It's a wey commentary on fiction today that the best prose style in many a moon should be found in naturalist. Franklin Russell's Watchers At The Pond. This is a beautiful, almost magical achievement, amazingly well sustained, shedding a shimmering light on the world of the woodland, its creatures, its seasons and laws. Surely destined to be a classic, skin to the quiet genius of Thorcau, if not the popular-cum-scientific touch of a Rachel Carson. Page after page sparkles with unerring descriptive power, a perfect eye for every habitat and species, a specialist's knowledge lucidly transposed to fascinate the uninitiated. Covering the cycle of a pond during one year, naturalist Russell evokes that domain's animals and plants: the hawks and muskrats, the turtles and geese, goldfinch and goldenrod, jewelweeds and elms; the drama of the hunt, the hard facts of survival; cloudbursts and floods, dourght, autumnal serenity and the winter ice. His panoply of spring and the time of procreation rivals D. H. Lawrence's on the human sphere; his breadth of concern and vividness of details matches Zucksdorf's and Disney's camera studies. Biologists, botanists, lovers of words and the universe, even the average serious reader, should be overwhelmed. A must.