Earlier this summer, on a trip to a local Audubon center here in Massachusetts, we were delighted to find that the center gift shop stocked the entire line of the Golden Guide field guides. Originally printed in the mid-twentieth century, the Golden Guides became popular again in the nineteen-eighties, which may well be the last time that I really thought about them. But the moment that I saw them there on the little book tower in the nature center gift shop, I was immediately transported back in time and had to work very hard to resist the urge to scoop up each and every one of the pocket-sized guides right then.
The Golden Guides are remembered by many families as the classic “family friendly” field guide series. And, with good reason. They are accessible for kids as well as grown-ups, and the visual layout is easy to reference, while also being appealing for the casual browser. They are also great guides for families who are just getting started in identifying the birds, insects, plants, and other wild species that they find. Field guides often feature photographs of each of the species inside, which is great for viewing detail, but it can also make identification tricky if you are new to a particular plant or animal and the specimen you’ve got doesn’t look just exactly like the one that was photographed for the guide. The Golden Guides use drawings, rather than photos, to represent each of the species included, ensuring that you’ll get a view that is generally representative of the species as a whole. And the drawings have an incredibly pleasing sort of vintage sensibility to them that makes them fun to look at, even if you aren’t necessarily looking for any particular item.
There are a handful of other reasons to feel friendly towards the Golden Guides. We particularly like how small they are; it makes them manageable for taking on a day hike, and they appear to be perfectly sized for tucking into a back pocket as needed. The inclusion of a built-in ruler on the final pages of the books, as well as appendices giving scientific names and background information are also nice features. Oh, and perhaps best of all: most of the guides are available for around five or six dollars. This obviously becomes less helpful if you are attempting to control your urge to buy five at once.
Since we here at Mud Puddles to Meteors have such fondness for the Golden Guides series, we thought that it would be fun to share the love a little bit. And, we also wanted to thank you all for making this new blogging endeavor such a success and so very much fun. So, we are having our first official giveaway.
One reader will receive a track casting kit containing everything you need to preserve animal tracks (see the project post from yesterday for more details about how this fun activity works) as well as the mammals field guide from the Golden Guides series. And, it all comes in a cute little embroidered patchwork bag made by Dawn. To enter, use the widget below and we will pick a winner next Friday. You can also receive more entries in the giveaway by liking our Facebook page or following us on Twitter.