Book Review: Wild Animal Neighbors Sharing Our Urban World by Ann Downer

Wild Animal Neighbors Sharing Our Urban World by Ann Downer is a non fiction book for children that explains the conflicts and changes that effect animals and people alike as humans encroach on what was once their natural habitats. Animals are adapting to urban and suburban environments, and people need to start paying more attention to the animals and or effect on their environment. The book explains some of challenges animals and people face as we share more and more space.

Wild Animal Neighbors Sharing Our Urban World is a book that helps readers of all ages understand why animals like coyotes, alligators, crows, and mountain lions are more likely to be found in our backyards. Readers can see what changes the animals are making to survive, what challenges they face that we might not even consider, and what people can do to help protect both ourselves and the animals. Each chapter focuses on an individual species, and explains how that animal came to be sharing space with people, how their bodies and behavior might have adapted, and specific stories about particular animals.

I like that readers get the chance to find out what happened to each animal that was discussed in detail, although sadly not every story has a happy ending. While there is plenty of sadness in the fact that people are quickly taking over the natural habitat of many animals, the book also offers facts on what scientists and activist are doing to help mitigate the issue. Suggestions for what we can do to help, and how we might make a difference, is included within the book.

Wild Animal Neighbors Sharing Our Urban World shares a very real problem with young readers, but also offers hope. I would suggest the book be added to school and public libraries. It would be a wonderful addition to discussions about habitats, nature, the environment, and animals in general. Those living in areas that are seeing this problem in detail will have particular interest in the information and photographs included in the book.

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