Select one of the keywords
Cool Woods: A Trip Around the World's Boreal Forest    by Jane Drake, Ann Love & Andrew Kiss order for
Cool Woods
by Jane Drake
Order:  USA  Can
Tundra, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The authors lead us into the Cool Woods of the world's boreal forest wilderness, which is actually bigger in extent than the tropical rainforest of which we hear so much, and forms 'the lungs of the Earth'. They introduce us to six boreal eco-zones around the world. There are gorgeous color illustrations of the different regions, highlighting their wildlife, as well as black and white sketches.

The Boreal Shield forms a large part of Eastern Canada, and its beauty has been celebrated by the Group of Seven, A. Y. Jackson in particular. We learn about the blue heron and the beaver, French fur traders and native trappers, pemmican and portages, and the balancing act of First Nations peoples between traditional and modern lifestyles. The Boreal Plain region of central Canada holds a huge freshwater reserve, open forests and big mammals. Here we learn about traditional woodland medicines and the difficulties that settlers faced.

The Boreal Cordillera is the mountain forest region of western Canada, with lynx, hare and bear. Here we learn about the Gold Rush and Skookum Jim, and of damage done by mining. The next region is Interior Alaska, country of bush pilots, ermines, voles, and moose. The introduction of new roads does damage there. The Siberian Taiga is next as we head west through the boreal world, and is the biggest and coldest of Earth's forests, home of the sable and Siberian tiger. Finally in the Old World Forest of Scandinavia (and a very small remaining section in Scotland) we learn of the Sami, nuthatches and wolverines.

There are fascinating tidbits throughout, such as information on grizzlies, on advocacy opportunities, and on Sami legends (I even learned four new names for Santa). After sharing with us the history and beauty of these regions, the authors talk of choices, and the risks of destruction of the vital boreal lungs through which our world breathes, places 'where old stories are told and new stories are born.'

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Teens books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews