Book review: 'Closer to the Ground' focuses on joy with kids in nature

Published: Saturday, Nov. 10 2012 2:00 p.m. MST

"CLOSER TO THE GROUND: An Outdoor Family's Year on the Water, in the Woods and at the Table," by Dylan Tomine, illustrated Niki McClure, Patagonia Books, $29.95, 230 pages (nf)

Words like "sustainability," "eco-friendly," "homesteading," "carbon footprint" and "organic" are pretty hot these days. There has been a barrage of books on the market preaching the whos, whats, whys and hows of these words. "Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family's Year on the Water, in the Woods and at the Table," written by writer and conservation advocate, Dylan Tomine, takes a different approach.

First, the author warns in the introduction, "If you're looking for any kind of expert, 'how-to' advice, I would suggest you'll have much better luck elsewhere." Tomine classifies his family as amateurs at living off the land. They still have and use many of today's technological conveniences such as cell phones, laptops, Internet, cable TV, etc. He also notes that most of their food is purchased from a store.

"Closer to the Ground", which is categorized on the inside cover as a "Parenting/Nature" book, is more about showing than telling one family's approach to living in tune with their surroundings. Former urbanites, Tomine and his family reside on an island in the Puget Sound in Washington state.

The book follows Tomine, his wife Stacy and their two young children, Skyla and Weston, during each season of the year. They plant. They fish. They hunt. They forage. But they are not extremist. It's happy-medium conscientious living.

Although there is an additional cast of characters, interesting tidbits about nature, and thoughts about conservation, the author's kids are the stars of this book. Readers see the joy and pride of a father as the family suits up for the first clam-and-oyster diving in the spring, foraging for mushrooms in the fall and geo-duck hunting in the summer.

"Closer to Ground" is a good read for anyone who enjoys nature and would like to extend that joy to the younger generation. There is some profanity scattered through the book.

Author Dylan Tomine will be conducting a book reading and discussion on Nov. 15 at The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. and at Dolly's Bookstore in Park City on Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m.

If you go ...

What: Dylan Tomine book signings

When: Thursday, Nov. 15, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com

Also ...

When: Friday, Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Dolly's Bookstore, 510 Main St., Park City

Web: dollysbookstore.com

Tequitia Andrews is a freelance writer based in Virginia.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS