"Rich, wide-ranging reading for budding naturalists." - Kirkus
For two young mountain lions born in central California, where cityscape meets wilderness, life isn't easy. Soon after their mother leaves them to fend for themselves, a dominant male puma attacks, sending them running. The brother who dashes across a treacherous highway is hit by a truck and killed. The brother who hides up a tree survives. And so the journey begins.
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey follows the lone brother, who local scientists tag as C-8, as he navigates what humans have done to the landscape.
Drawing from meticulous research, conservation scientist Tiffany Yap weaves together many diverse animal and human stories, celebrating the beauty and wonder of ecology, interconnectivity, and representation. With artist Meital Smith's spectacular illustrations in the rich gold and earth tones of central California, this debut graphic novel inspires and teaches us what it means to share and protect this earth together.
Rich, wide-ranging reading for budding naturalists.
Cougars avoid the sound of humans talking but aren't bothered by frog sounds? Coyotes and badgers sometimes hunt together? An ube donut with toasted coconut is really a thing? These are just a few fantastic facts the reader will learn from Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey.
Through the dynamic chemistry of Yap's deep knowledge of biodiversity and human diversity and Smith's engaging images, the reader is invited to explore the world of C-8, a brave and curious cougar that transects the beauty and danger of natural and man-made habitats.
A must-read for young scientists, those who love to nerd out about biodiversity, like me, and simply anyone who cares about living in a flourishing world, Tales of the Urban Wild sheds light on how humans and our natural world interact in both seen and unseen ways and compassionately and inclusively teaches us how to be better stewards of wildlife and the natural environment and better caretakers for our beloved pets, livestock, and children.
Together Yap and Smith remind us of two inextricable messages: When biodiversity thrives, we all thrive, and when human diversity thrives, we all thrive.
–Marcelo Bonta, cofounder of the Center for Diversity & the Environment and cofounder of Environmental Professionals of Color
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey combines everything that I love: animals, science, beautiful illustrations and a compelling narrative. This book is so rich in detail about the puma and its ecosystem, and I enjoyed getting a behind-the-scenes look at how scientists study them. I especially admired how Yap and Smith portray the puma's interactions with humans, showing, for example, non-violent solutions to prevent conflict with landowners, which to me demonstrates a compassion to animals and people that I rarely see in conservation stories.
–Eli Chen, science audio journalist
A book about animals and plants? WITH PICTURES?! Yes, please! Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey is a beautifully illustrated novel with an urgent message about the survival of pumas and wildlife. Yap and Smith illuminate the important connections between human expansion and ecosystems. Easy to understand and packed with interesting facts, this book is a must-read for anyone who loves nature.
–Sheng Wang, stand-up comedian
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey is a deep dive into the lives of North America's most elusive cat. Yap and Smith bring to life the recent scientific literature about pumas in an easily accessible yet thorough novel that takes the reader through new discoveries about puma natural history, behavior, and conflict with people. I would gladly recommend this book to both newcomers to the mysterious world of the puma and to my graduate students studying puma ecology alike!
–Chris Wilmers, professor of wildlife ecology at UC Santa Cruz and director of the Santa Cruz Puma Project
Tales of the Urban Wild: A Puma's Journey will speak to all Californians for its beautiful yet haunting look into the nature that surrounds us. At the very least, it will check "crying because of a mountain lion" off the literary bucket list.
–Laura Gao, author of Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American