April 13, 2016

The boreal forest

Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World's Boreal Forest
by Jane Drake & Ann Love
art by Andrew Kiss

The boreal forest, sometimes called taiga, stretches across most of North America from Labrador to Alaska. Boreal forests also cover much of Siberia, Russia, Finland and Sweden, as well as parts of Norway and Scotland.

Cool Woods is a wide-ranging look at these forests from the plants and animals who make the forests home, to the people who live and work there. Interspersed with descriptions of nature activity are indigenous stories and myths, which lend the book an otherworldly air, tempered with sobering accounts of the destruction humans inflict on the sensitive ecosystem. Lest readers succumb to despair, each chapter includes ideas for protecting the forest.

Ethereal full-color paintings introduce each section with a few smaller paintings thrown in. The rest of the illustrations consist of less-detailed black-and-white sketches, which are not as attractive.

All-in-all, the book is a good introduction to the boreal forest, though the mix of fact and fiction makes for an uneven tone.

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