Kirkus Reviews QR Code
MY TRAVELS WITH CLARA by Mary Tavener Holmes


by Mary Tavener Holmes & illustrated by Jon Cannell

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-89236-880-8
Publisher: Getty Publications

Spun from a true historical episode and illustrated with a mix of simply drawn cartoons and 18th-century prints and paintings, this affectionate memoir recalls visits to the great cities of Europe in the company of an exotic Indian rhinoceros. Raised as an indoor pet, gentle Clara was sold to Dutch sea captain (and narrator) Douwe Van der Meer, who brought her back to Rotterdam, had a special carriage built for her and exhibited her from Rome to Berlin. She became a celebrity, especially in Paris where “Claramania” led to new rhino-influenced fashions, art objects, hair styles—and even a formal, life-sized portrait. “I’m glad that the world had the opportunity to see Clara,” Douwe concludes. “Just as important, I’m glad that Clara could see the world.” Like Mary Jo Collier’s King’s Giraffe, illustrated by Stéfane Poulin (1996), this is an engaging animal story that also provides a glimpse of a time when Europeans were at last awakening to the world’s size and wonder. (Picture book. 7-9)