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A Walk in the Animal Kingdom: Essays on Animals Wild and Tame (The Wonders of Nature) Paperback – July 1, 2015
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ANIMALS ARE EVERYWHERE IN OUR LIVES. We follow them into the wild, we invite them into our homes, they inhabit our dreams, mythologies, folklores, and popular cultures. What is this powerful bond? Why are we so fascinated with animals of every kind? And why has our relationship with them always been riddled with such complexity and contradiction?
A Walk in the Animal Kingdom explores the world of animals with the inquisitiveness, depth, and gentle humor that readers across the globe have come to expect from the acclaimed author-artist team of Jerry Dennis and Glenn Wolff. The book is an inquiry into animals of the world, their astonishing diversity and abundance; their mating habits, defensive strategies, and other behaviors; their extraordinary senses of sight, hearing, and smell. It is also an exploration of our profound connection with them, from the joys they inspire and the fears they arouse, to their prominence in our lives as pets, team mascots, and embodiments of wild nature—and the paradox that allows us to battle to protect certain species while ignoring others that are disappearing at a rate perhaps unequaled in the history of our planet.
Like the previous collaborations of Dennis and Wolff, A Walk in the Animal Kingdom is certain to become a classic among books about nature—its wonders, its complexities, and our place in it.
“This writer-artist team shines a bright and lovely light on nature.” —Los Angeles Times
“Charming…informative…humorous…This wonderfully illustrated book will make heroes of parents and teachers, who will be able to explain nature's magic and the superstitions surrounding it." —El Paso Times
"Vastly entertaining, valuable… Makes natural history so much fun the reader is sucked from paragraph to paragraph, page to page, chapter to chapter.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A perfect choice for adults and kids alike who want to discover more about how the world is put together… entertaining and fact-filled.” —Houston Post
“As leaves fall and the sky becomes more noticeable, you’re likely to look towards the heavens and wonder at their mysteries…Author Jerry Dennis and illustrator Glenn Wolff address the questions with intelligence, wit and artistry.” —Atlanta Constitution
"A delightful book, both readable and informative—like the best of Hal Borland and Edwin Way Teale…You've many hours of pleasure waiting with It's Raining Frogs and Fishes." —Richmond Times-Dispatch
"With text that mesmerizes, drawings that enchant…this book calls you to hold it open before you." —The Oakland Press
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About the Author
Jerry Dennis's books, including the national bestsellers It's Raining Frogs and Fishes and The Living Great Lakes, have won numerous awards, have been translated into six languages, and are beloved by readers around the world. His essays on nature and the outdoors have appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon, Orion, and many other publications. Visit him at www.jerrydennis.net.
Glenn Wolff has illustrated more than 30 books, as well as hundreds of articles and essays in such publications as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Village Voice, Audubon, and Wildlife Conservation Magazine. His mixed-media fine art has been exhibited throughout the U.S. and Canada and is included in many private and public collections. More on his work can be found at www.glennwolff.com.
- Publisher : DCA, Inc.; 1st edition (July 1, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 264 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1940941695
- ISBN-13 : 978-1940941691
- Item Weight : 13.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.66 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,922,465 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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ESSAYS ON ANIMALS WILD AND TAME,
Written by Jerry Dennis and Illustrated by Glenn Wolff
Big Maple Press, 2015
Review by Robert Van Dellen, Ph.D., July, 2015
Now comes the quixotic, eclectic, engaging, and enlightening publication,
A Walk in the Animal Kingdom: Essays on Animals Wild and Tame, written by
Jerry Dennis and illustrated by Glenn Wolff (Big Maple Press, 2015). This is the third in a series of books in the “Wonders of Nature Series.” The first two are It’s Raining Frogs and Fishes and The Bird in the Waterfall. All three are charming, insightful, and well worth the read. Jerry Dennis’ easy-going, colloquial, friendly style, packed with incredible information, full of wit and wisdom, and infused with obscure, researched data, stands alone to make this book fun, funny, and very informative. Glenn Wolfe’s masterful, delightful, quizzical illustrations complete this book with artistic grace. The book is mesmerizing, and it will surely join others as a classic exploration into the wonders, complexities, and value of nature. Not overtly a treatise on the environment, one cannot read and view this book without gaining a renewed appreciation of and for our natural world and the call to protect, preserve, understand, and cherish it.
Although I have not personally met Dennis or Wolff, reading this book makes one feel as if they are friends, living down a country road and sharing a fine meal, glass of wine, delightful conversation, or walking along the shores of Lake Michigan. Actually, my wife and I have an original Wolff painting in our family room and also have his remarkable poster commemorating Sleeping Bear National Seashore. My wife recently took his sketchbook class in Traverse City. We live only fifty miles south of Traverse City and visit the area frequently. We know the beautiful landscape. Likewise, having read other books by Dennis adds to this feeling of familiarity. All of his books are well worth the read, and all of them have this friendly, engaging, very humane style. The fact that he includes his children and wife in this book enhances this characteristic. Indeed, they are friends.
In the fine tradition of Thoreau, Sigurd Olson, Doug Peacock, Rick Bass, and many others, this book, like the others by Dennis, joins the annuals of fine “Nature Literature.” This is not a scholarly book. There are no footnotes, annotations, or bibliographic sources listed. Nevertheless, it is packed with scholarly information and references many previous studies from which it gets amazing facts and myths, from field guides to biological dissertations, from histories to Pliny. For example, we learn that there are more than 40,000 species of spiders, that shrews are ecologically shrewd, as are coyotes, and about the phenomenon of starling murmurations.
The book appropriately ends with a quotation from the ancient Pliny: “In the contemplation of nature, nothing can possibly be deemed superfluous.” Dennis concludes that Pliny’s world, like our own, “is overflowing with wonders, both great and small, where everything is interesting and nothing is inconceivable.” Dennis and Wolff bring these wonders to life. They give us, like Whitman and Frost, reasons to celebrate the miracles of life. Read A Walk in the Animal Kingdom and you too will become friends with Dennis and Wolff. You will thank them, as do I, for taking you on this wonderful journey.
This is a terrific book. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn something about our natural world.