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by Jim Arnosky & illustrated by Jim Arnosky

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-7922-7304-4
Publisher: National Geographic

Arnosky (Crinkleroot’s Visit to Crinkle Cove, p. 892, etc.) departs from his usual wildlife settings with a trip to the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts of the American Southwest. The artist turns an eye, and a camera, on the desert’s animals, always on the lookout for a lizard darting beneath rocks or an elf owl tucked in a hole of the giant saguaro, set against a landscape of rocks and grasses. Rock squirrel and roadrunner, coral snake and turkey vulture—each provide an opportunity for sketching wildlife in its habitat. Tips for observing desert wildlife are interspersed among the comments themselves, rounded out with habits and characteristics of every creature. Writing in a conversational style, Arnosky catalogs his trip from the car window, along the dusty trail, or standing on a field, always making the factual information personal. In a volume resembling Virginia Wright-Frierson’s A Desert Scrapbook (1996), many of the detailed drawings are not only lifelike, but life-size, shown from a distance or up close, as it would appear through a telephoto lens. Glorious colors—the emerald green of a Sonoran whipsnake, the pink stain of a pronghorn’s waterhole—lift the desert landscape and its creatures out of the dust and into the light. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-12)