Animal BOOK LOOK – Chapter 5 – Squirrels of the Trees


Chapter 5

Squirrels of the Trees


Peter Rabbit found Johnny Chuck sitting on his doorstep, sunning himself. Peter was quite out of breath because he had hurried so. “Do you know that you are a Squirrel, Johnny Chuck?” he panted.

Johnny slowly turned his head and looked at Peter as if he thought Peter had suddenly gone crazy. “What are you talking about, Peter Rabbit? I’m not a Squirrel; I’m a Woodchuck,” he replied.

“Just the same, you are a Squirrel,” replied Peter. “The Woodchucks belong to the Squirrel family. Mother Nature says so, and if she says so, it is so. You best join us Johnny Chuck and learn a little about your own relatives.”

Johnny Chuck blinked his eyes and for a minute or two couldn’t find a word to say. He knew that if Peter were telling the truth as to what Mother Nature had said, it must be true that he was member of the Squirrel family. However it was hard to believe. “What is this all about, learning with Mother Nature?” he finally asked.

Peter hastened to tell him. He told Johnny all about what he and Jumper the Hare had learned about their family, and all the surprising things Mother Nature had told them about the Squirrel family, and he ended by again urging Johnny Chuck to join them and promised to call for Johnny the next morning.

Woodchuck illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

However, Johnny Chuck does not like to go far from his own doorstep, so when Peter called the next morning Johnny refused to go, despite all Peter could say. Peter didn’t waste much time arguing for he was afraid he would be late and miss something. When he reached the Green Forest he found his cousin, Jumper the Hare, and Chatterer the Red Squirrel, and Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel, already there. As soon as Peter arrived Old Mother Nature began the morning session.

“Happy Jack,” she said, “you may tell us all you know about your cousin, Chatterer.”

“To begin with, he is the smallest of the Tree Squirrels,” said Happy Jack. “He isn’t so very much bigger than Striped Chipmunk, and that means that he is less than half as big as myself. His coat is red and his waistcoat white; his tail is about two-thirds as long as his body and flat and not very broad.”

“He spends more of his time in the trees than I do,” continued Happy Jack, “and is especially fond of pine trees and other cone-bearing trees. He likes the deeper parts of the Green Forest more than I do, though he seems to feel just as much at home on the edge of the Green Forest, especially if it is near a farm where he can get access to corn.”

Red Squirrel illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“I have to admit that Chatterer is thrifty,” continued Happy Jack. “He is very fond of the seeds of cone-bearing trees. He cuts the cones from the trees just before they are ripe. Then they ripen and open on the ground, where he can get at the seeds easily. He often has a number of storehouses and stores up cone seeds, acorns, nuts, and corn when he can get it. He builds a nest of leaves and strips of bark, sometimes in a hollow tree and sometimes high up in the branches of an evergreen tree. He is a good jumper and jumps from tree to tree. He does take some of my stores too.”

“You do the same thing to me when you have the chance, which isn’t often,” sputtered Chatterer.

Happy Jack turned away from Chatterer and continued, “He doesn’t seem to mind cold weather at all, as long as the sun shines. His noisy tongue is to be heard on the coldest days of winter. He sauces and scolds everybody he meets, and every time he opens his mouth he jerks his tail.”

Here Mother Nature spoke up and said, “Happy Jack forgot to mention that you eat s few insects at times. He also forgot to mention that sometimes you have a storehouse down in the ground. Now tell us what you know about your cousin, Happy Jack.”

“Happy Jack is more than twice as big as I,” said Chatterer looking at Happy Jack. “He is gray all over, except underneath, where he is white. He has a tremendously big tail. When he sits up he has a way of folding his hands on his breast. I don’t know what he does it for unless it is to keep them warm in cold weather. He builds a nest very much like mine. Sometimes it is in a hollow tree, although quite as often it is in the branches of a tree. He is a good traveler in the tree tops, and he spends a good deal of his time on the ground as well. He likes open woodland best, especially where there are many nut trees. He has a storehouse where he stores up nuts for winter, and he buries in the ground and under the leaves more than he puts in his storehouse. In winter, when he is hungry, he hunts for those buried nuts, and somehow he manages to find them even when they are covered with snow. ”

Grey Squirrel illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“Have you told us all you know about Happy Jack, Chatterer?” asked Mother Nature.

