University of Virginia Press, 2008
I wanted to know how science learns what it tells us about the lives of wild animals, and for this book I traveled with scientists. I started out in my own New York State, where our resident coyotes are making their presence only too well known. Then I went on to the Channel Islands off California, where a fox is struggling in the trap of its island home, to Panama, where the enigmatic kinkajou lives an aerial life in the forest canopy, and to a Jurassic-era forest preserve in Chile, where a rare and elusive fox is staging a slow comeback.
The book is beautifully written, as one would expect, given its author. I admire its unsentimental tone, its insightful descriptions of the scientific process, and especially its arresting moments with the animals themselves.
Holly Menino is an engaging, personable, unsentimental, and scientifically literate writer.