Quill and Quire


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Book Reviews


by Wayne Lynch, Sherry Neidigh, illus.

The newest additions to NorthWord Press’s Our Wild World series – now topping 30 titles, ranging from alligators to wolves – focus on three well-known birds of prey. For this group of titles, Calgary author Wayne Lynch provides the text and the full-colour photographs, while Sherry Neidigh of Charlotte, North Carolina, provides occasional illustrations.

Each Our Wild World book is a short dash through the basic facts on a chosen animal, touching briefly on all the standard subjects of species variety, habitat, mating, eating, and so on. Each ends with a quick plea for conservation, a list of websites for further research (no books though), and a spare index. NorthWord is an American press, so most of the geographic references are kept within Canada and the U.S. Measurements are given in imperial units, with metric equivalents in brackets.

Lynch’s often beautiful photographs are the biggest attraction in all three books. Unfortunately, they tend to overwhelm the text, reducing it at times to mere commentary on the images. Adding to this effect is the complete lack of subject headings or other divisions in the text. Sherry Neidigh’s few semi-realistic watercolour illustrations seem flat and out of place amid all the photography.

For a multi-title animal series such as this one, there is some wisdom in keeping individual titles somewhat similar, but the Our Wild World Series takes this a little too far. Lynch recycles whole paragraphs for each of the three books, changing the details as needed. As well, the layout for the books is uniformly dull and static, making it harder for the information to stick. Any library looking for an animal series for beginners could do a lot better.