Friends of the Forest
by Frank North Shankland with illustrations by Fern Bisel Peat/ published 1936 by The Saalfield Publishing Company
Passed down to my son from my mom, this is one of her favorites from when she was a girl. Subtitled Observations of Wild Animal Life, the book is filled with short biographies of various forest friends starting with Reynard, the Red Fox.
"Reynard was the father of a family of five cute little foxes. They were born and were living in a well-concealed and almost inaccessible den west of Clyde Hill, in Harpersfield, Ohio."
The illustrations are striking and filled with vibrant color. The way the book is printed makes it seems as if you are looking at the original paintings. It would be interesting to know the back stories on these, as the author writes about these animals as if they are really his friends and puts himself into the story first person at times. I have to assume the author watched these animals for a spell and came up with little names and histories for them. It is part nature guide, part child's fantasy story. Kind of reminds me of Beatrix Potter except without the make believe petticoats and finery.