A Field Guide to the Familiar

Learning to Observe the Natural World

Gale Lawrence

Designed both to encourage beginning naturalists and to challenge more experienced observers to look at the familiar in new ways, A Field Guide to the Familiar offers an introduction to common plants, animals, and natural phenomena. Beautiful drawings add to the book’s refreshing approach to nature study. Organized by the seasons of the year, each chapter focuses on one subject and one learning objective. From fall’s first frost to the field crickets of high summer, this innovative guide explores in depth such familiar sights as bumblebees, rainbows, acorns, blueberries, and shooting stars. Each chapter includes descriptive information to help readers identify each subject, as well as life cycle information that shows how a subject functions within a grander scheme. Readers learn that every plant and animal – even the atmosphere – has its own story, and they begin to perceive the natural world as whole, interconnected, and continuous. Whether read sequentially or used as a field companion or handy desk reference, A Field Guide to the Familiar gives every reader a sense of the natural world as an accessible – and endlessly fascinating – place.

Paper: $26.95
ISBN-13: 9780874518658
Pages: 288 | Size: 6 in. x 9 in.
Date Published: March 1, 1998


  • A Field Guide to the Familiar goes far beyond the scope of any nature guide I’ve read. It’s not just a means of identifying and understanding the characteristics of dozens of roadside birds, flowers, trees, and animals, but an unabashed celebration of them. It’s a celebration, if you will of the ordinary in nature, which often turns out to be a good deal less ordinary than I, for one, ever supposed . . . Who, exactly can benefit from A Field Guide to the Familiar? Anyone interested in our everyday natural surroundings: country dwellers, city dwellers, teachers and students (the book will be an excellent supplementary text for life science and biology classes), professional naturalists and backyard bird watchers.

    Howard Frank Mosher
    Rutland Herald / Montpelier Times Argus
  • For the budding young naturalist, this book is a worthwhile guide to the non-arid natural world. From plants to animals, the author points out and explains the living world as though teaching a high-school science class.

    Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide

About the Author

Gale Lawrence

Gale Lawrence is a naturalist, lecturer, and former teacher who has written for several Vermont newspapers and is also author of The Indoor Naturalist and The Beginning Naturalist. This edition of A Field Guide to the Familiar, first published in 1984, contains a new Reading Suggestions section.

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