Chatterer nodded. “What you have told us is good as far as it goes,” she said. “You said that Happy Jack is all gray excepting underneath. Usually the Gray Squirrel is just as Chatterer has described him and sometimes a Gray Squirrel isn’t gray at all, rather it can be all black.”

Peter Rabbit’s ears stood straight up with astonishment. “How can a Gray Squirrel be black?” he questioned.

Mother Nature smiled. “That is a fair question, Peter,” she said. “Gray Squirrel is simply the name of Happy Jack’s family. Sometimes some of the babies are born with black coats instead of gray coats. Of course they are just the same kind of Squirrel, only they look different. In some parts of the country there are numbers of these black-coated Squirrels and many think they are a different kind of Squirrel. They are not. They are simply black-coated members of Happy Jack’s family. Just remember this. It is the same way in the family of Rusty the Fox Squirrel. Some members are rusty red, some are a mixture of red and gray, and some are as gray as Happy Jack himself. Way down in the Sunny South Fox Squirrels always have white noses and ears. In the North they never have white noses and ears. Rusty the Fox Squirrel is just a little bigger than Happy Jack and has just such a handsome tail. He is the strongest and heaviest of the Tree Squirrels and not nearly as quick and graceful as Happy Jack. Sometimes Rusty has two nests in the same tree, one in a hollow in a tree for bad weather and the other made of sticks and leaves outside in the branches for use in good weather. Rusty’s habits are very much the same as those of Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel, and therefore he likes the same kind of surroundings. Like his cousin, Happy Jack, Rusty is a great help to me.”

Fox Squirrel by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Seeing how surprised everybody looked, Mother Nature explained. “Both Happy Jack and Rusty bury a great many more nuts than they ever need,” she said, “and those they do not dig up sprout in the spring and grow. In that way they plant ever so many trees without knowing it. Very likely Happy Jack’s great-great-ever-so-great grandfather planted the very tree you get your fattest and best hickory nuts from Chatterer.

“Way out in the mountains of the Far West you have a cousin called the Douglas Squirrel, who is really a true Red Squirrel and whose habits are very much like your own. Some folks call him the Pine Squirrel. By the way, Chatterer, Happy Jack forgot to say that you are a good swimmer. Perhaps he didn’t know it.”

By the expression of Happy Jack’s face it was quite clear that he didn’t know it. “Certainly I can swim,” said Chatterer. “I don’t mind the water at all. I can swim a long distance if I have to.”

This was quite as much news to Peter Rabbit as had been the fact that a cousin of his own was a good swimmer.

“Are there any other Tree Squirrels?” asked Jumper the Hare.

“Yes,” replied Mother Nature, “there are two. They live out in the Southwest, in one of the most wonderful places in all this great land, a place called the Grand Canyon. One is called the Abert Squirrel and the other the Kaibab Squirrel. They are about the size of Happy Jack and Rusty and have broader, handsomer tails and their ears have long tufts of hair. The Abert Squirrel has black ears, a brown back, gray sides and white underneath. Kaibab has brown ears with black tips, and his tail is mostly white. Both are very lovely, although their families are small and so they are little known.”

And with this last tidbit Mother Nature moved on with her day.

This Curious Capkin has created more P.L.A.Y. Ponderings just for you!

Following the prompts below draw, doodle, write, ponder, paint, color, and creatively capture your thoughts in your P.L.A.Y. Adventures nature journal!

  1. Do you have more than one type of squirrel living near to you?
  2. Do you see squirrels at the local park? At a neighbor’s bird feeder? Or in what other locations?
  3. *Observations and Ponderings: What is the food of the squirrel during each season? Where does it store food? Does it steal food from other wildlife? How does it carry nuts? How much squirrel language (or chatter) can you understand for example: surprise, anger, excitement? How many different sounds does it make?

* Asterisk items are inspired by or are questions from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock – Copyright 1911.

If you find the work and vision of P.L.A.Y. supports you and your family on the life learning path, please pass it forward to friends and neighbors as a Simple Gift that keeps on giving.


❤ ❤ ❤ Thank You! ❤ ❤ ❤


Winter #65 – Nature Alliteration Adventure

A January treasure quest for you and your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for

Which Way did they Wander?

Who? What? Where? When?

Bonus Winter White

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase HERE P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

Nature Poop Post #9

A magical moment in any outdoor adventure is to find . . .

SCATBEDOODOO!!!

