CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Frederick H. Wooding

Toronto, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, c1982.
272pp, cloth, $34.95.
ISBN 0-07-082973-X.

Grades 7 and up.
Reviewed by Elaine Balpataky.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

Wild Mammals of Canada is an authoritative, informative, readable, and beautifully illustrated book on the wild mammals of Canada and the northern United States.

A fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, the author is known for his many articles on nature and for The Book of Canadian Fishes. The foreword was written by R. Yorke Edwards, director of the B.C. Provincial Museum. The special chapter entitled "Mammal Watching" was written by David R. Gray, associate curator of vertebrate ethology, National Museum of Natural Sciences.

The book is organized into six main sections. Five of these are devoted to individual orders of mammals. The sixth groups four orders together. Within each section mammals are grouped by family and by individual species. Each section and subsection is prefaced by a descriptive essay concerning the order, family, or species. Latin names are given in small type; common names are featured. The descriptions include appearance, habitat, history, population, behaviour, predators, and capacity for survival. Anecdotes and folklore enliven the text. The style is factual but highly readable.

High-quality coloured and black-and-white photographs, as well as drawings, maps, and diagrams accompany the text, the drawings are by Peter Karsten, wildlife artist and director of the Calgary Zoo. Drawings of animal tracks are by Karen Firn Wooding.

A special chapter contains an interesting essay by David Gray entitled "Mammal Watching." It outlines for interested amateurs how they may engage in wildlife observation in their own backyard or in the wilds. In this essay and throughout the book, readers are reminded of the right of all forms of wildlife to exist in their natural state as part of earth's ecosystem.

The book provides an index to mammals, featuring both Latin and common names. Where a name is that of an order or family, this is indicated in brackets. For individual species, common names are given in brackets after Latin names, and vice versa. It also includes an "Index to People, Places and Things" and an extensive bibliography.

Wild Mammals of Canada would be an excellent reference source for environmental science courses dealing with wildlife. It contains recent research and features a number of species difficult to find elsewhere, such as High Arctic species. At the same time, it is an excellent reference source for the student or general reader who wishes to learn more about the mammals around us and why they are worth preserving. Highly recommended.

Elaine Balpataky, Ingersoll D. C. I., Ingersoll, ON.
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