CM . . .
. Volume XVI Number 3. . . .September 18, 2009
The subtitle, Canadian Wildlife in Fact and Fiction, targets the approach used to describe the 10 animal groups in this fascinating book. Through a blend of the most interesting life cycle facts (did you know ‘salmon’ means ‘to leap’ in Latin, or that owls have more feathers than most birds?) with original adaptations of old stories, many from the oral tradition of a culture, Swanson shows each animal from several perspectives. It is especially intriguing to note that the stories come from various world locations, showing that many cultures share them: e.g. Norway, Sweden and Canada all have a tale that explains how bears got short tails. The stories are a mix of well-known legends, such as that of Romulus and Remus being raised by wolves, and some that may not be so familiar: why burrowing owls have spots, why whales blow clouds.
Each chapter concludes with a brief paragraph describing the effects of animal and human interactions and what efforts are being made to protect the animals in their habitats. Species include eagles, ravens, beavers, salmon, seals, bats, among others.
Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer living in BC..
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