Who left this behind?


SCATBEDOODOO is a new special P.L.A.Y. combination of two things:

SCAT = animal poop (aka feces)

SCAT = the improvised singing of nonsense syllables in jazz music like bop-doo-wop.


❤ 🙂 ❤

What to do when you find the poo out in the wild:

1-Watch Your Step!

2-Look with your eyes not your hands (no touch!)

3-Draw or take a snapshot of the poop to later decipher which field or forest animal left behind this special clue.

4- Get curious if you like and poke it with a stick to try to figure out what this animal ate. Can you see fur, seeds, grasses, or ???

BONUS P.L.A.Y.  Sing your own verse of SCATBEDOODOO to celebrate discovering which animal has passed this way before you!

❤  🙂 ❤


The authors write in the introduction:

“(this book assists with) . . . the joy of reading stories written in the soil and snow. The fun of nature’s challenge is solving the mysteries written on the trail.”

I highly recommend picking up a copy for your nature library! ~ Karen ;0)


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Winter #64 – Nature Alliteration Adventure

A January treasure quest for you and your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for

Simply Sweet Side Snapshot in the Sylvan Setting

BonusSunshine (+forest hues)

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase HERE P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

Animal BOOK LOOK – Chapter 4 – Red + Gray Squirrels


Chapter 4

Red and Gray Squirrels


Peter Rabbit, on his way to learn more from Mother Nature, was trying to make up his mind about which of his neighbors he would ask to join him. He had learned so many surprising things about his own family that he shrewdly suspected many equally surprising things were to be learned about his neighbors. However, there were so many neighbors he couldn’t decide which one to ask first.

Alas, that matter was settled for him, and in a funny way. Hardly had he reached the edge of the Green Forest when he was hailed by a voice. “Hello, Peter Rabbit!” said this voice. “Where are you bound at this hour of the morning? Usually you are heading for home in the dear Old Briar-patch.”

Peter knew that voice the instant he heard it. It was the voice of Happy Jack the Gray Squirrel. Happy Jack was seated on the top of an old stump, eating a nut. “I’m going to learn,” replied Peter with a great excitement.

“Going to learn, you say?” Happy Jack. “Oh please do tell me who you are going to learn with and what you will be learning.”

“I’m going to learn with Mother Nature,” replied Peter. “I’ve been going for several days, and so has my cousin, Jumper the Hare. We’ve learned a lot about our own family and now we are going to learn about the other little people of the Green Forest and the Green Meadows.”

“Really?!” exclaimed Happy Jack. “I do think I know allot about my own family although I guess I never really considered knowing about my neighbors too.”

“Is that so?” asked Peter. “I’m curious to know if you actually do know all your own cousins. I thought I knew all of mine and discovered I didn’t.”

Gray Squirrel illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“What are you fellows talking about?” asked another voice. Chatterer the Red Squirrel jumped from one tree to another just above Peter’s head.

“Peter is getting me curious about how much I may not know about our own family” said Happy Jack in a pondering sort of way. “He is on his way to learn with Mother Nature and has advised me to join him.”

“I think it would be fun to go learn for a while , especially about the Squirrel family” Chatterer the Red Squirrel eagerly chimed in. “What do you say, Peter, may I go along with you?”

Peter said that he thought it would be a very fine thing and that Chatterer would not regret it. Chatterer winked at his cousin, Happy Jack, and followed Peter. Chatterer kept up in the trees while Peter was hopping lipperty-lipperty-lip on the ground. Happy Jack hesitated a minute and then, curiosity becoming too much for him, hastened to join the others too.

“Hello!” exclaimed Old Mother Nature, as Happy Jack and Chatterer appeared with Peter Rabbit. “What are you frisky folks doing over here?”

Happy Jack and Chatterer appeared to have lost their tongues, something very unusual for them, especially for Chatterer. The fact is, in the presence of Mother Nature they felt bashful. Peter replied for them. “They’ve decided to come learn too,” he said. “Happy Jack says he feels like knows all about his own family and he has come along to find out if he really does.”

“It won’t take us long to find out,” said Mother Nature softly and her eyes twinkled with amusement. “How many cousins have you, Happy Jack?”

Happy Jack thought for a moment. “Three,” he replied in an unsure way. Peter chuckled to himself as he knew that doubt was already beginning to grow in Happy Jack’s mind.

