Wild Town (RSPB) by Mike Dilger

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Wild Town (RSPB) by Mike Dilger

Category: Children's Non-Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A gorgeous summary of Britain's urban wildlife. Succinct but informative descriptions with all sorts of interesting facts combined with delicious photography make this an inspirational book for the budding naturalist.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: November 2012
Publisher: A & C Black
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1408173905

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Would you like to know what about the thriving wildlife in Britain's towns and cities? What natural riches are out there, if only you know where (and how) to look? Wild Town will tell you. Divided into habitats - desert, grasslands, wetlands, forests, scrub, caves - the book describes animals, and some plants, to be found in each. You'll be amazed at what's out there. And you'll find out a lot about a teeming natural world right on your doorstep. It will tell you the best places to spot animals and plants - and, thanks to the wonderful photography, you'll have no trouble recognising them once you're there. From the iconic foxes and badgers to the less well known species of bird, amphibian and insect, it's all there in all its diversity and beauty.

But I'm not going to lie. Was there any real need to include the Zebra Jumping Spider in the list? Do I truly need to know that it can be spotted on windowsills or in corners behind the curtains? It's bad enough that it's autumn and house spiders keep sprinting across the carpet whilst searching for females. And y'know, if ever pages didn't need photos, these were the pages. I know it's silly. I know it's girly. But I'm arachnophobic. There, I said it. Sorry, Mike Dilger, but I've blu-tacked pages 127 and 128 together. I won't be looking at them again. But I will be looking at all the other pages again. And again. And again. Because I love this book.

Author Mike Dilger will be well known to any budding naturalists out there. They'll have seen him on Springwatch and Autumnwatch and Nature's Top 40 on the BBC. He has a great way with words and manages to be both succinct and informative and also to imbue his text with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm. The result is a book that will appeal equally to the practical and less-than-enthusiastic reader, and the nature geek craving as much information as possible. Did you know that the banned pesticide DDT caused the peregrine falcon to lay eggs with shells that were too thin to be viable? And if it hadn't been banned, those beautiful birds would have died out? Or that the common shrew can go only a few hours without food before dying of starvation?

The photography is beautiful - from detailed close-ups of insects (and, ugh, spiders) to larger animals exhibiting natural behaviour, you just won't stop looking. Wild Town would make a perfect gift and it will inspire an interest in urban wildlife that could last a lifetime. What more could you want? Highly recommended.

If ancient animals are more your thing, you might enjoy If Dinosaurs Were Alive Today by Dougal Dixon. If you're looking for something equally interesting and factual but also humorous, try Why is Snot Green? by Glenn Murphy.

Buy Wild Town (RSPB) by Mike Dilger at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wild Town (RSPB) by Mike Dilger at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Wild Town (RSPB) by Mike Dilger at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Wild Town (RSPB) by Mike Dilger at Amazon.com.


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