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Even in the most sanitized suburb or concrete city block of the United States one can find plants, animals, and insects busy about their lives, as the author reveals to us in A Field Guide to Your Own Back Yard. John Mitchell seeks to enhance our appreciation of the small citizens of the world, such as spotted salamanders and meadow voles and introduces us to snowy tree crickets and ambrosia beetles. He describes the song of sparrows and the habits of skunks, gives advice on how to pick morels and how not to pick poison ivy, and tells the traditional uses of pokeweed and the origin of purslane.