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Shetler, Stanwyn G.

Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1987. 160pp. paper, $12.95. Distributed by Penguin Canada. No ISBN or CIP

Grades 4 and up
Reviewed by Gary Robertson

Volume 15 Number 4
1987 July

The paintings of Robert Bateman have achieved international recognition because of their sensitive, evocative treatment of both wildlife and the environment. This book serves as background to a major retrospective of Bateman's paintings now on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Much of the success of this book lies in the fact that the author is a botanist. Stanwyn Shetler describes the major animal habitats that are depicted in the paintings-forests, tundra, wetlands, deserts, coasts, and grasslands. Though the writing we become aware of harmony and interdependence of animals and environment. The book has sections describing habitats of major mammal and bird species of the world-lion, cheetah, elephant, grizzly, moose, and panda as well as goldfinch, heron, humming bird, and puffin. All these are illustrated in their natural surroundings. The masterful control of light and atmosphere create a natural and yet truly unique vision of the natural world. In combination with the text, the paintings describe the beauty and fragility of our ecosystem. There is an underlying conservationist statement from these two professional naturalists but the strength of the book lies in its beautiful colour reproductions of Robert Bateman's paintings complemented by Shelter's vivid description of the environment in which wildlife is found. This is a recommended book for both the scientist and the artist.

Gary Robertson, Thom C.I., Regina, Sask.
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