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Showcasing her range

NO SWEAT

Little Things in a Big Country Hannah Hinchman W. W. Norton, $25.95

March 23, 2004|Susan Dworski

Turn a gifted, "aging, single, unrepentant environmentalist" artist loose for a year on western Montana's Front Range armed with an artillery of pens and watercolors and a keen naturalist's eye and you've got a flat-out beaut of a book. Handwritten and illustrated throughout in colors ranging from sizzling to shy, it's an intimate journal of two pals, a woman (Hannah) and her dog (Sisu) and what they turn up poking around in some of America's last wild country.

A more inquisitive pair of comrades-in-rambles would be hard to find. Together they skirt hidden sandhill crane nests, watch amorous waterstriders, marvel at migrating swans. Hinchman's pen is everywhere, detailing the smallest natural event. Not even the shadow of bees' wings in a snowdrift escapes her eye. Humorous, insightful, personal, this is nature journaling at the highest level, an exhilarating spy hole into the wilderness by an alchemical artist-writer.

--Susan Dworski

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