Awakening Wonder With Cabinet of Curiosities
“When I was about six, I started my first cabinet of curiosities. The first thing I put in it was a skunk’s skull I found in our backyard. The skull fit perfectly in my palm. It had sharp little teeth. I was surprised to notice that it looked like my dogs’, with long, jagged canines on the sides… I put the skull in a red cigar box my dad gave me. The box was made of sturdy cardboard with a hinged lid. I was soon collecting all sorts of things I found outdoors, from old coins to corncobs.” – Gordon Grice, Cabinet of Curiosities
The above excerpt is part of author Gordon Grice’s introduction to Cabinet of Curiosities: Collecting and Understanding the Wonders of the Natural World (public library). Although this book is technically classified as an adult book, it would be a wonderful addition to the library of any child, adolescent, or adult that is inquisitive about the natural world. Cabinet of Curiosities provides basic instruction for where to find a cabinet or how to build your own, the Linnaeus classification process, how to preserve found items, and lots of suggestions of natural items to look for. Teeth, feathers, shells, skulls, flora, and fossils– This books is a visual feast of artifacts from the world around us. Readers can find pictures galore, each page adorned with illustrations and photographs.
It’s a book you can truly grow into. Young kids can flip through these pages and instantly fall into the wonder and curiosities of the natural world. The intricacies of the book such as taxonomy and DIY instruction and application is sure to entertain older children, teens, and adults. Regardless of age, Cabinet of Curiosities will spark wonder and inspiring learning and appreciation about the world in which we live.
If you have the chance to listen to this Science Friday segment about building a cabinet of curiosities it’s interesting to hear the author of Cabinet of Curiosities discuss building a cabinet of curiosities and also learn about what listeners enjoy collecting (space rocks!).
If you and/or yours have read Cabinet of Curiosities and love it, check out Animalium: Welcome to the Museum by Jenny Broom, illustrated by Katie Scott.