British Columbia


A perfect gift for a friend with a mountain cabin and a coffee table.

A naturalist, teacher, and guide shares his appreciation for his home province in this debut collection of gorgeous photographs and watercolors. 

This book offers everything you ever wanted to know about the flora and fauna of British Columbia but didn’t know enough to ask. Townsley was born in Vancouver, and when he was 7 years old, his father gave him a camera. His lovely book is a collection gathered from a lifetime of taking nature photographs, punctuated by the occasional watercolor (he’s a painter as well). Roaming through a half dozen geographical regions, he takes readers from British Columbia’s jaw-dropping rocky shores to its breathtaking mountains, with stops in between to gaze at whatever catches his eye. A lot does: an unexpected rainbow, a pussy willow in close-up, and the frostbit Lillooet River, which is like something out of a perfectly realized winter wonderland. Many of his images are so stunning one can only recommend viewing them, in its e-book format, on the largest screen available. In his introduction, Townsley says, “another comment I get on occasion is, ‘You must have a really good camera.’ I laugh and relate an analogy I heard years ago whereby someone really admired the work of a writer and stated, ‘You must have a really good typewriter.’ ” He is a fine photographer, but as a writer, his chapter introductions are little more than serviceable and sometimes borderline drab; his description of Victoria, for example, sounds like something straight from a tourist guide: “Known as the City of Gardens, Victoria is an attractive city and a popular tourist destination with a thriving technology sector.” And yet, once one realizes where Townsley’s true genius lies, one may come to enjoy the random factoids scattered among the photo captions. For example, he tips readers as to what’s edible and what’s not—Sagebrush buttercup, no; Crowberry, yes. The singularity of whatever he decides to point out becomes captivating in itself; for example, he notes that a raven is considered about as smart as most 7-year-old humans, and that harbor seals detect their prey by using nerves in their whiskers. Nature lovers will find much here to enjoy, as will Canada-philes.

A perfect gift for a friend with a mountain cabin and a coffee table.

Pub Date: March 9, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-4602-7771-3

Page Count: 232

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2016



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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