book review, Books

Thoreau At Walden

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I lived alone in the woods…….

A mile from any neighbor……

in a house which I had built myself on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only……..

Henry David Thoreau


Knowing we would be visiting Walden Pond in Concord Massachusetts, I wanted to share a bit about the writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau with my child. On Walden’s Pond is a bit beyond the 6th grader in my life but the messages contained inside are not. I wanted him to have his own experience with Walden Pond .

I was so happy when I discovered “Thoreau at Walden” By John Porcellino. Produced by The Center for Cartoon Studies, this lovely book is divided into four seasons. We follow Henry David Thoreau as he lives a life of solitude on the banks of Walden Pond. Snippets of Thoreau’s writings grace the pages, highlighting his quiet and reflective time there.

Artist and cartoonist John Porcellino gives us a first hand look into the daily life of Thoreau. Just like Thoreau’s ideas of simple living, Porcellino brings a minimalistic style of cartooning to Thoreau at Walden, highlighting well known moments, as well as, presenting Thoreau’s heart-felt life views of simplicity.

I greatly liked this book because it gave my child an opportunity to experience Walden Pond for himself through the eyes of Henry David Thoreau. He is greatly looking forward to reading On Walden’s Pond in the future, but for now he is very content with this book, which he comes back to again and again, and his time spent along the shores of Walden Pond.

Something To Do:

Artist John Porcellino says,” My hope is that interested readers will be encouraged to seek out and explore the life and work of this incredible thinker (and doer), and to find the inspiration then, in their own lives, to fiercely explore themselves and their world- to move through life with self-confidence, curiosity, and resolve, as did Henry David Thoreau.

Like Thoreau, we were alone on Walden Pond and had our moments of solitude watching the rain, listening to the crows, and desiring to swim across the pond, even though it was raining.

Taking refuge from the rain, we entered a replica of Thoreau’s cabin, envisioning ourselves happy in this place.

While at Walden Pond be sure to:

  • Walk around the whole pond which will take you an hour. Start on the left side of the lake to take the long way around to Thoreau’s cabin site. If you should have little ones with you go ahead and start on the right side of the pond and you will be there in .6 of a mile.
  • Stone Step Sitting. Around the pond are a series of stone steps which lead right down into the water. We found this a great place to sit and ponder or better yet go fishing.
  • Swimming from the Steps: Though we felt alone, there was this old man swimming laps in the pond. We watched him walk down the steps and dive into the pond. It is a Walden Pond tradition to swim the entire pond daily between April and November. Oh how we wished we could have joined him.
  • The Cabin Site: This is a place of homage for many who come to Walden Pond. The cabin replica is by the ranger station but the actual cabin site is on the pond and well marked. There, you will find pillars marking the place where the cabin stood and a huge pile of stones from visitors who make towers in homage and gratitude to this man of simplicity.
” I am convinced, both by faith and experience, that to maintain one’s self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely”.
Henry David Thoreau 1845

6 thoughts on “Thoreau At Walden

    1. I know your kids will love this one Stephinie. It truly holds the essence of Thoreau in a matter that they can grasp it in.

  1. I’m glad I visited your site. Apart from missing the Wonderstruck giveaway (which made me feel immensely sad), I am also happy to learn about this illustrated version of Thoreau at Walden. being a clinical psychologist, I am deeply familiar with Walden (particularly since BF Skinner came up with Walden Two, a book which I required some of my university students to read several years back).

    I have a nine year old daughter now whom I believe would also enjoy this version of Thoreau. Thank you so much for sharing this. I bet you’ve had a wonderful time at Walden Pond. 🙂 What a great getaway for you and your family.

    1. Hi Myra, thanks for stopping by. I hope your daughter enjoys this book. I really liked that my child could have their own experience with Walden Pond and Henry David Thoreau way before high school. We had a wonderful time.

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