“Can you name them?” Mother Nature promptly asked.

“Chatterer the Red Squirrel, Timmy the Flying Squirrel, and Striped Chipmunk,” replied Happy Jack.

“He’s forgotten Rusty the Fox Squirrel,” Chatterer inserted, dancing about gleefully.

Happy Jack looked crestfallen and gave Chatterer an angry look.

“That’s right, Chatterer,” said Mother Nature. “Rusty is a very important member of the Squirrel family. Now suppose you name the others.”

“Wha–wha–what others?” stammered Chatterer. “I don’t know of any others.”

Peter Rabbit hugged himself with glee as he watched the faces of Happy Jack and Chatterer. “They don’t know any more about their family than we did about ours,” he whispered in one of the long ears of Jumper the Hare.

As for Mother Nature, she simply smiled. “Put on your thinking caps, you two,” she said. “You have only named half of them. For sure you are not to blame for that, for some of them you have never seen. There is one member of the Squirrel family whom both of you do know very well and yet neither of you named them.”

Red Squirrel Illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Chatterer looked at Happy Jack, and Happy Jack looked at Chatterer, and each scratched his head. Each wanted to be the first to think of that other cousin. For although they scratched and scratched their heads, they couldn’t think who that other cousin could be. Mother Nature waited a few minutes before she told them. Then, seeing that either they couldn’t remember or didn’t know, she said, “You didn’t mention Johnny Chuck.”

“Johnny Chuck!” exclaimed Chatterer and Happy Jack together, and the look of surprise on their faces was truly a funny sight to see. For that matter, the looks on the faces of Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare were equally as funny.

Mother Nature nodded. “Johnny Chuck,” she repeated. “He is a member of the Squirrel family. He belongs to the Marmot branch and he is a Squirrel just the same. He is one of your cousins.”

“He’s a mighty funny looking Squirrel,” said Chatterer, jerking his tail as only he can.

Mother Nature looked first at Chatterer and then at Happy Jack. “I think it would be helpful if you both came to learn with me for a while along with Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare. Would that be alright? Now which of you can tell me what order do you all belong to?”

Happy Jack looked at Chatterer, Chatterer looked at Peter Rabbit, and Peter looked at Jumper the Hare. On the face of each was such a funny, puzzled expression that Mother Nature almost laughed right out. Finally Peter Rabbit found his tongue. “If you please,” he said, “I guess we don’t know what you mean by an order.”

“Oh yes, right you are, let me explain.” said Mother Nature. “First, the animals of the Great World are divided into big groups or divisions, and then these groups are divided into smaller groups, and these in turn into still smaller groups. Happy Jack and Chatterer belong to a group called the Squirrel family, and Peter and Jumper to a group called the Hare family. Both of these families and several other families belong to a bigger group called an order, and this order is the order of Gnawers, or Rodents.”

Peter Rabbit fairly jumped up in the air with excitement. “Then Jumper and I must be related to Happy Jack and Chatterer,” he cried.

“In a way you are,” replied Mother Nature. “It isn’t a very close relationship, still you are related. All of you are Rodents. So are all the members of the Rat and Mouse family, the Beaver family, the Porcupine family, the Pocket Gopher family, the Pika family, and the Sewellel family.”


Mother Nature shares classifications: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species

By this time Peter’s eyes looked as if they would pop right out of his head. “This is the first time I’ve ever heard of some of those families,” he said. “My, what a lot we have to learn! Is it because all the members of all those families have teeth for gnawing that they are all sort of related?”

Mother Nature looked pleased. “Peter,” she said, “that is exactly why. All the members of all the families I have named belong to the same order, the order of Rodents. All the members have big, cutting, front teeth. Animals without such teeth cannot gnaw. Now, as you and Jumper have learned about your family, it is the turn of Happy Jack and Chatterer to learn about their family. Theirs is rather a large family, and it is divided into three groups, the first of which consists of the true Squirrels, to which group both Happy Jack and Chatterer belong. The second group consists of the Marmots, and Johnny Chuck belongs to this. The third group Timmy the Flying Squirrel has all to himself.”

“Where does Striped Chipmunk come in?” asked Chatterer.

“I’m coming to that,” replied Mother Nature. “The true Squirrels are divided into the Tree Squirrels, Rock Squirrels, and Ground Squirrels. Of course Chatterer and Happy Jack are Tree Squirrels.”

