Picture of author.

Thornton W. Burgess (1874–1965)

Author of The Burgess Bird Book for Children

315+ Works 22,939 Members 78 Reviews 12 Favorited

About the Author

Thornton Waldo Burgess was born in Sandwich on January 14, 1874. Burgess graduated from Sandwich High School in 1891, and went on to attend a Business College in Boston from 1892-93. At the age of 17, Burgess briefly lived in Boston and then moved to Springfield, Massachusetts. He bought a place in show more Hampden, Massachusetts in 1925 and made it his permanent home in 1957. He published his first book, Old Mother West Wind, in 1910 Burgess was a naturalist and conservationist, and loved loved nature and its living creatures so much that he wrote about them for 50 years. By the time he retired, he had written more than 170 books and 15,000 stories for daily columns in newspapers. Burgess was also actively involved with conservation efforts. Some of his projects over his lifetime included: The Green Meadow Club for land conservation programs. The Bedtime Stories Club for wildlife protection programs, the Happy Jack Squirrel Saving Club for War Savings Stamps & Bonds, the Radio Nature League broadcast from WBZA Springfield, MA., as well as helping to pass laws protecting migrant wildlife. For his efforts, an Honorary Literary Degree was bestowed upon Burgess in 1938 from Northeastern University. The Boston Museum of Science awarded him a gold medal for "leading children down the path to the wide wonderful world of the outdoors." He was also awarded the distinguished Service Medal of the Permanent Wildlife Protection Fund. In 1960, Burgess published his last book, Now I Remember, an autobiography. That same year, Burgess at the age of 83, had published his 15,000th story. From 1912 to 1960, without interruption, Burgess wrote a syndicated daily newspaper column titled "Bedtime Stories". Thornton Burgess died June 5, 1965, at the age of 91. The Thornton W. Burgess Society was incorporated in 1976. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Chicago Daily News negatives collection, DN-0003451. Courtesy of Chicago History Museum.


Works by Thornton W. Burgess

Old Mother West Wind (1910) 1,085 copies
The Adventures of Reddy Fox (1913) 992 copies
The Adventures of Bobby Coon (1918) 571 copies
Mother West Wind's Children (1911) 526 copies
Blacky the Crow (1922) 459 copies
Mother West Wind's Neighbors (1913) 396 copies
The Adventures of Sammy Jay (1915) 384 copies
Mrs. Peter Rabbit (1919) 316 copies
The Adventures of Happy Jack (1918) 303 copies
The Adventures of Mr. Mocker (1914) 289 copies
Old Granny Fox (1920) 219 copies
Bowser the Hound (1920) 213 copies
The Adventures of Bob White (1919) 199 copies
Whitefoot the Wood Mouse (1922) 197 copies
Billy Mink (1924) 104 copies
The Adventures of Longlegs the Heron (1927) — Author — 65 copies
The Dear Old Briar-Patch (1947) 52 copies
Tommy and the Wishing Stone (1915) 52 copies
The Littlest Christmas Tree (1954) 43 copies
Dandelion Library: Bedtime Stories / The Pony Engine (1958) — Contributor — 42 copies
Big Book of Animal Stories (2011) 35 copies
At Paddy the Beaver's Pond (1950) 34 copies
Animal Tales (1990) 31 copies
Favorite Tales (1942) 28 copies
Little Peter Cottontail (1956) 27 copies
Paddy's Surprise Visitor (1940) 19 copies
The Christmas Reindeer (1926) 16 copies
Tommy's Change of Heart (1921) 14 copies
Tommy's Wishes Come True (1915) 13 copies
A Robber Meets His Match (1940) 13 copies
At the Smiling Pool (1945) 13 copies
A Merry Coasting Party (1940) 12 copies
Young Flash the Deer (1940) 12 copies
Bobby Coon's Mistake (1940) 11 copies
Stories Around the Year (1955) 10 copies
While the Story-Log Burns (1938) 10 copies
Along Laughing Brook (1949) 9 copies
Peter Rabbit plays a joke (1953) 9 copies
The Three Little Bears (1940) 9 copies
Birds You Should Know (1933) 7 copies
Baby Animal Stories (1949) 6 copies
Little Chuck's Adventure (1942) 5 copies
The Wishing-Stone Stories (1935) 5 copies
Frightened Baby (1927) 4 copies
Milk and Honey (1927) 4 copies
A Woe-Begone Little Bear (1927) 4 copies
An Imp of Mischief (1927) 3 copies
Nature Almanac 3 copies
Peter Rabbit Puts on Airs (1914) 3 copies
Baby Possum Has a Scare (1912) 3 copies
Cubby Finds an Open Door (1927) 3 copies
Peter Cottontail Mazes (1999) 2 copies
Unc' Billy Possum (1953) 2 copies
Stories for Bedtime (1986) 2 copies
Animal Pictures 2 copies
Happy Jack's Thrift Club (1918) 2 copies
The Feast at the Big Rock (1914) 2 copies
The Book of Animal Life (1937) 2 copies
Cubby Gets a Bath (1927) 2 copies
Animal Folk 1 copy
Neighbors 1 copy
Happy Jacks 1 copy
Bride's Primer (1905) 1 copy
Meet Peter Cottontail (2000) 1 copy
Green Forest Stories (2022) 1 copy

