TOAD #1: The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated)+ video


Karen, creator of P.L.A.Y., reads Chapter 1 on Pinterest HERE.

Edge of a local Smiling Pool like Old Mr. Toad’s – one lone tadpole is almost a toadlet!


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated): A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book by Karen L. Willard purchase HERE.

Author Insight:

My love of children’s literature and being out in nature all came creatively together when I chanced upon the 100+ year old Thornton Burgess books with so many of his stories written in New England nature settings. The animal characters have their adventures throughout the Green Forest in plenty of familiar places like: Peter Rabbit with his home in the Old Briar-patch, Jenny Wren building a nest in the Old Orchard, and Old Mr. Toad visiting the Smiling Pool created by the nearby Laughing Brook. These nature scenes are found throughout the area I live in too and I visit these magical peaceful places daily to immerse in a “sense of wonder” and to make creative connections.

If you’d like to visit spaces like these in nature I’ve got great news, simply follow these two steps:

  1. Step out your door and get to know your surrounding nature spots – be it in your own backyard, neighborhood, local community, bordering towns, or beyond. There are so many hidden wonders to explore and adventures to be had throughout the seasons. Set aside some special P.L.A.Y. time routinely to connect with nature and and be sure to bring your curious Capkin along too!
  2. Try a copy of this nature story activity book for inspiration and to ignite your naturally creative imagination. Once you read this story you might just find you and your family more eager to get out and explore all the magical spaces in “your neck-of-the-woods”.

More Author Insights:

I have started re-writing many books in the Thornton Burgess nature series as they are now available for use in the public domain beginning with The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad, The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver, and (now FREE online only) The Burgess Bird Book for Children.

I have updated these stories for the 21st century family by keeping the same old nature settings and some of the same story line and giving the characters a new opportunity to model compassionate communication and loving kindness throughout their adventures. 

I have also provided bonus materials to interact with the book:

  • Nature photos taken here in New England
  • Spaces for the reader to illustrate each chapter as they creatively see it
  • Curious question prompts for conversations with friends and family
  • Resources online and book suggestions to continue the nature explorations

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Gifting these books to a kiddo in your life, a family in your neighborhood, or simply finding a way to pass P.L.A.Y. forward helps keep the nature connection alive and well.

THANKS for sharing and caring!!!

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