“And Striped Chipmunk is a Ground Squirrel,” Peter inserted.

Mother Nature shook her head. “Actually, no Peter, this is not the case,” she said. “Striped Chipmunk is a Rock Squirrel. Seek Seek the Spermophile who lives on the plains of the West and is often called Gopher Squirrel, is the true Ground Squirrel.”

“And now I must run along,” said Mother Nature. “You little folks enjoy your day and I’ll meet with you all again here tomorrow morning where I shall expect Chatterer to tell me all about Happy Jack, and Happy Jack to tell me all about Chatterer.”

So Peter, Jumper, Chatterer, and Happy Jack thanked Mother Nature for all she had told them and scampered away. Peter headed straight for the far corner of the Orchard where he was sure he would find Johnny Chuck. He couldn’t get there fast enough, for he wanted to be the first to tell Johnny Chuck that he was a Squirrel. You see he didn’t believe that Johnny knew any of this.

This Curious Capkin has created more P.L.A.Y. Ponderings just for you!

Following the prompts below draw, doodle, write, ponder, paint, color, and creatively capture your thoughts in your P.L.A.Y. Adventures nature journal!

  1. Can you make a long list of what Rodents, or Gnawers, live in your “neck-of-the-woods” or neighborhood?
  2. Do you have squirrels? Do you know which kind? Where they live or rest? What do they eat?
  3. *Observe and Ponder: Does the squirrel trot along or leap when running on the ground? Run straight ahead or stop and look about to see if the “coast is clear”? Does the squirrel have long or short legs? Does it have paws with claws? When climbing a tree, does it go straight up, or move around the trunk? Does it hide using the tree trunk? Is it able to go head first down the tree? Can it travel on the smallest of branches? Does it follow the same route to and from the tree? How does it hold its leg and tail when in the air jumping from branch to branch? What colors are on a red squirrel? Does it change with the seasons? Is the tail as long as the body? Does it express emotion? What is it used for in regards to jumping or in their nest?

* Asterisk items are inspired by or are questions from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock – Copyright 1911.

If you find the work and vision of P.L.A.Y. supports you and your family on the life learning path, please pass it forward to friends and neighbors as a Simple Gift that keeps on giving.


❤ ❤ ❤ Thank You! ❤ ❤ ❤


Winter #63 – Nature Alliteration Adventure

A January treasure quest for you and your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for

“Happy Hidden Hearts”

Bonus Color Challenge  Brown With Winter White Snow Surround

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase HERE P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

Animal BOOK LOOK – Chapter 3 – Rabbits and Hares


Chapter 3

More about Rabbits and Hares


At sun-up the next morning Peter Rabbit and Jumper the Hare were on hand promptly for their next lesson. Mother Nature smiled as she saw the eager curiosity shining in their eyes. She didn’t wait for them to ask questions. “Yesterday,” said she, “I told you about your water-loving cousin, the Marsh Rabbit. You have another relative down there in the Sunny South who is almost as fond of the water. Some folks call him the Swamp Rabbit. Others call him the Swamp Hare. The latter is really the best name for him, because he is a true Hare. He lives in swamps instead of marshes, but he is a splendid swimmer and fond of the water. When he is chased by an enemy he makes for the nearest point or stream.”

“How big is he?” asked Jumper.

“Just about your size, Jumper, and perhaps a little bit heavier” replied Mother Nature. Because his hair lies much smoother than yours, you probably would look a little bit bigger if you were sitting beside him. As with his cousin, the Marsh Rabbit, the hair on his feet is thin. His toes are rather long and he can spread them widely, which is a great help in swimming. He doesn’t have to take to the water as his little cousin does, for he is a very good runner. However, he does take to it as the easiest way of getting rid of those who are chasing him. The Marsh Rabbit and the Swamp Hare are the only members of your family in all the Great World who are fond of the water and who are at home in it. Now, who shall I tell you about next?”

“Our biggest cousins,” cried Peter and Jumper together. “The ones you told us yesterday are bigger than Jumper,” added Peter. “It is hard to believe that there can be any much bigger than he.”

Mother Nature’s eyes twinkled. “It is often hard to believe things you can not see,” she said. “Compared with these other relatives, Jumper really isn’t big at all. He seems big to you, Peter, however if he should meet his cousin, Snow White the Arctic Hare, who lives way up in the Frozen North, I am quite sure Jumper would feel small. Snow White looks very much like Jumper in his winter coat, for he is all white save the tips of his ears, which are black.”

