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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Natural Wonders: The Flora, Fauna & Formations of Washington by the staff of The Seattle Times. Seattle, Washington: The Seattle Times, 2003. ISBN: 0944912125

The reason there is a gap of more than a month in the postings here in this book blog is that I've been moving from Oregon to Washington to take a new job at the Washington State Library. The move has pretty much consumed most of my time for the past month. Not that I stopped reading entirely during this time, I just didn't have time for blogging, and consequently I have a book blog backlog.

One of the first things I did here in my new hometown of Tumwater, Washington, was to obtain library cards at both the State Library where I work, and at the local public library, the Timberland Regional Library. One day early on I neglected to bring anything to work to read during my lunch hour, so I popped downstairs to the public area of the state library, and picked up this attractive little book.

Not that I'm new to Washington State, and needed any introduction. Although it's been almost 20 years since I last resided here, I obtained both my undergraduate and first graduate degrees here, and lived in both the Eastern and Western portions of the state for several years during my perpetual student years. But this small coffee-table style book was a welcome refresher, and full of delightful vignettes, lavishly illustrated, regarding many aspects of the state.

Some of the fauna that is covered includes chorus frogs, newts, gray whales, mountain goats, elk, jellyfish, ravens, bald eagles, and of course, the ubiquitous Chinook salmon. The flora includes the madrona, cedar and big leaf maple trees, along with the lowly skunk cabbage and blackberry. The "formations," so called, include clouds (mostly gray), snow, Deception Pass, volcanoes, basalt, the Palouse region, and more. I've not listed the entire contents, leaving you some to discover on your own.

The writing is informative, interesting—a model of the short essay form at its best. The pictures are uniformly gorgeous and illuminating. Whether you have the good fortune to live in Washington State or not, you'll enjoy this charming book.

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