A popular zookeeper and television host invites young readers to accompany him on a journey through the wilds of Africa that is brought to life with such images as playful cubs, swimming hippos, and rare mountain gorillas in the rain forest.
Grade 1-3-According to Hanna, a safari “…used to be a hunting trip to Africa, but these days it’s a journey to see and photograph all the fascinating animals that live there.” Leaving from Nairobi, Hanna and his crew locate a variety of creatures, including zebras, lions, and giraffes.
Landscapes and people round out the photographic journey. This personal account reads much like a family vacation scrapbook-extremely interesting to those involved and considerably less so to everyone else.
The full-color photographs are sometimes out of focus and over or under exposed. Composition also leaves something to be desired. Heads of animals and people are sometimes severed. The photo of ostriches is captioned “…they can run up to 40 miles an hour,” while the birds’ legs have been cropped out of the picture.
The text is equally lacking. Stilted language-” ‘Wow! It’s a leopard!’ I said”; “Boy, was I scared!”-alternates with didactic and often patronizing tones. With all the fine books available on Africa, this one is not a first choice.
Lisa Wu Stowe, Great Neck Library, NY. Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3^-5, younger for reading aloud. Hanna, director emeritus of the Columbus Zoo and host of a syndicated TV series, visits Kenya and Uganda to film the animals of Africa. The text is written in travelogue style, with crisp full-color photos covering the major part of each page. Readers will see everything from elephants protecting their young to yawning baboons to leopards resting in trees.
A visit to a Masai village showcases a bit of Kenyan culture. The safari successfully concludes with a long hike through thick vegetation in search of the elusive mountain gorilla. Elementary facts about individual species are included, as well as a plea for the preservation of endangered animals. The simple prose and handsome photos of familiar zoo animals make this book a good read-aloud for primary-grade listeners as well. Susan DeRonne