“Does he wear a white coat all year round?” asked Peter eagerly.

Arctic Hares illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

“When he lives so far north that there is snow and ice for most of the year, he does,” replied Mother Nature. “And when he lives far enough south for the snow to disappear for a little while in the summer, he changes his white coat for one of gray.”

“How can he live so far north that the snow and ice seldom melt?” asked Peter, looking very much puzzled. “What can he find to eat?”

“Even way up there there is moss growing under the snow. And in the short summer other plants grow. During the long winter Snow White digs down through the snow to get these. He also eats the bark and twigs of little stunted trees. And yet as big as he is, you have a cousin who is still bigger, the biggest of all the family.”

“Who is he?” Jumper and Peter cried together.

“He is called White-tailed Jack,” replied Mother Nature. “And he lives chiefly on the great plains of the Northwest, though sometimes he is found in the mountains and forests. He is sometimes called the Prairie Hare. In winter his coat is white and in the summer it is a light brown. Summer or winter his tail is white, much like you Peter. It is because of this that he is called White-tailed Jack.”

“Is his tail as short as mine?” asked Peter eagerly.

Peter Rabbit and his very short tail- illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Mother Nature laughed right out. “No, Peter,” she replied. “It wouldn’t be called a long tail by any other animal, however for a member of your family it really is long, and when White-tailed Jack is running he switches it from side to side. His hind legs are very long and powerful, and he can make a single jump of twenty feet without half trying. Not even Old Man Coyote can catch him in a straightaway race. You may think Jumper’s ears are long, Peter, and yet they are short in comparison to the ears of White-tailed Jack. Not only are his ears long they are also very big. When he squats in his form and lays his ears back they reach way over his shoulders. Like the other members of the Hare family he doesn’t use holes in the ground or hollow logs. He trusts to his long legs and to his wonderful speed to escape from his predators. Among them are Howler the Wolf, Old Man Coyote, Eagles, Hawks and Owls. He is so big that he would make five or six of you, Peter.”

Peter drew a long breath. “It is dreadfully hard to believe that I can have a cousin as big as that,” he exclaimed. “Have I any other cousins anywhere near as big?”

Mother Nature nodded. “There are some others very like White-tailed Jack, only not quite as big,” she said. “They have long hind legs, and great ears, although their coats are different, and they live on the great plains farther south. Some of them live so far south that it is warm all the year round. One of these is Antelope Jack, whose home is in the Southwest.”

“Oh please tell us about him,” begged Peter.

“To begin with,” replied Mother Nature, “he is a member of the big Jack Rabbit or Jack Hare branch of your family. None of this branch should be called a Rabbit. All the members are first cousins to Jumper and are true Hares. All have big ears, long, rather thin necks, and long legs. Even their front legs are comparatively long. Antelope Jack is probably next in size to White-tailed Jack. Strange to say, although he lives where it is warm for most of the year, his coat is very largely white. His back is a yellowish-brown and so is his throat. His sides are white. The surprising thing about him is that he has the power of making himself seem almost all white. He can make the white hair spread out at will by means of some special little muscles which I have given him, so that the white of his sides at times almost seems to meet on his back. When he does this in the sun it makes flashes of white which can be seen a long way. By means of this Antelope Jack and his friends can keep track of each other when they are a long distance apart. There is only one other animal who can flash signals in this way, and that is the Antelope of whom I will tell you some other time. It is because Jack flashes signals in this way that he is called Antelope Jack. In his habits he is otherwise much like the other members of his family. He trusts to his long legs and his wonderful powers of jumping to keep him out of danger. He is not as well known as his commoner cousin, plain Jack Rabbit. Everybody knows Jack Rabbit.”

Jack Rabbit illustrated by Louis Agassiz Fuertes

Peter shook his head. “I don’t,” said he very meekly.

“Then it is time you did,” replied Mother Nature. “If you had ever been in the Far West you would know him. Everybody out there knows him. He isn’t quite as big as Antelope Jack although he is still a big fellow. He wears a brownish coat much like Jumper’s, and the tips of his long ears are black. His tail is longer than Jumper’s, and when he runs he carries it down.”

“I don’t carry mine down,” Peter piped up.

