Wild in the City


32 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 1-895688-33-7
DDC j574.5'268





Illustrations by Jan Thornhill
Reviewed by Ted McGee

Ted McGee is an associate professor of English at St. Jerome’s
College, University of Waterloo.


This important, engaging, and splendidly illustrated exploration of
urban wildlife, spanning 24 hours (from bedtime to bedtime) in the life
of a little girl and her cat, provides glimpses of bats and toads,
sparrows and skunks, squirrels and racoons, and more. By relegating the
bulk of factual information to an appendix of “Nature Notes,”
Thornhill is able to concentrate on observable behavior in the story
proper and thereby maintain the interest of young readers. As in
previous books, Thornhill forecasts on one page the animal to be
featured on the next; further linkages are provided by the appearances
of Jenny’s ubiquitous cat, whose name is also spelled by letters
concealed in each picture.

The vivid illustrations depict the animals as they go about their
business of surviving in the city—a city of tree-lined streets,
colorful gardens, and even more colorful clapboard houses. Information
not provided in the text is there in the pictures, particularly in the
close-ups, such as those of the robin feeding its young or the toad
eating ants. The illustrations go beyond the text, further representing
the activities of some of the people who share Jenny’s neighborhood
with the animals. Highly recommended.


Thornhill, Jan., “Wild in the City,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 29, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/20135.