Gateway to the Classics: The Burgess Flower Book for Children by Thornton W. Burgess
The Burgess Flower Book for Children by  Thornton W. Burgess

Front Matter


To the awakening in children of love for our wild flowers and the desire to preserve them in their native habitats for the beauty and joy they give to the world this book is dedicated

T HIS book is offered as a companion volume to the Burgess Bird Book for Children and the Burgess Animal Book for Children. It is intended solely as an introduction for the youngest readers to the fascinating flower world. It makes no pretense to being a botany, or even a general hand book on flowers. Its purpose is to awaken and stimulate an interest in our wild flowers which may lead to a desire to know more about them and to seek such information in the many excellent books now available.

Because of the story method of treatment, and also because of the limited vocabulary of the little child, the use of scientific names and even the names of most of the parts of plants and flowers, save in the appendix for older people, has been avoided. This necessarily prevents that accuracy of description which the adult may desire. The vast number of flowers, which is America's rich heritage, makes it impossible to describe within the confines of a volume of this size more than a limited number. No small part of the task was the selection of the flowers to be included. Most of them were chosen because of their wide distribution. For the most part, only the commoner flowers, those most likely to be encountered in walks in field, meadow and woodland, have been chosen. A few of the rarer ones have been included because of their beauty, and the hope that the desire to find these may act as a stimulant to interest.

Peter Rabbit lives very close to the flowers. Peter is the beloved friend of childhood. Therefore Peter has been chosen as the guide for the little folk. If what Peter has discovered is not clearly told in the text I hope that the illustrations will enable the readers to make sure of identification. For the excellent photographs from which these illustrations were made I am indebted to Mr. L. W. Brownell, Mr. Henry Troth, the J. Horace McFarland Co. and The A. B. Morse Co., and to Miss C. M. Green for her careful work in coloring these photographs. I am also indebted to Mrs. Elizabeth G. Britton of the New York Botanical Garden for identification of the photographs, to Mr. Percy Wilson, Associate Curator of the New York Botanical Garden, for final review of the color engraving, and to Dr. G. Clyde Fisher of the American Museum of Natural History for critical reading of the manuscript and verification of scientific names. For the hearty cooperation and good will of these I herewith acknowledge my indebtedness and appreciation.

In the use of scientific names and in family-names Gray's Manual has been followed throughout. Names in parenthesis are preferred and in common use by many botanists.

It is my earnest hope that at least some children will be led to that interest in our wild flowers which must develop into a love for them, and that through this love will be aroused a desire to protect them. Many species are in serious danger of becoming extinct because of the ruthless picking of the blossoms and tearing up of the roots by the thoughtless.

The Author

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