Sara's Reviews > Suburban Safari: A Year on the Lawn

Suburban Safari by Hannah Holmes
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's review
Jan 25, 2012

liked it

I found this book quite charming. Hannah Holmes decides to take a year to observe the life in her backyard in Maine - everything from the worms, ants and slugs, to the spiders, the mice, the crows, the squirrels, and her trees. She anthropomorphizes the creatures and names the stars (Babbette the spider, Cheeky the chipmunk, Stumpy the amputee squirrel etc) and they become characters that you care for and root for as spring (where her book starts) marches through summer, fall, and then winter. This books was written during the year when the West Nile virus was killing off birds across the United States and the North East experienced that freakishly cold winter - the one that the news stations were dubbing 'snowpocolipse' - so those two factors added a sort of conflict to the book (animal v. nature maybe?) that kept you reading to see if they would all make it. (Side note: with regards to the winter, Holmes totally cheated and left out bird seed and nuts for her little friends, but I would have too).

The book is written with loads of humor, especially the self depreciating sort, and a style which will make even the more 'science-laden' paragraphs readable to those who don't have much of a background on the topic. I learned a lot from this book and I kept finding myself turning to my husband and saying things like 'did you know that trees can mast? and that they can control their nut production to control the animals around them?' or 'did you know that hummingbirds prefer red flowers because they have a higher sugar content?'

Fun stuff :-D

I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone, but especially those with an interest in their backyards, even if it's just a passive sort of interest. You won't look at your backyard the same way again.

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Reading Progress

January 25, 2012 – Started Reading
January 25, 2012 – Shelved
January 27, 2012 –
page 103
January 28, 2012 –
page 211
January 29, 2012 – Finished Reading

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