The Wilds of Whip-poor-will Farm: True Animal Stories


112 pages
Contains Illustrations
ISBN 0-919872-79-1





Illustrations by Olena Kassian
Reviewed by Adele Ashby

Adele Ashby was the former editor of Canadian Materials for Schools and Libraries.


Well-known naturalist Janet Foster (Wild Country TV specials, several books, and contributions to OWL and Chickadee) and her husband bought an old Ontario farm one fall and built a log cabin. There they spent the winter and following spring, making the acquaintance of the neighbours: Whiskers, Porky, Mrs. Rufus, Mrs. Phoebe, and many more. Whiskers turned out to be Mrs. Whiskers, and her story and that of the other mice who moved into the Fosters’ basement was expanded to a book A Cabin Full of Mice (Greey de Pencier, 1980). Porky, the porcupine, occupied an old barn slated for destruction. Not only was he able to stop the demolition, but he actually managed to get some renovations. Mrs. Rufus, a groundhog, was able to recruit Janet as a baby sitter. Mrs. Phoebe, one of a pair, raised a fine family consisting of five phoebe chicks and one cowbird that grew to twice the size of its foster parents.

The stories are simply told and are illustrated with black-and-white drawings that clearly show the character of each animal. Although many of the antics described are “cute,” none are nauseatingly anthropomorphized, as so often happens in animal stories. For nature lovers of all ages.


Foster, Janet, “The Wilds of Whip-poor-will Farm: True Animal Stories,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 25, 2024,