Bernd Heinrich has astonishing powers of observation. In great detail, the awakening of summer in the natural world in New England is described - the migrations, mating, budding, metamorphoses from tadpole to frog, and multiple other transformations taking place in our backyards. Mel Foster's deep voice is clear, and his pacing is accurate. But this is the season of bounty and wonder and joy, yet Foster's narration remains inexpressive. Heinrich conducts backyard experiments to figure out whether flower blooms stay open due to light or warmth and tempts fate with hornets, resulting in an unfortunate but predictable outcome. Foster may be able to effectively translate Heinrich's ecological concerns for the future, but he's less successful with Heinrich's almost-boyish enthusiasm.
Almost all life on the surface of the earth derives its energy from the sun, either directly through photosynthesis or indirectly by consuming plants, making summer the time when nature is most active - feeding, fighting, mating, and nesting. From frogs, wasps, and caterpillars to hummingbirds and woodpeckers, Heinrich explores these animals' adaptations for surviving and procreating during the short window of summer, and he delights in the seemingly infinite feats of animal inventiveness he discovers there.
Infused with his inexhaustible enchantment with nature, Summer World encourages a sense of wonder and discovery for the natural world and its busiest season.
©2009 Bernd Heinrich; (P)2009 Tantor
I don't review every book--only books I feel strongly about--hence the many 4-5 star vs 1-2 star reviews. Just my opinions--hope they help.
Bernd Heinrich is a fascinating and gifted writer. More than this he is a keen observer, scientist and an educator able to instill awe and wonder in others. I love all his books and find myself returning to reread Summer World often in the early spring. It reminds me to slow down and reopen my eyes to the miracle of the seasons happening right under my nose. Often without this type of reminder life hurries by unnoticed.
Highly recommended listening for nature lovers or people interested in learning about nature and connecting with the natural world. I also recommend Heinrich's memoir, The Snoring Bird, which is fantastic and my favorite of his books. Not yet available here on Audible--but hopefully soon.
Naturalist Bernd Heinrich has allowed us to glimpse the natural world he studies in an informative, entertaining, and inspiring way. He accomplishes this by sharing interesing observations about the flora and insect life near his home in Maine and Vermont. This book has motivated me to be more observant of the world around me in general and the natural world in particular.
Parenthetically, this book does for Summer what Heinrich did earlier for winter in "Winter World." Unfortunately the rich illustrations are not available to listeners in either his first or second volumes. Don't let that keep you from listening to his words - your mind will make up the difference.
If you are a novice to naturalism, let Heinrich gently walk you through lane and woods. Yield to his intimate interest in that world and you will not be disappointed.
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