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Small Wonder

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It comes as no surprise to regular visitors of Kingsolver’s wild kingdom of novels like Animal Dreams and The Poisonwood Bible that the best-selling writer of this lambent collection of essays is so much who she is: a reverent naturalist in love with the earth and against the intrusion of cable TV, a keen reporter on the local doings of hummingbirds and daughters, and a poet who ardently laments the global miseries of war and homelessness. A reader in the wrong mood might impatiently brush away some of the flakier granola crumbs that come with the territory in these 23 essays, skipping the whither-the-world psalms inspired by Sept. 11. But Small Wonder glows with Kingsolver’s honest literary language of enchantment, and with an eye for details of the living planet that Gerard Manley Hopkins might admire. A