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The Nature Handbook – Book Review

The Nature Handbook Review on

Nature Book Project 2016

This review includes affiliate links.

The book of the month is the The Nature Handbook by Ernest H. Williams, Jr. (ISBN: 9780195171945). This is book number seven in my Nature Book Project for 2016. It is a little heavier reading then most of the books I picked this year so I haven’t actually finished it yet but I will. The purpose of this book is to share the patterns and relationships in nature and not particular species like a field guide. It is organized into three main topics: Plants, Animals, and Habitats. Within these topics, it strives to show patterns that we can look for and learn from as we complete our nature study.

Many people ask me if I have suggestions for a more advanced “naturalist” course for high schoolers. This book is definitely a contender for that purpose.

The Nature Handbook Forest Wildflowers @handbookofnaturestudy
These early spring forest wildflowers demonstrate one of the patterns spoken about in The Nature Handbook.

Something I Really Enjoy About This Book

I am a very visual learner when it comes to nature study. Observing things up close and then reading about them with a guide or book that has clear large images is the way I learn the best. The Nature Handbook has over 500 color photos to supplement the easy to read text. Each time I sit down to use this book, I learn something new!

For instance, in the section on Forest Wildflowers (section 1.6), he explains that wildflowers must bloom before the forest canopy closes in with leaves above. This allows for sufficient moisture and high sunlight intensity through the leafless trees above. Reading this section of the book and reasoning on his words has helped me to understand the forest habitat more deeply. It makes my forest hikes in the spring now more meaningful.

Additional Features:

  • Over 200 specific patterns are discussed in this book! The topics could easily supplement any other nature study subjects you are learning about and works well with more advanced or older students.
  • The index is thorough and makes looking up a particular topic easy.
  • The images are labeled clearly and both common and scientific names are provided.
  • Short sections that would be easy to use for nature narrations for Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.

This is a book I will continue to read and use alongside the Handbook of Nature Study and my field guides for my own education as the years go by.

Just a note: This book is a little more expensive than most of the books I review. I do recommend it to my readers (especially as a nature library reference) but I think you should look for it at your library or purchase it used on

This book is part of my Nature Book Project for 2016.

Nature Book Project 2016 @handbookofnaturestudy

Note some of the links below are affiliate links.

January- Discover Nature Close to Home

February-A Place for Birds and A Place for Butterflies

March- A Crow Doesn’t Need A Shadow

April- The Practical Naturalist

May- Break month.

June-Botany in a Day

July- Rockhounding Nevada (postponed)

August- Break month.

September- The 10 Best of Everything National Parks

October- The Nature Handbook

November- Bringing Nature Home (postponed)

December- Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling



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