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Letters From Eden: A Year at Home, in the Woods Hardcover – October 4, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (October 4, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618573089
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618573080
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #475,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Zickefoose finds [a connection with nature] often and documents it in words and paintings in her beautiful new book.
Cleveland Plain Dealer

About the Author

Julie Zickefoose began illustrating natural history subjects as a college freshman in 1976. Since then, her writing has been featured in Bird Watcher's Digest, on NPR's All Things Considered, and her book of illustrated essays Letters from Eden.

Sy Montgomery is an author, naturalist, newspaper columnist, scriptwriter, and radio commentator who writes award-winning books for children as well as adults. She lives in Hancock, New Hampshire. Visit her website at symontgomery.com.
     Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop won the Sibert Medal in 2011 for their collaborative work on Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot, another Scientist in the Field title.  

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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See all 35 customer reviews
This is a book we will keep as long as we can read.
Robert M. Howard
If you buy this book as a gift for someone, be sure to buy a second copy for yourself, because it will be hard to part with it once it is in your hands.
Tree sparrow
This is a lovely book with beautiful illustrations painted or sketched by the author.
Kat Woman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Janet M. Wilson on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The stories in Letters from Eden are a shimmering blend of humor and heartbreak as the author shares the gifts, loss and lessons that come from an intimate relationship with nature. I find myself savoring each story and taking time to digest each one. The writing is exquisite, the field drawings are a treat, and the watercolors express the vibrancy of the life they portray. I love this book!
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Barney Considine on January 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
To give this book five stars is a bit risky. It has a minor flaw or two. It raises the question of what a person can do when Julie Zickefoose writes an even better book. However, this book goes straight to a bird lover's heart. Readers of Bird Watcher's Digest have long enjoyed Zickefoose's essays and paintings. This collection of essays reminds us that she is one of the best nature writers publishing today.

Almost every emotion finds its way into "Letters from Eden." There is the expectation, discovery, and excitement of going with Julie on her walks through the southern Ohio forest. The walks can also provide a quiet time. There is the humor of the essay on bullfrogs or Julie poking fun at herself because she wants some chickens. There is loss as human thoughtlessness harms an animal or bird. There is tenderness as Julie, ever the rehabilitator, nurses birds and animals to the point of releasing them into the wild. There is wonder as various wild things demonstrate intelligence beyond what humans normally expect of them. Raising young children in an area where there are copperhead snakes can lend a touch of terror. That is counterbalanced by Julie's faith in all things natural. Not least among the emotions is the reader's enjoyment in these delightful narratives.

Then again, there is always balance in Julie's stories. She recognizes that predators must eat, even when it means the death of a loved bird. Weedy brush from foreign soil tries to overrun everything but provides needed shelter for wildlife. House sparrows introduced from England are a threat to native species but Julie notes that it is through no fault of their own.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Swami on October 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Seldom does one person serve as both writer and illustrator of a book. Julie Zickefoose proves that she is adept at both. She paints with brush and pen (or keyboard) pictures of what life can, and should, be like if we only take the time to appreciate it. Her 80 acres seem even larger, for all that occurs on them.

After reading her book it will be the rare person who will not look at the world around them more carefully and enjoy it more fully. While she is no swami, she imbues her words with magic.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By KatDoc on January 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Emile Zola wrote, "The artist is nothing without the gift, but the gift is nothing without work." In Julie Zickefoose?s book "Letters From Eden," you will find both. The gift shines from every page, in her glowing watercolors, in her lyrical prose, and in her obvious passion for the natural world around her. The work is evident in her field notes and pencil sketches, and in the tales she tells. The effort she exerts when protecting nesting piping plovers on a busy beach along the Connecticut coastline, climbing ladders to replace baby birds in their nests, or rehabilitating box turtles is demanding. If you would ask Julie however, she would not call this work, but a way of life, her life in the little piece of Ohio she calls Eden.

Come along with her as she shares her discoveries during a walk in the woods, or celebrates spring with tree swallows playing with feathers, or grieves for an opossum found dying in a trap. From the hilarious to the tragic, with the drama of a poisonous snake thrown in, "Letters From Eden" strikes just the right chord. Anyone with an interest in nature will feel right at home with this book. I know I did.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 30, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Being a long time subscriber and reader of Bird Watcher's Digest, I was quite familiar with the art and writing of Julie Zickefoose. I pretty well knew what I was getting when I ordered this book. I am also an avid fan of the art of essay writing, a fanatical birder and armature naturalist. I have for years, been a reader and admirer of the writings of Edwin Way Teale, a sort of natural history literary God for me, and a rather obsessive reader of Thoreau, in particular his observations concerning the natural world around him.

Now there are several aspects of this volume that I find delightful, exciting and gratifying. First, Ms. Zickefoose is simply a better writer than Teale was, and there is no doubt in my mind that her knowledge has far exceeded his. As to Thoreau; I suppose taste comes into play here and while I always have and always will consider him one of the greats, I must admit that it is refreshing to read a series of natural history essays without having to plow through various social and political rants on every other page. Then there is the artistic aspect. This woman can draw and she can paint! In particular her bird and plant renderings can hold their own against anyone in the business today. Each plate, each picture is an absolute delight to the eye. I will gladly throw rocks at anyone who calls her a "mere illustrator" and not a true artist. Another, and probably the most important aspect of this work that has so impressed me is the author's absolute passion for the subjects she writes of. This passion simply drips, in a very good way, from almost ever well constructed sentence. I love it when people truly feel and feel strongly.

This is a series of natural history essays written at and about her home place in Ohio.
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