Animalographies

Here they are!

Two new books to whet your nonfiction palate. (um…ewww).

They are perfect additions to school libraries if I do say so myself (and I just did.)

Here’s what Booklist had to say about Spidernaut:

Everyone knows about human astronauts, but what about other intrepid space travelers? Arabella was one of two orb spiders sent into space in 1973, making the pair the first official arachnid astronauts. She traveled to Skylab 3 in order for scientists to study a zero-gravity environment’s effect on web spinning. Arabella gets to narrate her own adventures via a dated diary, adorably admitting to a terrible initial spinning attempt but eventually reveling in her successes. She also gamely expounds upon the discoveries that the scientists made about the effects of space on spiders, imparting general arachnid facts along that way. This title in the Animalographies series (2 titles) takes a clever approach, and the cheerful, textured illustrations make the spiders—and space—a thing of beauty. It’s one small step for a spider, one giant leap for science and spider-kind.”

Booklist, September 30 (bold is mine)

Here’s what Kirkus reviews had to say about Beautiful Jim:

An educated horse tells his own story.  

Jim was meant to be a racehorse, but he is born awkward. Jim’s “human,” William “Doc” Key, is a Black man who was born into slavery and educated alongside the White children on the plantation. Jim relates how Doc loved to read about animal medicine and became so skilled at it that he was often called upon to treat animals on farms and even humans. When slavery ended, Doc prospered as a veterinarian. After Jim’s birth in 1889, Doc and his wife notice Jim’s remarkable intelligence, and Doc spends time teaching Jim the alphabet and numbers. Jim learns so many impressive skills that he and Doc take their show on the road and astonish audiences, including presidents and visitors to the 1904 world’s fair. Jim can spell, sort mail, use a telephone, and solve arithmetic problems. But the presentation is not just for show. Doc believes that the only skills needed to train animals are patience and kindness, and he hopes that seeing Jim’s intelligence will influence people to treat animals kindly. The text is written as a first-person narrative from the horse’s point of view, with occasional “diary” entries from particular locations and years. This style works well to draw readers into the story and to reinforce the idea that animals have feelings. The grainy, speckled texture of the illustrations gives them a slightly unfinished appearance, but the settings and characters are endearing and engaging. 

A fascinating story.

Kirkus Reviews September 15 (bold is mine)

There will be two more Animalographies coming out in the spring.

Enjoy!

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