From Library Journal
The essays and stories in this collection all deal in one way or another with our relationship to the land and its bounty: wildlife, rivers, forests, and farms. Byford brings a wealth of experience to his subject; raised in the country, he has spent as much time outdoors as possible throughout his life and is presently dean of the School of Agriculture and Human Environment at the University of Tennessee, Martin. Topics covered here include the change of seasons, wildlife, conservation, and recreational pursuits, including hunting, fishing, hiking, and canoeing. Byford is an entertaining storyteller, often relating personal outdoor experiences as part of a larger lesson about nature. He emphasizes the importance of nature as a tonic and stress reliever, and he remains optimistic that children can learn to correct our environmental mistakes. Byford's conversational writing style should make this inviting to younger readers as well as adults.AWilliam H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A homespun celebration of the Tennessee woodlands. Byford, dean of the agriculture college at the University of Tennessee, Martin, grew up among the red cedar forests of the Mississippi River bottomlands. In his book's best moments, he describes the simple pleasures of watching wild turkeys, whose movements signal the arrival of spring; of chasing fireflies on a summer evening; of studying the diets of squirrels and the migrations of moths. Byford is an unabashed hunting enthusiastand, in the way of a good hunter, he is also an unabashed conservationist, aware of the rhythms of natureand he has much to say about the pleasures of the chase, pleasures that not all of his readers may share. His prose is simple, perhaps deliberately so; he means to sound like a man of the country, and mostly he does. His book suffers only when he takes a preaching-to-the-choir tone to sing the well-worn hymns of the nature-writing genre: wilderness is good, cities are bad, animals of all descriptions are good, polluters and land-rapists are bad. (If one really needed another sermon on why it's important to take time in life toshudderstop and smell the roses, Byford provides one, too: ``Have you ever counted the number of minutes in a day?'' he writes. ``I'll save you the time. There are 1,440, and everybody has the same amount.'') Mostly, though, Byford is content to pick up where the Foxfire books left off, providing handy tips on how to cure wild game, to follow a woodcock, to take care of your own little patch of trees. Readers with an interest in such things will find value in Byford's pages. -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.