CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 6 . . . .November 12, 2004
From the word 'amazing' in its title, to the intriguing list of chapter headings (eg. Petrel Puke and Headless Kittiwakes) and on through up-close and personal experiences with nature, this book delivers on its promise. Naturalist Brian Keating recounts "the scariest day of my life" as he's almost eaten by lions in Zimbabwe, the malodorous discovery of a captured petrel's defense mechanism, the serenity of an Arctic night with only wolves for company. His engaging writing style places readers squarely in the midst of the action and creates an irresistible sense of wonder:
Ten adventures await readers as Keating takes them "around the world" to a secret watering hole in Zimbabwe where lions and wild dogs roam, the outback in Australia, mountainous islands in Norway, a rainforest in Guyana that is home to more than 50 bat species, both of the world's polar regions, a national park in Borneo, and the Galapagos. Readers can spend a night absorbing the sights and sounds in a hippo sanctuary. If readers aren't already fascinated by and concerned for the natural world, this book will have them itching to become involved in wildlife conservation.
In his introduction, Keating shares his personal awakening, at age 12, at the sighting of a scarlet tanager. A dedicated birder ever since, his career as a naturalist led to his current job as Director of Calgary Zoo's Conservation Outreach program that tackles projects worldwide. Each anecdote presents four pages of richly-detailed description, Keating's (and wife, Dee's) superb photos and sidebars to define challenging vocabulary or zero in on little known aspects of the animals' behavior. Readers are treated to a peek at 'Brian's Notes": "Borneo's so-called 'pygmy' or 'dwarf' elephants are said to be smaller, tamer, and better-tempered than their cousin on mainland Asia and Sumatra."
There is no down-side to this book. A Teacher's Guide is provided for the Grade 5-7 curriculum. A list of conservation organizations and websites will satisfy a young reader's urge to learn more. Going Wild was hard to put down, but the best part is knowing this is only the first in a series of eight titles.
BC's Gillian Richardson is a freelance writer and former teacher-librarian.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.