BETHEL – Just in time for Christmas giving, Western Mountains Senior College will sponsor a reading of a new children’s book, “Finding a Friend in the Forest,” by author Dean Bennett of Mt. Vernon, from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the West Parish Congregational Church, Garland Chapel, Church Street.

Bennett wrote and illustrated the book, a true story, which will be available for purchase and autographing following his presentation.

He will also review another children’s book, “Everybody Needs a Hideaway,” and a nonfiction book, “The Wilderness from Chamberlain Farm: A Story of Hope for the American Wild,” both of which he wrote and illustrated for Down East Books.

Bennett was born and raised in Locke Mills. He is a naturalist at heart and spends time exploring the natural history of the New England countryside, gathering material for books, which he photographs, illustrates and writes.

Bennett is a professor emeritus from the University of Maine at Farmington. He holds a master’s degree in science education and a PhD in resource planning and conservation from the University of Michigan with a concentration in environmental education. He also has had training and experience in teaching, commercial cabinet-making and art.

Bennett and his wife, Sheila, are frequent visitors of the north Maine woods and the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, and have produced a natural history guide to the waterway.

The program is free to members of Western Mountains Senior College, who are invited to bring friends interested in joining. For more information, call Jackie Cressy at 824-0508.

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