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Hummel, Monte.

Toronto, Key Porter Books, c1984. 160pp, cloth, $29.95, ISBN 0-919493-49-1. CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by Robin Lewis

Volume 13 Number 2
1985 March

Over a dozen fine photographers have contributed to this 24cm x 30 cm volume. The sheer size of a full or double page adds to the impact of a fine picture, be it of a hundred blubbery walrus cuddled together, or of a million spindly spruce trees, widely-spaced in a toothpick forest.

Several types of whales and seals are shown. The rabbits, bear, fox, and moose are beautifully portrayed. Cariboo feeding on the green tundra is unusual, but it is the cariboo fording a cold arctic river that stabs at my emotions. An association with the Caniapiscau disaster? Fine photography? Or both?

The panoramic landscapes show the Immensity and grandeur of the north; the close-ups illustrate the detail and fragility of its life forms. The drama of gooey goslings struggling out of their shattered egg shells almost gives the impression of a motion picture. The book's bird pictures upstage all else. They are touted as the finest collection of nesting shore bird photos ever assembled. Certainly they alone are worth the purchase price of the book.

Styles in photography change with time and editors. Manuals for specialists will usually put backgrounds off focus in order to emphasize small distinctions between like species. In this book, written for laymen, the habitat is often an integral part of the picture. The unity and beauty of the whole environment is presented, which emphasizes the conservationist theme.

In the brief textual sections, Hummel gives coherence and purpose to the diverse collection of plant, mammal and bird photographs, and raises the ecological concerns in which he is so sincerely interested.

Robin Lewis, Riverdale H.S., Pierrefonds, Que.
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