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Book Review

March 15, 2012
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‘The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons’

Courtesy of Beaverdale Books

Reviewed by Catherine Rihm

By Amanda Blake Soule with Stephen Soule



$ 19.95

252 pp

Amanda Blake Soule’s new book, “The Rhythm of Family,” is a lovely tribute to both the family and the natural world. Her husband Steve co-authors this third book of hers. Soule is also the author of “The Creative Family” and “Handmade Home,” the popular blog and the editor of Taproot.

“The Rhythm of Family” portrays their family life on their farm in western Maine over the course of one year. They lead us through a calendar of their year, from January through December, to reflect how they embrace the changing seasons and to show us the ways in which the seasons guide their lives and strengthen their family.

Each month begins with a touching reflection from “Mama,” then writings from “Papa.” Sections entitled “Make” provide recipes suited to the seasons such as “Creamy Potato Soup” for January and “Picnic Salads” in June. The “Make” sections also give instructions for inspiring season-appropriate crafts and projects, like a building a terrarium in March or hosting a preserving party in September. “Do” chapters for each month suggest simple activities like camping, animal tracking and picnics. They also provide lists of their favorite books to help further your adventures. Beautiful photographs — including some of their own family — accompany the intimate essays, practical ideas and useful suggestions.

By sharing their personal observations of each of their children, of each other and of the world around them, they thoughtfully describe how paying attention to the changing seasons in turn makes them more aware of themselves and each other and brings them closer together as a family. The two encourage us to turn to nature and notice the rhythm of the natural world in an effort to slow our lives, improve our connection to our children and family, boost our creativity and meaningfully fill our days. CV

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