Review of the Week

Wild Animal Neighbors

Downer, Ann. Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World. Non-fiction. 21st Century/Lerner, 2013. 64p. PLB $33.27. 978-0-7613-9021-3. OUTSTANDING. GRADE 4-8.
With a dynamic, photo-filled book design and an interesting text that uses anecdotal evidence to set the scene, this timely look at how wild animals and urban and suburban life are in conflict is an exemplary informational book. Seven brief chapters each talk about a specific species that has been seen in residential areas: raccoons, mountain lions, crows, coyotes, bats, sea turtles, and alligators. The text offers both sources of conflict (such as
light pollution, climate change, or encroachment on habitats), as well as solutions to the problem. Approximately half of the stories are from the U.S., including some examples from the Bay Area, such as the De Anza College (San Jose) corridor technician program; the others are from around the world. The narrative includes quite a bit of scientific information but has a conversational tone that makes for engaging reading. The book design features color photos, sidebars, a map, and page decorations that resemble animal footprints. Back matter includes an index, source notes, bibliography, and a list of books and websites that tween readers can seek out for more information.
Penny Peck, San Jose State Univ, SLIS

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