A Field Guide to Nearby Nature: Fields and Woods of the Midwest and East Coast


144 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55041-173-X
DDC 574.977




Reviewed by Patrick Colgan

Patrick Colgan is associate director of programs at the Canadian Museum
of Nature.


Exploration and appreciation of nature can be greatly assisted by
suitable guides, and to this end, naturalist Peggy Kochanoff has written
and sketched a primer of 107 common species of animals and plants.

A brief introduction explains the purpose of the book, and the
inclusion of Latin binomials gives further information. The bulk of the
book is dedicated to descriptions of the species, to which additional
material is usefully added on such topics as tracks and scats, nests,
clues (e.g., nibbled branches), winter survival, galls, leaf color, and
maple syrup, as well as on more complex issues such as cattail rhizomes,
introductions of foreign species, and hermaphroditism in earthworms.
Perhaps it is unsympathetic quibbling to ask for more on some
topics—Why do rabbits eat their feces? Fawns have no scent for
whom?—to wonder about “ugly” dragonfly nymphs or the (human)
“heart shape” mating wheel of damselflies, or to look for a
recommendation of the value of a handlens.

There are copious line drawings (which one can imagine keen readers
coloring), a bibliography, index, and a range list of species. By virtue
of its large format, the book would not easily be carried in the field,
but it will be useful to laics and tyros eager to learn more about


Kochanoff, Peggy., “A Field Guide to Nearby Nature: Fields and Woods of the Midwest and East Coast,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6961.