Refreshingly written, delightfully illustrated book remarks expansively on the resourcefulness of early Americans in their use of this valuable commodity - from the crafting of furniture, tools, and buildings to the use of such by-products as charcoal and medicine. "One of Sloane's best books." -Library Journal.
As always, I love Sloane's appreciation for the past and longing for simplicity. One of my favorite parts is when Sloane talks about the old barn door he uses for a kitchen table because he loves the wood so much. He talks about sitting at his table, eating breakfast, and musing over all the stories the wood could tell. The scratches near the latch where a farmer must have lit a match for a pipe, the scratches of a dog jumping on the door, the nail where a wreath may have hung. It reminded me of an old table I got at a thrift store. It obviously belonged to a family with children. The wood was soft, so there were indentations from math homework done at the tables, names written on the table, and some other things. It had a lot of character and I often spend my meals wondering about the family that had previously owned the table. I very much relate to the pleasure Sloane finds in reflecting on the history of particular objects and imagining all the people who have either played a role in creating the object, or used it in one way or another.
I really like Sloane's illustrations too. They helped me understand how charcoal is made, how to identify some trees, and how a birch bark canoe is made.
Some parts were a little tedious, so it wasn't my favorite Sloane book, but still worth a read.