North with the Spring, by Edwin Way Teale. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 358 pp. $8.95

Despite some signs of aging, this book and the rest of Teale's American Seasons Series, of which it is a part, stand as classics of American nature writing. All four volumes, including ''Journey Into Summer,'' ''Autumn Across America,'' and ''Wandering Through Winter'' have recently been reissued in paperback.

Over 30 years ago, in mid-February, Teale and his wife, Nellie, packed a car with a few suitcases and lots of naturalist's gear and followed the spring as it crept north across America. The Teales planned their trip with great care, to arrive at each destination in time for the most interesting natural phenomena.

Some things have changed greatly since the series was written. Destruction of wildlife habitats has pushed many more species to the brink of extinction. A few other species may have been saved.

Recommended: Default

Teale's prose seems rather pedestrian now beside the more lyrical and more meditative nature writing of Peter Matthiessen and Annie Dillard. Yet his American Seasons books were conceived on a classic idea and remain treasures of sensitive observation.

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