BOOK REVIEW: The Star in the Sycamore: Discovering Nature’s Hidden Virtues in the Wild Nearby by Tom Springer

Title: The Star in the Sycamore: Discovering Nature’s Hidden Virtues in the Wild Nearby
Author: Tom Springer
Publication: June 11, 2020
Publisher: Mission Point Press
Genre: Non-Fiction, Nature
Pages: 318

SYNOPSIS: (From Amazon)

For Tom Springer, the usual four seasons can’t begin to describe the mini-solstices of a Midwestern year: “Does summer really begin on June 21? No, the first ripe Michigan strawberries say summer to me … just as a sumac that flames crimson in an August fencerow sends up the first semaphore flag of autumn. While these milestones aren’t measured by celestial reckoning, learning to know and observe them can greatly enrich a life.”

The Star in the Sycamore takes readers on a journey of rare insight and local discovery. In the ecstasy of a dusk feeding frenzy, Springer catches a slew of fat bass and toothsome pike in “a little river gone wild in the city.” In his love for country dogs, un-pampered on their beds of barn straw, he sees an ancient link to musky, wild pleasures that “fur babies” will never know. In his quest to learn dozens of star constellations, he reveals a striking connection between stars, trees and souls.

Along the way, he meets people forever changed and healed by wildness. A combat soldier on a flight home, whose agitated demeanor grows calm and joyful as he describes an upcoming leave in the north woods. A burned-out nonprofit executive who becomes a native plant herbalist to cure herself and then the bodies and psyches of others. Through it all, Springer weaves humor, grace and a luminous sense of the ordinary.


When I saw that the author had written another book, I literally squealed with delight and asked where I could purchase this book.  I have been waiting and waiting for the author to write a second book…12 years to be exact.  I promptly went to Amazon and bought the book and then patiently waited longer than I should have for it to come in the mail.  When it did I dropped everything and started it that very day.  

Okay, a moment of honesty guys…the author is actually my Uncle. As I said above I have been waiting 12 long years for this long-awaited second book.   I will certainly try to not be biased in my review but I cannot promise anything.  This book was abolsutly amazing.  I didn’t want to put it down, I kept sneak reading during the day, which I haven’t done to a book in ages.  This book isn’t a book with a storyline so if that is what you are looking for this isn’t it. Instead, it is a collection of essays and stories that he has collected over the years.  The book is broken down by seasons and the stories in each of the sections have a title and usually pertain to the season that they fall in.  Each of the stories has a moral or a lesson to them and it’s usually from nature.  Be it from the uncontrolled grass fire that he started while burning years worth of debris from his yard or the mammoth fish that he caught in a defunct damn in Three Rivers.

While some of these stories I have heard before or read in various magazines that he has written for they still made me laugh just as hard as before.  What I didn’t count on, was him making me cry.  The story about my Grandfather passing and him putting his dog Mel Mel down just struck a cord and I cried.  So be forewarned you may need tissues.  The way that he writes is very thought provoking and on several occastion made me think about what he was writing about in a whole new way.  He writes to the people’s people.  It isn’t condicending and its relatable on so many levels.  I will honestly say that this book did get me out of a book funk that I was in, and I am just not saying that because he is my uncle.  I couldn’t get into anything and if I did read a book I was totally putting my heart into reading it.  This book made me giggle and I think that help.  So go out and get your copy today and enjoy!


Pick up you copy of The Star in the Sycamore by Tom Springer on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or request it from your local bookstore. Also make sure to add it to your To Reads list on Goodreads and leave feedback for the author when you are finished.

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