Synopses & Reviews
Hope for Nature has created a ground swell of enthusiasm at Chelsea Green. An earlier, self-published version of this new edition was sent to our office by a friend. The book's quiet, black-and-white cover led it to overlooked at first among proposals with more superficial sizzle.
The first editor to read it (Rachael Cohen) gave Krafel's work a glowing review. Soon, the other members of the editorial department were lined up to read our single copy. The recommendations were unanimous: This book needs to be read. Along with the accolades were comparisons to The Little Prince, Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, and Giono's The Man Who Planted Trees.
Hope for Nature is a series of brief stories or parables that offer "ools for seeing" the natural world in new and surprising ways. Most of the stories take the reader to wild locations, including canyons, tundra, mountain ridges, and Indian caves, yet some are concerned with contemplating the human-made: water-diversion trenches or supermarket check-out lines. In one of Krafel's parables, he meditates upon a one-inch-square patch of ordinary ground.
As gardening author Barbara Damrosch has said, (This book) is a gift. How long has it been since you read a book that left you feeling energized and encouraged about life on the planet and your role in its quality and future? ... With curiosity, wit, and a spare and graceful style, Krafel notes why birds in flocks land as they do, how islands can move upstream in a river, how kelp forests, swaying gently, break the force of the sea's power, how tundra plants create whole ecosystems on bare rock from mere specks of life. Yet there are no long-winded sermons about the woods, or cuteanthropomorphizations of animals. The book's economic, unsentimental style is part of its originality.
Paul Krafel's years as a park ranger afforded him time to walk and think -- his job was to observe the world around him. Not surprisingly, he's now a teacher, engaged in cre