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A Wild Neighborhood

1997
Author:

John Henricksson
Illustrations by Betsy Bowen

A Wild Neighborhood

An entertaining portrait of the creatures that share our place in the woods.

Beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Betsy Bowen, author of Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year, this collection of elegantly written essays celebrates the creatures that share our place in the woods. From kitchen-table gossip about the black bear’s recent attempts to raid the bird feeder, to the retelling of Native American myths about the mischievous raven, Henricksson illustrates his respect, humor, and love of northwoods creatures.

This is a book that will rest easy on the cabin bookshelf, in the backpack, or on the night stand. It is friendly and accessible, as a book about neighbors ought to be-as inviting as a good conversation over a cup of coffee. The text, along with Betsy Bowen’s evocative woodcuts, reminds us of the simple truth that we are a part of a genuine community—composed of birds and bears, mice and moose, and all manner of wild things. A nice neighborhood, indeed.

Doug Wood, author of Old Turtle and Paddle Whispers

John Henricksson’s neighbors stop by to chat or to have a bite to eat or just to sit and watch. But in his Wild Neighborhood the visitors are the black bear, gray jay, timber wolf, owl, white-tailed deer, raven, and the moose.

A Wild Neighborhood is a collection of elegantly written essays about these creatures. From kitchen-table gossip about the black bear’s recent attempts to raid the bird feeder, to the retelling of Native American myths about the mischievous raven, Henricksson shows a love and understanding of the residents with whom he shares the narrow wedge of the Superior National Forest in northeastern Minnesota.

Henricksson writes of the personal relationships that develop while living in the woods. He tells of the joy of helping a deer survive a tough winter and the mystery of animals he calls “ghosts”—species that are extinct or near extinct but still have a fleeting presence in the area.

Award-winning artist Betsy Bowen, author of Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year, beautifully depicts the denizens of the forest. Her twenty-four woodcuts reflect, often humorously, Henricksson’s respect for and love of northwoods creatures.

This personal account of a vibrant community in the woods will appeal to readers of all ages and make a beautiful gift for everyone who has admired the creatures of his or her own wild neighborhood.

Awards

Minnesota Book Award winner

A Wild Neighborhood

John Henricksson is a writer and editor who divides his time between his home in Mahtomedi, Minnesota, and his Gunflint Lake cabin. He is editor of North Writers: A Strong Woods Collection (Minnesota, 1991) and North Writers II: Our Place in the Woods (Minnesota, 1997).

Betsy Bowen is an award-winning illustrator who lives in Grand Marais, Minnesota. She is author and illustrator of Antler, Bear, Canoe: A Northwoods Alphabet Year (1991), Tracks in the Wild (1993), and Gathering: A Northwoods Counting Book (1995).

A Wild Neighborhood

This is a book that will rest easy on the cabin bookshelf, in the backpack, or on the night stand. It is friendly and accessible, as a book about neighbors ought to be-as inviting as a good conversation over a cup of coffee. The text, along with Betsy Bowen’s evocative woodcuts, reminds us of the simple truth that we are a part of a genuine community—composed of birds and bears, mice and moose, and all manner of wild things. A nice neighborhood, indeed.

Doug Wood, author of Old Turtle and Paddle Whispers

This delightful collection of essays portrays the unique personalities of various northern woodland natives: the owl, bear, moose, pine marten, beaver, spider, deer, and raven, to name just a few. Fascinating anecdotes describe the almost personal relationships that develop between humans and other animals—bears who raid the bird feeder, an injured raven who joins a family and strikes up a friendship with their dog, deer who appear for drier daily treats throughout the long winter months. These tales of the north woods are enhanced with woodcuts by award-winning artist Betsy Bowen. This will be enjoyable reading for anyone who has an interest in the wilderness and its native inhabitants.

Library Journal

As the title implies, his dozen essays are loosely sketched portraits of his rather eccentric neighbors—black bear, moose, loons, eagles, marten, Canada Jays, beaver. The editor of North Writers and North Writers II, Henricksson scatters his chapters with factual tidbits: the barred owl has ‘the keenest hearing of any bird,’ enabling them to hear a mouse running on hard-packed earth 50 yards away; biologists consider ravens to be among the most intelligent of all wild creatures, while he seven-foot-tall moose have baseball sized brains and aren’t exceptionally bright. Henricksson manages to capture the psychological rush of encounters with wildlife.

Publishers Weekly

Complemented by Betsy Bowen’s classic woodcuts, Henricksson’s conversational prose weaves legend, natural history, observation, and anecdote into rich portraits of his north woods neighbors. A delightful stroll through a fascinating and friendly neighborhood.

Minnesota Conservation Volunteer

Henricksoon is an excellent writer, and he draws on science, myth, personal experience, and regional lore to give his prose a storytelling quality.

Bloomsbury Review

A Wild Neighborhood

Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1 Most like a Man
2 First Citizen of Minnesota
3 Hunter of the High Places
4 A Parliament of Owls
5 The Magnificent Seven-Footer
6 Rascal in a Gray Suit
7 The Empire Builder

CONTENTS
8 Along Came a Spider
9 Helen Hoover's Deer
10 More than a Bird
11 Icon of the Wilderness
12 Ghosts

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