buy this book for my personal library.
I love this book! I have an older, hardback that we pull out when ever we want to learn something interesting about Mother Nature and it does a wonderful job teaching it.
Aug 31, 2011 Cynthia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We use this in our homeschool but it is also very interesting just to read for the sake of reading it. If anyone loves nature than I highly recommend this book.
Aug 01, 2008 Toni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
love this book. a valuable resource for learning about the world around you--and then passing it on to your children, with lots of ideas on how to go about it.
Sep 02, 2009 Cicy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be more popular. I found it through a homeschool group. It is answers many of the questions that young children have about nature.
Jul 30, 2010 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
This is an expensive book but readers get a BANG for their buck. By far the best science/nature book available- IMHO (of course!).
jodi ruhl
Sep 03, 2012 jodi ruhl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A big book that we've used over the years as reference for nature study. Most helpful now that we live in the northeast.
Jan 02, 2016 Tanya is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-homeschool
I'm trying to read it online and follow a discussion on my yahoo group. So far a little behind, but I'm working to catch up.
Carrie Rushoway
Aug 26, 2012 Carrie Rushoway rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book! It makes easy an awesome reference book. I think all people who work with children should have it.
Wow, this book is thick! I'm sure it has all the answers about birds, trees, flowers that we may have.
Oct 23, 2008 Katrina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is 6 years worth of nature-study. It is the BEST science book we've worked on so far.
Maria Vargason
Great resource. Found it a little overwhelming at first because it's so exhaustive!
Apr 11, 2013 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We have used this book every year of our home education love it best resource book
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