Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Andrew Bleiman, Chris Eastland
For ages 6 and up
Simon and Schuster, 2010   ISBN: 978-1439195314

Very few of us can resist baby animals. Even rather ugly looking baby birds lacking feathers are strangely cute, and as for fluffy and furry babies, well they turn even the hardest hearted person into mush. This book showcases a wide variety of zoo babies, giving us images of some of the world’s most adorable animal babies.

What makes this book special is that it is not just a collection of cute pictures. Each photo is accompanied by information about the animal species shown. These babies are all animal ambassadors. As they grow up in their zoo homes, we are able to study them, and develop conservation strategies to ensure that extinction does not lie in the future for their wild relatives. In some cases, the babies themselves represent hope for the future. Perhaps they will one day be a part of a reintroduction program and they will return to their wild roots. After all, “The more we know about animals, the more you can help to protect them.”

The Zooborn journey begins with Miracle Kitten, an ocelot baby that was born in 2008 in Beardsley Zoo in Connecticut. Miracle Kitten was born through artificial insemination and was “specifically conceived to bolster this rare species.”

The next baby comes from a rare endangered species as well. Meet Menari, a baby Sumatran Orangutan born in a New Orleans zoo. Only a few thousand of these intelligent apes survive in the wild.

Later on in the book we meet Miki, a baby beluga whale who was born in an aquarium in Chicago. These “canaries of the sea” really do sing, making all kinds of noises as they swim. In fact, they have such sensitive hearing that the whales in this aquarium mimic the sounds that scuba divers make they are swimming in the whale habitat.

Readers of all ages will love this very special little book. Young children can explore the photos, while older readers can enjoy reading the text as well.