Informal appreciations of twelve species whose best features, adaptability and hardiness, have tended to lower their stock among animal lovers, and in some cases win them reputations as nuisances. Scott loves a startling statistic or anecdote: who wouldn't be impressed by the ferocious hunger of the short-tailed shrew who must consume his own weight every three hours and stores enough poison in his three-inch body to kill 200 mice? . . . or by the crow (reported in Science News Letter) who learned to read some ice fisherman's signal flags and rob their catch by hauling in the lines with his beak? But most impressive are the white-tailed deer who was tagged with a radio transmitter and orange streamers yet still managed to elude a party of scientist searchers for nine days, the lowly groundhog who apparently can analyze soil better than a team of experts, and the cottontail who wins unexpected points for courage. Unfortunately these little lectures on what Scott chooses to call ""the winsome world of nature"" are dragged down by some coy references to animal ""sanitation engineers"" and such. Nevertheless Scott packs in a lot of unusual information and treats his humble subjects with unfailing respect. Quite inviting overall.