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Nature’s Ambassador: The Legacy of Thornton W. Burgess

Christie Palmer Lowrance

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For over 100 years, the animal books and stories of beloved children’s author Thornton W. Burgess have delighted millions of children and their parents; more than of half his seventy books remain in print today. However, there was much more to Burgess, the man, than just a writer of children’s books: he was a dedicated naturalist who was honored by prestigious scientific institutions for his advocacy of wildlife and conservation practices that resonate today. His books, syndicated columns, and radio programs both entertained and educated children, introducing them to wildlife habitat, species extinction, and roadside litter. Some books became the basis of Fables of the Green Forest, an internationally popular children’s 1970s television cartoon. Nature’s Ambassador explores Burgess’s life and legacy, from his Cape Cod childhood to the present. With engaging text and historical pictures, this new biography will be a valuable addition to collections of historians, environmentalists, educators, librarians, and parents.

Size: 6″ x 9″ | 35 color & 128 b/w images | 320 pp
ISBN13: 9780764344459 | Binding: hard cover


Christie Palmer Lowrance has worked as a freelance writer for more than thirty years. She also taught writing at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Cape Cod Community College. She lives in Sandwich, Massachusetts.

Nature’s Ambassador: The Legacy Of Thornton W. Burgess, by Christie Lowrance is a book rich in information on a man who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most beloved children’s authors of his day. In addition, as Ms. Lowrance so forcefully articulates, Burgess, who had just a high school education plus one year of business school, also became one of the most respected pioneer naturalists, conservationists and environmentalists of the 20th Century. Nature’s Ambassador was so carefully and thoroughly researched that the author reveals facts about this remarkable man that even the Thornton W. Burgess Society was unaware of. This book is a must read for all lovers of nature as well as those who for decades were and continue to be entertained and informed by the writing of this marvelous storyteller.” – Gene A. Schott, executive director, Thornton W. Burgess Society

“Ms. Lowrance has captured the generous spirit, curious mind and loving heart of a children’s author whose simple message of respect and concern for wildlife reached across the country and over the seas. I can speak of the years of research, countless interviews and editing struggles this author went through to be absolutely certain she was capturing the character of the man and his impact on not only children’s literature but on the history of wildlife conservation and habitat preservation in our country. Much of this he accomplished by engaging children through rooted-in-fact, well crafted fictional literature. It is time to recognize this man who left us such an amazing legacy. Ken Burns here is inspiration for a new project!” – Mary Beers, head naturalist and education director, Thornton W. Burgess Society

“Be assured when you hold this book in your hand, you have in your possession a true treasure! Thornton Burgess entertained children with his delightful books for over 100 years while promoting and lecturing on wildlife and conservation. The author takes the reader on a journey about Thorton Burgess with the use of extensive research and marvelous photos and illustrations. Having heard many of the original stories, shared them with my daughters, and now, grandchildren, I am thrilled to know the background of this amazing man. Nature’s Ambassador: The Legacy of Thorton W.Burgess is a book that should be in all libraries and personal collections. Interest in this book will certainly span the decades.” – Kathryn Handley, author, National League of American Pen Women

“I do not believe there is another book about this remarkable man that is as carefully researched and rich in detail. It is my hope that through this book a whole new audience for his timeless stories will emerge and that a broader acceptance of his legacy and place in the pantheon of environmental leaders will be solidified.” – Chuck Roth, former education director, Massachusetts Audubon Society