Winter Nature

By on 1-29-11 in me, opinionated?

Winter Nature by Merritt Gibson and Soren Bondrup-Nielsen. Illustrated by Twila Robar-DeCoste. From the back cover: “Though often associated with hibernation – for bears and humans alike – winter can in fact be a time of observation and discovery in the outdoors. Winter Nature provides the interested walker, skier or snowshoer with a guide to the mammals, birds, trees and shrubs found in the Maritime provinces during the winter months.”

I liked this book a lot. For one thing, it’s beautifully made, as are all books produced by Gaspereau Press. For another, I love nature guidebooks since they help me feel like slightly less of an ignoramus when I’m out and about and am able to identify the odd thing here and there. Even better, it’s a guide to local animals, birds and trees  – things I have a chance of actually seeing. The best part, of course, is the amazing range of knowledge on the part of the co-authors. It’s amazing. I can’t imagine ever knowing that much about anything. About anything useful, anyway.

The one thing I didn’t love about the book was the illustrations. Robar-DeCoste is incredibly talented and the drawings are amazingly detailed and accurate, but I find I need colour photography when it comes to distinguishing between different types of sparrows, say, or the dormant branches of trees. It’s still a good resource, just not quite as useful as it might have been with photos. Just my opinion.

Anyone else share my love of nature guides?

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2 Comments

  1. It’s enough I get out there to walk the dog, I don’t care about what is out there with me as long as it stays out of my way. As I type this I hear a rather close coyote yipping in my back yard. I have an abhorrence of nature guides, especially plant guides that describe things like how may sepals on the calyx and how many millimetres the stipules are and whether the petiole is hirsute. Having said that, I’m told Merritt Gibson was one amazing guy so I’m not surprised a book by him is awesome.

  2. Good point, Yana. What I should have written was that I love nature guides that don’t overwhelm me with details. This one struck a nice balance – informative and interesting without trying to make me the world’s expert on hirsute petioles. (Great name for a band.)