This is probably the single most useful aspect of this book. In the beginning I was hung up on the fact that this giant book didn't have many of the creatures in it that I wanted to study. I was trying to use it as a field guide and then as an encyclopedia....it just isn't meant to be either of those things.
The Handbook of Nature Study does have many specific creatures to study, broken down into categories. You can look them up either in the table of contents or in the index. If you find that the specific creature you are looking for is not listed, you can turn to the introductory pages for the category.
We have lots of Western Scrub Jays in our backyard. We had a nest in our magnolia tree last spring and we were able to watch the baby learn to fly.The Scrub jay is not listed in the index of the HNS but we could use the HNS to learn more about how birds fly or about how they use their beaks. If we wanted to know more about the Western Scrub Jay, we should look it up in our field guide for particular information. The HNS will not help you identify every bird but it will help you to learn more about a lot of common birds. It also has activities for observation that you can use with any bird.
I am learning the value of the HNS as a tool to observing and learning about the creation around us. It is not the sort of book that you pick up and read from cover to cover. Its value is in the way you can use it to guide you through a study of a specific type of nature. We are working our way through the insect section this term but we are also using it to find out about other things we find on our nature walks.
Barb-Harmony Art Mom