Hear crisp sounds of the hornbill in the cool air.
Listen to the morning symphony that greets you as you enter the front gate.
Then, step onto a leafy path that leads to a secret world of animals, each of whom you won't want to forget, here at Zoo Atlanta.
Over five days we meet a menagerie of magnificent animals - pandas, elephants, gorillas, meerkats, flamingos and more - alongside the longtime animal lover, scientist, and researcher Caitlin O'Connell. With inside access to the guidance and knowledge of their beloved zoo caretakers and with stunning photographs, we are able to see the day-to-day marvels-and sometimes misfortunes-behind the animals' enclosures that often go unseen by the everyday zoo visitor.
In this example of narrative nonfiction at its best, O'Connell has created a bridge to wild, a rare chance to look beyond the zoo and to inspire guests to see for themselves just how special the animals we share our world with are.
I have to admit, my initial thoughts regarding this book were none-to-positive. My goal had been to use it was a read-aloud with my 10 year old son. It's not that sort of book.
I decided not to give up on it though to took to reading a chapter or two at a time and found it in the end to be quite enjoyable.
It was great to see the behind the scenes stuff. How scientists have to work hard to not anthropomorphize the animals they are studying AND not let their own opinions influence them.. to the extent they set up blind studies. How Meerkats are so territorial that to treat one you need to treat them all so that the sick one isn't booted out of the colony. How some animals, despite being captive bred for a long time retain their wild characteristics which makes them easy to release into the wild. Just fascinating stuff.
I am glad I persevered.
The copy I received was a reviewers edition. It was chock-full of images in black and white. The final copy will be in full colour, I can totally see it being a very interesting visual book filled with good commentary.