This new guide is full of beautiful photos, pithy advice, and interesting facts that will capture, but not tax, the attention of those enthusiasts whose enthusiasms stop at the garden gate.
As its title suggests, the book is divided almost equally into two sections, each comprising an introduction to the group of organisms under discussion, detailed pointers on how to observe and attract them, and species accounts (with portraits and range maps) for 15 hummingbirds and some three dozen butterflies. The authors' prose is simple and inviting, and many readers will be grateful for their pausing to define anything approaching a technical term, such as "ecology."
Errors and infelicities are very few, but the bibliography's omission of Steve Howell's photographic guide is simply unfathomable.
While the book's hummingbird section is able to treat all of the US and Canada's common species, comprehensiveness is obviously out of reach for the butterflies. The solution is a happy one: the book introduced nine groups of "kindred" species, letting even tyros narrow the choices. The 35 or so common species accorded individual treatment all have large ranges, some nearly continent-wide, others widespread in the east or in the west.
Many birders and butterfliers who will keep this book on the windowsill or in the sunroom, sharing it--and the pleasure it brings--with their children and grandchildren. I can't think of a better way to spend a warm summer's afternoon.