Comprehensive Animal Guide – Burgess Animal Book

The Animal Burgess Book for Children was first published in 1920.  After the success of The Burgess Bird Book for Children, Thornton W. Burgess was encouraged to write another volume about the habits and characteristics of North American mammals.  Burgess again used the lively characters from his numerous other stories to create a wonderful narrative full of facts and information about North American wildlife.  The book begins when Peter Rabbit’s curiosity is sparked by Jenny Wren who claims that Peter’s cousin in the South loves to swim.  In disbelief, he seeks out Old Mother West Wind who gives him all the answers he needs through her daily “lessons” with Peter and a host of other creatures.

Teaching Resources

Thornton W. Burgess had a heart for nature and the preservation of it and wanted children to develop a love and understanding for its inhabitants. I’ve put together printable resources for you to help sort out all the information he gives about the various types of animals.  Below you’ll find a link for downloading an animal photo companion guide.

Also, here is an animal organizational chart to help identify the species in their orders and families.

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 Click HERE for your free printable animal guide!


Remember, The Burgess Animal Book was written nearly 100 years ago.  Science and research methods have changed in that time period and some of the information he relates is no longer accurate.  For instance, the order of Insectivora is an abandoned mammal grouping (animals of this order were moved out and the remainder put into a new order called Eulipotyphla).  In other cases, names that used to be common names for a particular animal no longer apply, such as the Banded Lemming, which is now referred to as the Northern Collared Lemming.

Below you’ll find links to more pages that provide a complete list of all the animals Old Mother West Wind teaches about, including coloring pages of the animals (if available). This list was created by my own study and research.  If you notice anything that is incorrect, please contact me so I can update the information!  I’m no scientist, just a mother with the same love of nature and animals to pass on to younger generations.

I have separated the animals into smaller groups first, then you’ll see a list of each specific animal mentioned in the Animal Book.  The animals are categorized by their scientific family to help see how they are related to each other.

For a simpler version of animal characters, please visit my other page which lists the more popular animals in the Burgess series, most of which have their own dedicated book.