Rien Poortvliet is a famous Dutch artist and illustrator. A superb draftsman and colorist, he has another, even more enviable gift – a singular rapport with animals. In the text and pictures of this book, the artist and the naturalist speak with equal eloquence.
Living as he does in a rustic cottage, Poorvliet has long been a close observer of the comings and goings of wild creatures. He has his favorites, and he presents them here in full color and entrancing detail. Accompanying the charming and sensitive drawings and paintings are essays and captions that express Poortvliet’s special feeling for forest-dwelling animals. With gentle wit, unabashed love, and exceptional knowledge he explains the customs, habitats, physical features, and mating habits of boars, ducks, deer, rabbits, partridges, pheasants and foxes (a special favorite). As we meet Reynard the Fox, Poorvliet confides that his friend’s reputation for slyness and cunning is greatly exaggerated. Rather, the fox is discovered to be “terribly cautious and suspicious!” Revelations about the duck are even more sensational: in regard to mallards we are told that “no female duck is safe when she is outnumbered by a troop of drakes.”
A compendium of enlightened natural history, delicate observation, and creative fantasy, The Living Forest cannot fail to instruct and delight anyone who has the preservation and survival of wild creatures at heart and is sensitive to their beauty.