For the millions of people who live in Ontario’s bustling cities, there is no better guide book for learning about the urban wilderness than Wild City. Authors Tim Tiner and Doug Bennet will be familiar to readers of their two previous books, Up North and Up North Again, which explore the wilds of Central Ontario.
Here in Wild City, Tiner and Bennet cover the breadth of biodiversity that can be observed in our urban environment. And like their earlier books, the authors go well beyond surface-level descriptions. This is what makes Wild City such a delight! The pages within are brimming with historical lore, scientific facts, and humorous tales, all well-organized and written in a spirited manner that’s accessible to casual readers and budding nature enthusiasts. A book like this should really be a part of every school classroom.
If the richness of their words weren’t enough, sprinkled throughout are exquisite black and white ink drawings by illustrator Marta Lynne Scythes. Her graceful drawings enliven the pages and bring a charm to the book that’s missing in guides where the hand of the artist has been replaced by the lens of the camera. There’s scant information about Marta online, but apparently she teaches pen and ink drawing classes, or so I’ve been told by two former students.
For many of us, nature is not a part of our everyday lives and remains a mystery that we sadly choose to ignore. This will hopefully change as more residents of Ontario discover books like Wild City in their libraries or local book shops. We can have fun examining the quirky bugs in our backyards or the curious-looking looking plants growing in the ravines. Our lives become richer as we learn about the natural world around us, and Wild City is the perfect companion to have along for the journey.
Book review by Alan Li