The following is a summary of the book. However, I don't know that I totally agree with the last line. I think part of the enjoyment of this book and "getting" this book is that you have to be a LHOP fan (that's Little House on the Prairie for those who don't know Wilder text lingo). My dad read the LHOP books to my sister and I growing up and I really enjoyed the, but don't know that I specifically know them well enough to tell you which one is my favorite. I do look forward to rereading them in upcoming years with my children. Hopefully they will enjoy the stories like I did.
From Publishers Weekly (starred review):
★ Obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House books about an 1880s pioneer family, children’s book editor and memoirist McClure (I’m Not the New Me) attempts to recapture her childhood vision of “Laura World.” Her wacky quest includes hand-grinding wheat for bread, buying an authentic churn, and traveling to sites where the Ingalls family attempted to wrest a living from the prairie. Discovering that butter she churned herself was “just butter,” McClure admits she “felt like a genius and a complete idiot at the same time.” Viewing a one-room dugout the Ingallses occupied that was “smaller than a freight elevator” prompted McClure to admit that “the actual past and the Little House world had different properties.” McClure finally tells her boyfriend, “I’m home,” after recognizing that her travels stemmed from her reaction to the recent death of her mother. Readers don’t need to be Wilder fans to enjoy this funny and thoughtful guide to a romanticized version of the American expansion west.
The second book is about a different kind of passion. A passion for birds and really more so the nests and eggs of the birds. I know what you are thinking- has ChattyNatty totally fallen off the wagon- nope I'm just really into people who write passionately about things they love or are interested in. This book is all about how one girl's passion drove not only herself, but her loved one's to help her develop a book that some have called "one of the most beautiful books in the world".
Below is an excerpt from the author's website in describing what the book is about. The pictures in this book are unbelievable. The story however, in the very beginning of the book is even more amazing to me. The author, Joy Kiser, has done a wonderful job taking the previous book, which was Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohio and sharing these vivid images with the current world. Also the Smithsonian has its own info/site on America's Other Audubon and if you want more of the story and/or picture of plates go to: http://www.sil.si.edu/ondisplay/nestsandeggs/CF/thumbnails.cfm .
Plate II- Wood Thrush
Illustrated by Genevieve Jones
Illustrations of the Nests and Eggs of Birds of Ohiowas created by the family of Dr. Nelson E. Jones, a remarkable group of amateur naturalists and artists who intended for it to be used as a companion volume to Audubon’s Birds of America. The book was their daughter, Genevieve’s idea but the parents were reluctant to support the undertaking of such an ambitious and expensive project until Genevieve became despondent over a broken engagement.
Concerned over her fragile mental state, they encouraged her to begin the book as a distraction. When part one of Genevieve’s work was issued, leading ornithologists praised the illustrations as being even more beautiful than Audubon’s and former President Rutherford B. Hayes and then college student Theodore Roosevelt added their names to the subscription list. When Genevieve died suddenly from typhoid fever, her family took up the completion of the work in her memory.
In 1935, Genevieve’s book was described as one of the most beautiful books ever created in America but very few Americans have had the opportunity to see it.
America’s Other Audubon relates a little known tale of American ingenuity and resourcefulness; about a family working together to overcome grief by funneling their talents, energies, and financial resources into the completion of a masterpiece.