In one of her previous books, poet and nature writer Diane Ackerman observed: "Being ecstatic means being flung out of your usual self. When you're enraptured, your sesnse are upright and saluting." In this deliciously written volume, the author is ecstatic, and her readers will be too.

Ackerman draws together four essays originally published in The New Yorker. She wrestles an alligator in Florida and notes its look of relishing "a great big private chuckle." She listens to Merlin D. Tuttle who tells her, "Bats are really shy and winsome creatures who have just had bad press." Her press about them is good. She celebrates the whale kingdom in spritely fashion but is obviously enraptured by her close encounter with penguins in Antarctica. The Moon by Whale Light is poetic and illuminating nature writing at its best.