“This successful book is worthy of a spot on any library shelf.” —starred, School Library Journal
“Downer profiles eight species of animals that frequently come into contact with urban or suburban humans and explores the reasons why their territories overlap with humans, the problems that result, and the efforts being made to solve those problems. The animals profiled (raccoon, mountain lion, coyote) are mostly found in North America, but a look at jungle crows in Japan and gray-headed flying foxes in Australia offers some international fare as well. The content holds obvious appeal, and Downer’s presentation is clear and engaging. The story of Adrian, a coyote who wandered into a Chicago Quizno’s sub shop will intrigue rural and urban kids alike, as will the account of twenty-one alligators being caught in a ten-day span in a town in Texas after flood conditions encouraged the gators to become more active in their movements. Some of the book’s design is a bit clunky, but the illustrative photos are crisp and well chosen, while large sidebars highlight vital statistics and other valuable tidbits about each species. An epilogue and map in the back point to other significant urban wildlife situations; source and photo notes, bibliographies, and an index are also included in thisuseful and thought-provoking book that will prove to be a hit with city-dwelling animal lovers and wannabe wildlife scientists.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Wild animals are increasingly sharing human urban and suburban spaces around the world.
Using the examples of black bears, raccoons, mountain lions, coyotes, turtles and alligators in this country, crows in Japan and flying foxes in Australia, along with plentiful photographs, this title introduces some surprising wildlife neighbors. Downer, the author of Elephant Talk (2011), clearly explains how these animals have come into our backyards. Often, it’s because we came into theirs. Sometimes, it’s because we’ve provided easy food pickings and appealing places to live. Informational sidebars give additional facts about each species, explain some ways they’ve adapted to a human world, and make further connections between the animals (and their problems) and our own lives. An early double-page aerial photograph of New York City serves as a background for identifying the parts of a city ecosystem that attract wildlife, and a world map toward the end shows the locations of other urban wildlife problems. An epilogue suggests measures humans can take to help our species coexist with theirs. The busy, colorful design sometimes makes it difficult to follow the narrative thread, but the effort is worthwhile. Ample documentation and further resource suggestions will help readers wanting to know more.
An unusual issue set forth clearly and concisely for middle school and high school readers.” —Kirkus Reviews