Associated Works


Ambleside (80) animal (73) animal fiction (52) animal stories (458) animals (975) anthropomorphism (95) AO1 (51) birds (185) Burgess (210) chapter book (208) children (456) children's (693) children's books (86) children's fiction (231) children's literature (214) classic (63) classics (104) ebook (66) elementary (74) fantasy (65) fiction (982) forest (91) juvenile (130) juvenile fiction (127) kids (63) Kindle (107) literature (103) natural history (118) nature (480) nature stories (51) nature study (291) own (68) rabbits (60) science (318) series (110) short stories (83) talking animals (127) Thornton Burgess (84) to-read (153) vintage (55)

Common Knowledge



Month of January 2022: Young Reader’s Classics

Not listed in the Accelerated Reader’s Program (ages 8-14 yrs, 2nd-8th grade)
A children’s classic originally published in 1922.

Thornton Burgess grew up in Sandwich, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where he spent his time exploring around the water and woods and fell in love with nature. He started telling these stories to his one and only son. Then, he began a daily column in the New York Tribune. Finally, they were published in book form. His first novel, “Old Mother West Wind”, was published in 1910. They are stories that teach.

After reading this adventure story, kids will love envisioning what the crows may be thinking and doing next time they are out playing in the woods and hear them cawing. Burgess combines real characteristics of the crows behaviors with teachable moments for children…and the child may not even realize they are being taught because it’s the animals talking.

Blacky the Crow has two adventures. First, he has to decide just how important it is to satisfy his hunger for a couple of owl eggs. Does he risk his life and the lives of his friends? Second, is it worth risking his own life to warn his duck friends of the hunter who is hiding out nearby and coercing them into the area by putting out corn every morning, giving them a false sense of security?

I loved it! This would be a really good bedtime story to read to your young kids. Maybe a chapter or two a night. I’m thinking my two young hunter grandsons would love this. They have very imaginative minds. But I don’t think it will turn them off from deer hunting in the least. They love it too much.


Can be downloaded for free to your Kindle or read online at Project Gutenberg:
… (more)
MissysBookshelf | 1 other review | Aug 27, 2023 |
An interesting autobiographical account by Burgess of his life and career, which was far more varied than I understood. Very enjoyable.
JBD1 | Jun 25, 2023 |
The Adventures of Peter Cottontail and His Green Forest Friends comprises three classic Thornton W. Burgess books from the early twentieth century: [b:The Adventures of Reddy Fox|752997|The Adventures of Reddy Fox|Thornton W. Burgess|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1348999595s/752997.jpg|739124] (1913), [b:The Adventures of Peter Cottontail|753035|The Adventures of Peter Cottontail|Thornton W. Burgess|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328868136s/753035.jpg|1790581] (1914), and [b:The Adventures of Grandfather Frog|8806|The Adventures of Grandfather Frog|Thornton W. Burgess|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328868312s/8806.jpg|1027514] (1915). Each of those books, in turn, is a collection of stories starring the animals of the Green Forest and its surrounding area. Although each book focuses on a different main character, the general cast of characters is the same throughout. The stories are accompanied by vintage black-and-white illustrations, six per character book for a total of 18 illustrations throughout the collection.

My digital copy had a page count of only 185, but that's a deceptive number that doesn't accurately reflect the true length of the book. It's more akin to a 300 page book, with each of the three segments equating to roughly 100 pages. The shorter format of the individual stories makes them ideal for bedtime reading; the heft of the collection ensures bedtime stories for at least a few weeks.

The animals' antics are amusing and will have kids wondering what the animals in their own gardens and woods might be up to. As with most classic stories, there are some lessons to be learned as well, including to be careful, to listen to your elders, and to not show off or be full of yourself.

Note: I received a digital copy of this book through NetGalley.
… (more)
fernandie | 1 other review | Sep 15, 2022 |



You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Charts & Graphs