cover image Seasons on the Pacific Coast: A Naturalist's Notebook

Seasons on the Pacific Coast: A Naturalist's Notebook

Chronicle Books, Susan J. Tweit. Chronicle Books, $22.95 (224pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-2080-6

In 40 personal essays, naturalist Tweit (Seasons in the Desert) evokes the beauty of the Pacific Coast by describing some of the region's unusual plant and animal species. Species profiles are grouped by season, and each opens with factual information about the plant or animal's common scientific name, range, habitat, size and color. Despite the strong regional focus, Tweit's meditative, well-researched essays should interest most nature lovers. From the strange feeding habits of the gray whale (lying on its side on the sea floor sucking up mud ""like a huge vacuum cleaner"") to the clever defense system of Spanish shawl sea slugs (which borrow the stinging cells of their prey), Tweit highlights the ""vibrant and magical diversity"" along the Pacific Coast. She aims to create a ""family album"" of the variety of characters inhabiting the 2000 miles of coastline from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Tijuana, Mexico, and to rekindle a sense of connection with these ""wild relatives."" Although the seasonal connections are not always clear and the essays sometimes wander, Tweit's personal observations and lyrical style are appealing. A bibliography of recommended books and a list of places to visit make it possible for interested readers to use the book as a field guide as well. Illustrated by James Noel Smith. (Nov.)