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The Learning Value in Thomas Locker Books

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Inside: The Learning Value in Thomas Locker Books

We want to help you be a book store browsing genius.

We’re assuming there’s no need to tell you that Little Women is a classic worth getting. (But if you don’t know the book’s rich learning potential, we’re here for that.)

But what about obscure titles? What about names that jog your memory but you’re not sure about? Do you buy it or wonder if it will be the one that got away?

This series of posts will feature authors and illustrators whose body of work is rich and wonderful. We’ll highlight the learning potential of their books and share some of our favorite titles.

You’ll be browsing book stores and used book sales like a pro and investing in worthy purchases. You’ll find books that make you gasp and wonder who on earth would be crazy enough to get rid of them. It’s the best kind of treasure hunt!

The Learning Value in Thomas Locker Books

The Learning Value in Thomas Locker Books

Let’s begin with an author/illustrator who should stop you in your tracks: Thomas Locker.

Thomas Locker was, first and foremost, an artist. He wrote and illustrated many children’s books. Some books he illustrated for other authors. All of them are full of masterful artwork. You simply cannot open a book illustrated by him and not feel his deep appreciation of the natural world and the beauty it offers.


Learning Topics

Here are some topics covered in Thomas Locker books and the learning value they bring to your bookshelf.

Art Appreciation: Every one of Locker’s books is like walking through an art museum. His painting are beautiful and incredibly detailed. Each page offers an opportunity to study quality artwork.

Nature Study and Science: Many of his books directly address topics such as weather, seasons, geology, and other earth science.

Poetry: Several of his books contain poetry selections or poetic prose written by him.

Folk Tales: Only one of his books covers this topic, but it’s worth highlighting. He illustrated The Boy Who Held Back the Sea, which is a beautiful retelling by Lenny Hort of a traditional Dutch folk tale. The story is wonderful, and Locker’s artwork hearkens to paintings by Dutch masters. It is absolutely stunning.


Where to Begin

We could (and would) recommend getting every single Thomas Locker book. Unfortunately, some are out of print and difficult to find. However, we have a few favorites that are still accessible and worth having at home for regular reading.

Where the River Begins

Where the River Begins

In this vividly drawn picture book by award-winning author, two young boys explore with their grandfather to discover where the river begins.

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Buy from Amazon

The Boy Who Held Back the Sea

The Boy Who Held Back the Sea

Jan had never done anything more heroic than shout for the guard because he’d imagined he’d seen a sea serpent. But when Jan discovered water trickling through a desolate stretch of the dike that protected his low-lying village, he knew he had to act fast.

More info →
Buy from Amazon

John Muir: America’s Naturalist

John Muir: America’s Naturalist

This book brings the world and words of John Muir to readers. It's part of an illustrated series of books by Thomas Locker introducing the young and old to great Americans who loved and wrote about the land.

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Buy from Amazon

Sky Tree

Sky Tree

Sky Tree

In spring, a snapping turtle lays her eggs on the hillside beneath the tree. In autumn, leaves fall as squirrels scamper up the trunk carrying nuts...

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Buy from Amazon

Water Dance

Water Dance

Travel with author-illustrator Thomas Locker and follow our planet's most precious resource--water--on its daily journey through our world.

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Buy from Amazon

In Blue Mountains: An Artist’s Return to America’s First Wilderness

In Blue Mountains: An Artist’s Return to America’s First Wilderness

A picture book for all ages from painter Thomas Locker! “In Blue Mountains" is about the love of nature and the importance of beauty. It tells the story of an artist who sets out to explore wilderness and discovers a new way of seeing

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Cloud Dance

Cloud Dance

Journey across the heavens through thick cumulus clouds, wispy cirrus clouds, and wide stratus clouds as they dance through every season of the year. Thomas Locker introduces young readers to the basic science of our natural world with brilliant illustrations and poetic prose.

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Mountain Dance

Mountain Dance

Listen. The earth seems still and quiet, but constantly, silently, it is moving and changing. Mountain Dance takes readers from summit to shore, and into the depths of the earth, exploring the geographic forces it takes to move, build, and wear away the great peaks and valleys of our planet.

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Home: A Journey through America

Home: A Journey through America

Home. In this unique volume, prominent American writers from the past and present--Willa Cather, Henry David Thoreau, Eloise Greenfield--give voice to the region of the country each calls home.

More info →
Buy from Amazon

Keep your eyes peeled for the name Thomas Locker at used book sales and thrift stores. Be that person who gasps and feels a rush of adrenaline at finding a gold nugget book.

Your family reading will be enriched by it!


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One Comment

  1. Learning Through Literature says:

    Recently a reader commented: For the summer we are just concentrating on reading novels and having discussions. I love picture books and use them for all ages but chapter book and novels tend to lead to discussions and building character.Love your emails. Keep in touch. Thank you.

    Our response: We are putting together something that will help you with those character building discussions!

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