Overflowing with information, fascinating tales and thought-provoking information; give it to animal-loving middle graders...



With an eye toward documenting remarkable animal/human interactions, Campbell has assembled a large collection of fascinating anecdotes.

Following a somewhat scholarly foreword by animal researcher Marc Bekoff and a long introduction, the tales are divided into four sections: “Domestic Companions,” mostly chronicling lifesaving actions by pets; “Trained to Serve, Inspired to Heal,” about search dogs and various other kinds of animals trained to perform particular functions; “Wild  Saviors,” profiling unusual interactions between wild animals and humans; and “Legends and Folktales,” some describing the traditional folk basis for animal stories as well as others that “mix real life with exaggeration.” Each story is a page or two long, accompanied by an attractive black-and-white illustration by Beyer. Each animal is introduced with a text box that provides brief information about the nature of the event, including—an odd and silly touch—a “Fame Meter” that rates the animal from “Local Hero” (like Dory, a rabbit that saved its owner from a diabetic coma) up to “International Celebrity” (like Mkombozi, a dog that rescued a baby abandoned near Nairobi). One of the book’s strengths is the way events are evaluated in comparison to typical behavior or within the context of the emerging field of the study of animal minds.

Overflowing with information, fascinating tales and thought-provoking information; give it to animal-loving middle graders on up. (sources, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 11 & up)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-936976-62-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Zest Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 20, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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A fascinating and comprehensive analysis of the tragic decline of giraffes and the heroic efforts to reverse this trend.



Giraffes have been known to humans for millennia, and this book introduces this beloved species and the threats it faces.

Ancient petroglyphs of giraffes exist in Namibia, and giraffes’ striking features have been familiar in illustrations from ancient times to the present day. The scientific community widely assumed that they were abundant. However, a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature alerted scientists to a 40% decline in the number of giraffes in the wild between 1985 and 2015. The author describes the study of giraffes, beginning with field studies by pioneering Canadian biologist Anne Innis Dagg in the 1950s, and the gradual growth in understanding of giraffe subspecies, characteristics, and behavior that led to the discovery of their “silent extinction” and the movement to conserve and protect the species. The author systematically analyzes the reasons behind their declining population, which include animal predators, poaching, habitat loss, war, climate change, and trophy hunting. The book is engagingly designed, with color photographs, informative sidebars, detailed features such as those about giraffe taxonomy and the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, and information about conservation and rescue organizations.

A fascinating and comprehensive analysis of the tragic decline of giraffes and the heroic efforts to reverse this trend. (giraffe guide, glossary, source notes, selected bibliography, further information, index, photo credits) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3238-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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