Sch-Animals in Place

Roger A. Caras, Author Random House (NY) $18.95 (297p) ISBN 978-0-87156-707-9
Nature writers must be storytellers, notes the author; the first task is to take their charactersanimals, plants or geologic formationsand put them in place. Caras offers 26 selections from his own books that superbly illustrate his thesis; and the brief introductions to each piece serve admirably as guides to writing about natural history. Caras believes that fiction is a legitimate format for telling stories about animals so long as the author keeps the biology straight. Who can argue with success? Witness Caras's Monarch of Deadman Bay, Mara Simba: The African Lion and others. He also reminds us that not everybody who reads a book about nature is a confirmed buffthe writer needs to be a recruiter, too. Excerpts from The Endless Migrations take us to the watery world of the manatee and the winter quarters of the hummingbird; from Sarang we observe the capture of wild elephants to be trained as work animals; from Panther we see how weather is part of an animal's place. We inspect the busy life of a forest floor, observe a wolf cub learning to hunt, visit the world of the Pacific salmon. Each selection is a gem of the genre that can be read and re-read with pleasure. (May 25)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1987
Release date: 04/01/1987
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