From School Library Journal
Grade 4-6-A rather sketchy account of the naturalist's life, taken from a variety of his own writings. Childhood events that influenced Audubon's interest in birds and art are related, as well as his lack of academic motivation. A near-fatal experience, his lack of self-confidence in his artistic works, and his constant yearning to be outdoors are also recounted. His perseverance, attention to detail, and determination to capture the most lifelike images possible come through in his words. Fine-quality reproductions of Audubon's paintings are scattered throughout, intermingled with Farley's realistic oil paintings of the man and his work. Most of the information here can be found in Martha Kendall's John James Audubon (Millbrook, 1993), which presents a more complete picture of the subject and includes photographs. Report writers should look to that book; Capturing Nature provides a suitable companion volume for children who respond to first-person narratives.Diane Nunn, Richard E. Byrd Elementary School, Glen Rock, NJ
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 5-7. Culled from the diaries of the famous painter and naturalist John James Audubon, the text of this book reads smoothly as an autobiography. Beginning with his life as a spoiled child in France, Audubon recounts his budding fascination with wildlife and with art, which eventually flowered in the publication of his Birds of America
. But first, Audubon came to America to avoid serving in Napoleon's army, nearly drowned in a freezing river, married and moved to the frontier, started a business, lost his inherited fortune, went into debt, and finally resolved to support his family through his lifelong talent for observing and painting birds. Each turn of the page brings another full-color illustration, either a reproduction of an Audubon print or a modern painting showing a scene from the diary. The two work surprisingly well together, a tribute to the publisher's skill in designing this handsome book and to illustrator Farley's approach to the artwork. Keep this in mind for autobiography assignments and classroom units on early-nineteenth-century America. Carolyn Phelan