Combining science and aesthetics, this almanac offers daily affirmations of the extraordinary richness of biodiversity and our enduring beguilement by its beauty. With a text by herpetologist and natural history writer Marty Crump and a cornucopia of original illustrations by Bronwyn McIvor, this quirky quotidian reverie gazes across the globe, media, and time as it celebrates date-appropriate natural topics ranging from the founding of the National Park Service to annual strawberry, garlic, shrimp, hummingbird, and black bear festivals.
Crump has done an impressive job of combing the world for all manner of people, places, and creatures to highlight. Readers will find a plethora of subjects worthy of deeper study (the acknowledgments provide an outstanding source list and links) while also enjoying all Crump and McIvor have accomplished. What a quiet gem: an artful presentation of science and history that manages to beguile and amuse on every page.
Scientists who can write for the layperson with both intelligence and intelligibility, with verve and wit and perhaps a bit of self-effacement, are to be treasured ... Marty Crump...can write ably for a general audience without dumbing down her subjects ... the point of Crump’s almanac is not rigid factual accuracy, but rather to entertain and to provide food for thought. And, for the most part, her three or four paragraphs for every day are good enough for her purposes. The book is shallow but broad—and there’s nothing wrong with that ... If Crump had stuck to writing bits of amusing trivia, her almanac—even lacking a central theme—would be fun, in the way of trivia games. The book’s daily entries do, though, have a propensity to end with some kind of preachy platitude that becomes tiresome around July or August ... But any such irritants are redeemed by Crump’s obvious regard for all earthly things, and by poignant entries [.]
People will be challenged to think more deeply about the world around them every day while reading this book ... Whimsical illustrations add charm, and readers will appreciate this volume more as a type of daily devotional than a straight read-through since it's easier to notice the overlap when reading without pause (i.e., repetitive entries on turtle or shark appreciation). The bibliography is sorted by date, making it easy to find more information on topics of particular interest ... For readers short on time but big on appreciating the world in new ways.