JUNGLES by Walter Shepherd


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The attractively stylized drawings might recommend this as a picture book of jungle plants and animals, but the text does a poor job of explaining jungle ecology. As jungles the world over are treated together, it's hard to get any clear idea of the particular characteristics of any one region; nor is the distinction between tree jungles and grass jungles made clear. The single paragraph devoted to people typifies the author's tendency to emphasize isolated bits of exotica; we learn only that pygmies in Africa hunt with poisoned darts -- ""It is usually prepared by a long process of cooking which the witch doctors do in secret. The poison used by South American natives is called curare. . . ."" So much for the jungle's inhabitants and so much for the jungles themselves -- ""exciting places to visit but difficult and dangerous to live in."" Armstrong Sperry's All About the Jungle (1959), is, in spite of a tendency to see animals as ""threatening"" and ""dangerous,"" far more thorough and informative.

Pub Date: March 27th, 1972
Publisher: John Day