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by Bianca Lavies & photographed by Bianca Lavies

Pub Date: May 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-525-44763-6
Publisher: Dutton

With each handsome book since Lily Pad Pond (1989), this gifted former National Geographic photographer comes up with a stronger, more significant text. Here, she details the many forms of life nourished by her compost heap—and by each other—during the heap's first year, pointing out the ``critters''' distinguishing characteristics not only through the text but through her outstanding color photos, and putting them in context by mentioning classifications, early ancestors, and related species as well as by describing how their behavior helps transform scraps and weeds into humus. Adroitly, Lavies includes clues to scale—a necessity, since many of the photos are magnified; some are microscopic enlargements. The book would have been enriched by a note on the photography (Ö la Bruce Macmillan), including degrees of magnification, and by a list of species. Still, a fine offering that splendidly conveys the fecundity of the homely household heap, implicitly suggesting that nature's wonderful diversity is not only found in the jungle: it can also be encouraged in any backyard. (Nonfiction. 6-12)