Candice Gaukel Andrews (author); BEYOND THE TREES; Wisconsin Historical Society Press (Nonfiction: Nature) $26.95 ISBN: 9780870204678
Byline: Gabriela Worrel
Explorers looking for an accessible, comprehensive naturalist guide to Wisconsin forests will be happy to read Beyond the Trees: Stories of Wisconsin Forests, by Candice Gaukel Andrews. While many nature books and field guides seek to achieve some semblance of interesting narrative that goes beyond a dry exposition of scientific names and geologic eras, Andrews's book takes the idea of nature exploration as storytelling to a new level.
Formerly a screenwriter, the author has indeed mastered the art of infusing visual description and first-hand experience into her nature and travel writing. Here, the reader is instantly catapulted into Andrews's journey of exploration around Wisconsin forests as she, in an authentic first-person voice, makes the journey lively and vivid with color and texture. Each of the fourteen chapters of the book examine a particular forest in the state, offering basic maps and photographs, giving a sense of the feel of the forest, describing its geological foundations from thousands of years back, and celebrating the plants, animals, and insects that thrive there. For the truly scientific, she offers appendices with scientific names, among other tidbits.
The information provides historical context and the reader also meets the human characters that are inevitably entangled in the stories from these landscapes: from Aldo...