Zoo Scientists to the Rescue
by Patricia Newman, photographs by Annie Crawley
Millbrook Press, 2018
Written in kid-friendly terms, this book provides a fascinating, in-depth look at how zoo scientists are helping orangutans, black-footed ferrets and black rhinos, three animals on the Critically Endangered list.
Meredith Bastian studied orangutans in the field for several years, observing behaviors from the moment they woke, until they laid down to sleep. Her data has helped orangutans in both the wild and in zoos. She later worked at the Philadelphia Zo to integrate conservation into its operation.
Jeff Baughman helps manage the revival of the almost extinct black-footed ferret. In 1981 130 ferrets were discovered and Jeff is instrumental in expanding the population and returning it to the wild.
Rachel Santymire studied black rhinos in Africa to learn how to help them in zoos and in the field. Rachel specializes in studying ‘poop’, which provides invaluable information about their lives.
The book also provides zoo history, conservation, and career information about zoo scientists. The photos are outstanding and draw in both young and adult readers.
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Winnie, The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh
by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by Jonathan D. Voss
Henry Holt and Company 2015
A must have book for Winnie-the-Pooh lovers! This book tells of how Winnie-the-Pooh came to be!
In the early 1900’s, Harry Coleman, a service veterinarian (for horses), discovered a small bear cub at a train station. He learned the bear’s mother had died, and the old man sitting with her was wanting to sell the bear. $20 later the bear boarded the train with the vet! Harry immediately named the bear Winnipeg, where the vet was stationed. When he was transferred to London, for World War I, Winnie went with him. When he was transferred to the front lines, Winnie was housed in the London Zoo. Because the bear was so friendly, people often joined the bear in his quarters. One day a special boy visited him—Christopher Robin! His dad watched the boy’s fascination with the bear, and began making up bedtime stories for his son. Those eventually became the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.
The art and the story are beautiful. The book includes old photos of the real Winnie, Christopher Robin and author A.A. Milne.
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My Heart is Like a Zoo
By Michael Hall
Greenwillow Books, 2009
My Heart is Like a Zoo bursts with vivid colors, fresh rhymes and twenty-one zoo animals cleverly illustrated with hearts. More than three hundred hearts in the book! Fresh metaphorical rhymes act as directional signs in a zoo, enticing a reader deeper and deeper into the animal menagerie. Each rhyme depicts an aspect of the heart, such as ‘eager’, ‘hopeful’, and ‘rugged’. Early readers learn affirmations of the heart. They learn about animals, how to find shapes and they practice counting. The book finished with the ‘zookeeper’ happily tuckered out while his zoo animals wait on the shelf for the next day of play.
Author/illustrator Michael Hall uses sixteen hearts to illustrate, “…quiet as a caterpillar wearing knitted socks.” He uses another sixteen hearts to illustrate “…bothered as a bull with a hornet in its hair.” Hall is a professional graphic designer, and it shows in his work. His images are simple, yet compelling. Each one comes to life on the page. Children with an artistic or engineering sense will study each animal to see how hearts can be transformed into animals. This is Hall’s first children’s book, and we’re sure to see many more books from this talented writer/illustrator.
Originally published in San Francisco Book Review
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A Sick Day for Amos McGee
By Philip C. Stead, Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press 2010
This is one of those quiet stories that goes straight to the heart; it sold well beyond original expectations.
The story is about Amos McGee, a zookeeper, and the animals he cares for. Some animals are shy, some are afraid of the dark and some like to read, all characters in which a child can find him or herself. One day Amos stays home sick. After waiting and waiting for Amos, the animals bus to his house—yes the elephant and rhinoceros, too! They come in and spend their day with Amos. After a cup of tea and bed time story, they pile in Amos’ room and all go to sleep. A perfect book to quiet a child, a perfect book for a sick child.
The illustrations match the book’s tone and humor and won the Caldecott Medal and Best Illustrated Children’s Book Award.
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