A Small Patch of Ground

Original title: Dans un carré de terre

Publication Date:

October 2021



Original language and publisher

French | L’Iconoclaste

Territories Handled

Netherlands, North America, Scandinavia


Animals & Nature

A Small Patch of Ground

Original title: Dans un carré de terre


Zoom in on a small patch of ground to understand and marvel at nature in our very own backyards.

Four seasons and thousands of interactions

This book studies a small patch of ground over the course of a year. Samuel Rebulard describes the life that teems in, on, and above the soil. All living things owe their existence to a handful of simple, universal principles: every life form must feed, reproduce, defend itself, and adapt to its environment. The greater the biodiversity, the healthier the ecosystem in an infinitely complex system of interactions.

Seeing and feeling

All year-round, the thick tangle of trees, plants, leaves, fungi, animals, and insects share a thousand tiny events. Take your magnifying glass, part the blades of grass, lift up leaves, and scratch the soil to see what usually lies hidden. Samuel Rebulard’s patch of ground is more than just a miniature landscape, it is an entire sensory realm. Walk, sit down, take your time, look, listen, feel, breathe in the smells. Feel the connection to the vaster, deeper realm at your feet. Gradually, you come to understand the endless mystery of the thin green crust, no more than a few meters deep, we call home.


  • Discover the fascinating natural processes at work in a single small patch of ground
  • Abundant photographs appropriate for all ages
  • A lively, accessible style that reads like a novel


“Beneath our daisies, a tangle of threads connects a few strands of grass. Taking a closer look, it might almost seem like a dome… teeming with life. Dozens of tiny spiders, no bigger than a millimeter, are waving their legs around in the spider nursery under the watchful gaze of their motionless mother, a Pisaura mirabilis soon to die. This is the final chapter in an adventure that began around a month ago. Pisaura makes a fascinating nuptial display. Like many spiders, the female occasionally practices sexual cannibalism, eating the male before, during, and after coupling. Male Pisaura tries to avoid their fate by offering nuptial gifts. They reduce their chances of ending up on the menu sixfold if they bring their partner a gift of silk. The ideal present is something to eat, usually a fly, wrapped in a silk cocoon. The male couples with the female as she unwraps and eats her gift. This can take several dozen minutes. Sometimes, the gift is a trick, and the female finds the cocoon empty. The male must then work quickly, as the silk wrapping will only keep the female busy for a few minutes”.

Marketing Information

  • Print run: 8,000 copies