My Journey into the Wilds of Chicago: A Celebration of Chicago- land’s Startling Natural Wonders

Mike MacDonald. Morning Dew, $75 (240p) ISBN 978-0-9963119-0-8
There is much to admire in MacDonald’s book filled with glorious, full-color photographs of Chicago’s woodlands, wetlands, and prairies, which he deems “a portal to the marvels of our natural world.” This impressive, cloth-bound debut is a lucid perspective on the prairie and its native plants and animals; it is celebratory, soulful, and poetic, evoking a strong affection for Chicago’s unchecked wilderness in a city best known for its iconic lakefront and skyscrapers. MacDonald’s images take readers to nearby forest preserves that show off the flatlands’ diversity of growth and distinct surfaces in stunning colors and pleasing composition: a yellow-flowering skunk cabbage beneath a burgundy speckled covering; shimmering ice sculptures and snow-covered, frosty foliage; and carpets of radiant flowers and tall grasses. MacDonald is highly knowledgeable about native and foreign or invasive species of plants: their smell, healing (or harmful) qualities, and how they interact with the soil. His ornate and thoughtful prose creates an easily grasped and truly memorable reflection on the relationship between humans and our natural “nonhuman neighbors,” and the inspiration we can draw from observing rivers, trees, plants and wildlife. Color photos. (BookLife)
Reviewed on: 04/04/2016
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