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May 26, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Wild Animal Neighbors

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red car, white letteringDOWNER, Ann. Wild Animal Neighbors: Sharing Our Urban World. 64p. bibliog. further reading. index. map. notes. photos. websites. Twenty-First Century. Nov. 2013. lib. ed. $33.27. ISBN 978-0-7613-9021-3; ebook $24.95. ISBN 978-1-4677-1663-5. LC 2012043817.
Gr 4-8
–The question, “What does it mean to be ‘urban’ or ‘wild’ in the twenty-first century?” is posed in the introduction, and while there is no clear answer to be found, there is plenty here to get kids thinking about and debating these definitions. Seven animals are each given a chapter: raccoons, mountain lions, crows, coyotes, flying foxes, loggerhead sea turtles, and alligators. Within each chapter is a list of facts and a little background or history of the animal and its new urban environment. There is interesting discussion of adaptations the animal has made to survive, the traits that have either created success or failure in an urban environment, and some of the studies that have been done about the creatures. Depending on the animal, they are seen either as pests (crows) or something to be protected (loggerhead sea turtles); material about efforts to change human behavior to save the animals or change animal behavior to save the humans is included. Full-color photographs show the sadness (in the case of the mountain lion that would be put down) and the hope (the loggerhead returning to the ocean) present when animals and humans cohabitate in urban environments. Also included is a brief look at what makes an urban ecosystem unique and the possibilities for building wildlife-friendly cities. Living with wildlife is a fact of our lives, and this successful book is worthy of a spot on any library shelf.–Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN

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