May 26, 2008

Animals of the North

by William O. Pruitt

This one was rather disappointing. I picked it up randomly from The Book Thing several months ago. I read it to compare to Icebound Summer, since it describes different animal life of the northern region: red squirrel, arctic hare, arctic wolf, caribou, moose, lynx, etc. At first I enjoyed the writing more; the descriptions of the foreign, ice-clad landscape were easier for me to picture in my mind. (Despite the constant use of several Eskimo terms for "snow" which kept confusing me). Animals of the North concerns itself a lot with ecology and the upset humans have caused in Alaskan wildlife. Its information feels a bit outdated, sometimes preachy, and perhaps intended for a juvenile audience. After about 100 pages my interest really began to flag, and I just skimmed the last 70.

This book has also been published under the title Wild Harmonies. The flyleaf says that it "will delight readers of Lois Crisler's Arctic Wild" and that the author's "original and gripping dramatizations of [the] animals will make the book a classic." I think it failed on those points. I love Crisler's books, which are much better written. It doesn't compare. And I hardly believe Animals of the North even approaches being a classic. I'd never heard of it before, and can only find one other opinion of it online, this brief review on Amazon (by someone who appreciated the book better than I).

Abandoned                 173 pages, 1960

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