Tina Jordan
February 23, 2005 AT 05:00 AM EST

Suburban Safari

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Hannah Holmes
publisher
Bloomsbury
genre
Nonfiction

We gave it an A

What’s going on in the yard? In Suburban Safari, science writer Hannah Holmes decides to find out, parking herself on the minuscule scrap of land surrounding her 1917 bungalow in Portland, Me. And no surprise: It’s teeming, literally, with life, from a silky-eared chipmunk she dubs Cheeky to a hawk that slaughters birds crowding the forsythia bush to the slugs, beetles, and worms of a thriving microhabitat. Along the way she lectures, entertainingly, on the history of lawns and the domestication of dogs. She makes — and eats — a salad from edible weeds and hears, for the first time, the whish and whir of nighttime birds. Also, she becomes aware of how much water and energy she consumes. In a witty, imaginative, and powerful discourse, Holmes is a Rachel Carson for 21st-century suburbia.

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