Bash, originally a calligrapher, also studied botanical drawing--which led to her interest in ecosystems. Here, she combines all three areas of expertise to present the life cycle of the beautiful saguaro cactus--an important source of shelter and sustenance to the many animal dwellers in the Southwest and the Sonoran desert in Mexico. Bash's colorful double-spread illustrations--combining large areas of flat, rich color with more detailed passages--capture the majesty of the desert environment and illuminate the ecological importance of this impressive giant that can grow 50 feet tall and live 200 years. The informative text includes fascinating nuggets of information: e.g., as many as three hawks may perch, one on top of another, atop a cactus (""back standing""); ""Saguaro boots"" are dried remnants of hollows made for nests by carpenter birds; after the cactuses die and decompose, Indians use them as food containers. The calligraphic text is distinguished by both elegance and clarity; printed now white, now black, it contributes to the book's handsome design. A useful, attractive presentation that should appeal to a wide audience.