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SAVING THE BAGHDAD ZOO by Kelly Milner Halls


A True Story of Hope and Heroes

by Kelly Milner Halls with William Sumner

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-177202-3
Publisher: Greenwillow

Loaded with reader appeal, these tales of animal rescue focus on the animals but also provide some insight into what Baghdad was like in the wake of the U.S. invasion. Basing her account on numerous interviews—notably with co-author Sumner, then a Captain in the U.S. Army 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, who led international efforts to recapture and safely house wild animals held in the city’s zoos—Halls tracks multiple forays into devastated areas in search of creatures that were often starving, thirsty and trapped in hideous conditions. Each outing presented different challenges, from a bear given so much alcohol by drunken zookeepers that it was immune to anesthetic darts to more than a dozen hugely valuable Arabian racehorses held in a compound guarded by probably armed thieves. That's not to mention the difficulties of transport past snipers, providing medical care and finding proper food for pelicans, lions, camels and others. The narrative downplays violence in favor of success stories; that upbeat tone and the many bright, engaging color photos will leave younger audiences more pleased than disturbed. (source notes; introduction and epilogue by the co-author) (Nonfiction. 10-12)