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With this unique book, the reader buys one ticket and takes two trips: one through the sunny and tangible realm of a California oak woodland; the other through the enchanting province of mythology. Both journeys lead the reader into comfortable and charming country. Why do magpies chatter and bluebirds whisper? What common roadside plant was used as poison by medieval witches and as medicine by U.S. soldiers? Can female gall wasps really reproduce without males? Why do lizards have an "inevitable affinity" with human beings, while their cousins, the snakes, produce terror? Poet and biologist Baxter Troutman answers these and other fascinating questions with the black-and-white pen of science dipped in the colorful ink of myth. The result is a thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining book of natural history and much, much more.