Apr 6, 2015

Through the Eyes of a Young Naturalist

by William S. Sipple

I thought I would love this book. Maybe it was just hard to appreciate, right on the heels of My Family and Other Animals. It's an autobiographical work, the author describing how he explored the woods as a boy, his fishing trips and trapping exploits, his later bird-watching activities and work in local conservation efforts (Maryland wetlands). Unfortunately, it's not very engaging. The writing is very straightforward, descriptive but in a flat style that was frankly rather boring- we saw this bird, we hiking up this hill, we visited this pond, we wondered whose tracks those were oh and now I know they were this animal etc etc. It's the kind of book you might like if you knew the author personally, but otherwise not really. There are a few awkward aspects to it that make me wonder if it's self-published. Although the physical book itself is of good quality paper and materials, the illustrations are unpolished and look copied straight from photographs- then reading the flyleaf I learned (not too surprised) they were done by a student. The flyleaf doesn't tell you what the book is about in an interesting manner, but instead lists the author's credentials. And through the entire book, words which I'd expect to see in italics, are instead all underlined- book and article titles, species names, birdcalls written phonetically. It made the reading a bit jarring. I ended up skimming a lot, to see if the actual incidents described (instead of just mentioning all the animals he saw and places he went) were worth reading, but they weren't enough to keep me going so I didn't finish the book.

Abandoned     204 pages, 1991

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