Mother Nature laughed right out. “True enough, Peter, true enough,” she said. “You couldn’t if you wanted to. It isn’t long enough to carry any way other than up. Jack has more of a tail than you have, just as he has longer legs. My, how he can run! He goes with great bounds and about every tenth bound he jumps very high. This is so that he can get a good look around to watch out for predators.”

“Who are his natural predators?” asked Peter.

“Foxes, Coyotes, Hawks, Eagles, Owls, and Weasels,” replied Mother Nature. “In fact, he has about as many predators as you have.”

“I know I ought to keep away from that garden,” said Peter very meekly, “but you have no idea what a temptation it is. The things in that garden do taste so good.”

Now I guess you have learned sufficient about your long-legged cousins. I’ve a great deal to do, so skip along home, both of you,” said Mother Nature.

“If you please, Mother Nature, may we come again tomorrow?” asked Peter.

“And whatever for?” inquired Mother Nature. “Haven’t you learned enough about your family?”

“Yes,” replied Peter, “however there are lots and lots of things I would like to know about other animals. If you please, I would like to come to you every day. You see, the more I learn about my neighbors, the better able I will be to take care of myself and understand them as well.”

“All right, Mr. Curiosity,” replied Mother Nature good-naturedly, “come again tomorrow morning as I’m happy to share what I know.”

So Peter and Jumper politely bade her goodbye and started for their homes. Lipperty-lipperity-lip!

This Curious Capkin has created more P.L.A.Y. Ponderings just for you!

Following the prompts below draw, doodle, write, ponder, paint, color, and creatively capture your thoughts in your P.L.A.Y. Adventures nature journal!

  1. What do you think of rabbits swimming (Chapter 2) and rabbits playing in the snow? What do you see in your minds-eye when you try to picture them in the water or in the fluffy white crystals? Was this news to you and hard to picture?
  2. *Chapters 1-3 talk about various rabbits and the size of their ears. Of what use are large ears? How are the ears held when the rabbit is resting? running? Or when the rabbit is startled vs. checking for danger? Can you mime or act this out with your hands or draw it on a page?
  3. * Describe the eyes of a rabbit. Where are they positioned? Do you think a rabbit sleeps with their eyes open or closed? Does a rabbit wink?
  4. * What do most rabbits eat? What are they drawn to eat in warm summer like conditions vs. cold winter conditions?

* Asterisk items are inspired by or are questions from the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock – Copyright 1911.

If you find the work and vision of P.L.A.Y. supports you and your family on the life learning path, please pass it forward to friends and neighbors as a Simple Gift that keeps on giving.


❤ ❤ ❤ Thank You! ❤ ❤ ❤


Winter #59 – Nature Alliteration Adventure

A January treasure quest for you and your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for

” Scarlet + Scalloped + Spectacular Single “

BonusSeashell Shape

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase HERE P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books

Nature Poop Post #8

A magical moment in any outdoor adventure is to find . . .

SCATBEDOODOO!!!

Who left this behind?


SCATBEDOODOO is a new special P.L.A.Y. combination of two things:

SCAT = animal poop (aka feces)

SCAT = the improvised singing of nonsense syllables in jazz music like bop-doo-wop.


❤ 🙂 ❤

What to do when you find the poo out in the wild:

1-Watch Your Step!

2-Look with your eyes not your hands (no touch!)

3-Draw or take a snapshot of the poop to later decipher which field or forest animal left behind this special clue.

4- Get curious if you like and poke it with a stick to try to figure out what this animal ate. Can you see fur, seeds, grasses, or ???

BONUS P.L.A.Y.  Sing your own verse of SCATBEDOODOO to celebrate discovering which animal has passed this way before you!

❤  🙂 ❤


The authors write in the introduction:

“(this book assists with) . . . the joy of reading stories written in the soil and snow. The fun of nature’s challenge is solving the mysteries written on the trail.”

I highly recommend picking up a copy for your nature library! ~ Karen ;0)


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Winter #58 – Nature Alliteration Adventure

A January treasure quest for you and your curious Capkin

is to search in nature for the

” Sun Shining on the Same Snow Scene Creating

Sparkles & Stretched Shadows

Bonus  Seen at Different Hours of the Day

❤ ❤ ❤

My curious Capkin & I found this treasure to match the description.


What other natural treasures did you find in your P.L.A.Y. today? 🙂


Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase HERE P.L.A.Y. Nature Alliteration Adventure Guide Books