Every once in a while, The Droning Voice Just. Can’t. Take. It. and cannot bring herself to drone any further in a particular tome. Such is the case with “Frank, the Young Naturalist” (ca. 1864).
That will NOT, however, keep her from writing a review of what she read up to the point of where she couldn’t-stand-it-any-longer.
In her mind, the definition of “naturalist” was more along the lines of this definition:
“A naturalist is any person who studies the natural world. Naturalists make observations of the relationships between organisms and their environments, as well as how those relationships change over time. One of the most well-known examples of a naturalist is Charles Darwin.”
But, in the 1860s, the definition was more along the line of a person who enjoys killing various critters as “sport”, and then using their skills with taxidermy to display dead critters in realistic scenes. Sorta.
The Droning Voice was completely bamboozled by the cover of this book, which caused her to think the story would be more akin to the former definition of “naturalist”, rather than the latter. HOWEVER, any boats mentioned in the book look nothing like what is displayed on the cover, so she wonders what on earth possessed Mr. Castlemon to okay the cover art. Possibly he had no say, and is an innocent victim in this blatant deception. He is NOT an innocent victim of the story, though. The body count of critters is high, and limits on what any hunter/fisherman could harvest were not in place at the time. Clearly. After reading what she did, The Droning Voice is amazed that any wildlife were able to survive the slaughter to reproduce.
The story revolves around a teenager, Frank. who is an ardent naturalist/hunter. The opening chapters go into detail about Frank’s “museum”, which is full of animals Frank has personally dispatched and then used his skills with taxidermy, which seemed to have been formidable, and may have been more realistic in posing them than the current trend of posing a dead raccoon in a canoe. BTW, The Droning Voice located this image doing a quick search on Google, and was quite surprised at the sheer number of raccoons in canoes being offered for sale. This one is for sale on Etsy if you simply MUST own it.
Sorry, The Droning Voice got squirreled by images like the one above. Back to the book, we then explore Frank’s bedroom, in which he keeps not only his carefully maintained gun, but also his hunting apparel, which involves “sheep’s gray pantaloons”. We also learn that Frank was a reader of some person by the name of Bayard Taylor, who was an actual poet and literary critic, and appeared to have quite a following at the time. The Droning Voice will be on the lookout for any volumes of Mr. Bayard Taylor, provided they pass the rigid requirements of The Droning Voice’s, meaning the purchase price is under $5.
Also, she wasn’t certain what Mr. Castlemon meant when he described the boys in the village as “nimrods”. In her diligent research, she found that “Nimrod” was either the name of a mighty hunter OR an idiot. Mr. Castlemon was vague in his usage, leaving the actual definition up to the reader.
The Droning Voice will not be offering this book in drone form, since she doesn’t want to raise the ire of vegetarians/PETA/raccoon fans. If, however, you are interested in purchasing her copy of this book, she might take you up on it.
Besides, she has PLENTY of other selections to help you fall asleep.