So, instead of being filed away in the archives of some obscure learned society, a part of Haven's diaries has been opened to the world. The world appreciates a man who walks about it with his eyes wide open. Haven even recorded signs that met his eye along the way, as this one in front of a hotel did: "$3 for strangers, $1.50 for old customers." If he is an amateur naturalist, so much the better. From the "parochial history" of Gilbert White (a curate) to that account of housekeeping on Walden Pond by Thoreau (a pencil manufacturer), readers have treasured natural histories which somehow prove too broad to slide into the tomb of a researcher's filing drawer.
Haven's curiosity never flags. He reports that "Judge McLaughlin counted 3160 calls of a Whip-poor-will the other night." He records the going price for fox and raccoon skins, as well as the habits of the razor clam and the technique of fishing for smelts. There are, as in every interesting diary, bits of gossip: "Old Chief Metallac's wife died during the winter. They claim that he smoked her over a fire and kept her until spring."
If he came across neither the meanness nor the sublimity which Thoreau sought in the woods, Herb Haven found in the Maine outdoors "pasture enough" for his imagination. And perhaps, like White, he has induced his readers "to pay more ready attention to the wonders of the Creation."
—FRANK GRAHAM JR.