RaveBookforumThe factoids Kolbert tosses off about nature’s incredible variety—a frog that carries eggs in its stomach and gives birth through its mouth, a wood stork that cools off by defecating on its own legs—make it heartbreakingly clear, without any heavy-handed sermonizing from the author, just how much we lose when an animal goes extinct. In the same way, her intrepid reporting from far-off places gives us a sense of the earth’s vastness and beauty. We get a sense of its danger, too, when Kolbert lets us in on her anxiety about entering caves, climbing cliffs, or diving into oceans alongside the scientists she shadows ... Climate-change deniers might use Kolbert’s careful rendition of previous ebbs and flows in the temperature of the earth’s air and water to prove that what’s happening now is perfectly natural and has nothing to do with human activity...But it all occurred so slowly—about twenty times over the course of some two million years—that plants and animals were able to adjust by massive migrations to regions where the environment was more tolerable, or via the selection of more adaptive traits over the course of a few generations ... Kolbert doesn’t offer much to look forward to.
PositiveThe New York Times Book Review\"It probably takes the soul of an entomologist, or maybe of a 9-year-old child, to love these bugs as much as Dunn does. Still, it’s hard not to be occasionally charmed by his prose, as when he catalogs the arthropods with whom we share our homes... And it’s hard not to share, at least a little, his awe at their diversity, even in a single household ... There’s a real sense of \'gee-whiz\' in this book, but it’s mostly in service of Dunn’s overarching goal: to preach the preservation of biodiversity, not only in the lush forests and streams that fit our traditional image of nature’s abundance, but in the most humble places, too, where the vast majority of us will have most of our cross-species encounters — our basements, mattresses, refrigerator drawers and showerheads. \