Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories

Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories was written by Sandra Markle.  It was published by Millbrook Press in 2009.

Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories is an inspiring and engaging nonfiction text.  It has something for many readers with different interests. It initially grabbed my attention because of the brightly colored hard-cover front.  It has an eye catching bright teal cover with photos of gorillas, sharks, cats and dogs.  Throughout the book, the photographs are appealing and graphic. They show, in good detail, what the text is about.

As expected, Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories is a book about different animals and how they rescued their owner, or another human.  There are nine stories, ranging from a guide dog leading his owner out of the North Tower on 9/11, to a gorilla saving a young boy who fell into the gorillas environment at a zoo, to a cat that woke his family up when there was a carbon monoxide leak in the house.  Each of these animals are the reason why someone is still living.

With each story, Markle appeals to our sense of humanity by telling the trying story of the family and what the animal did.  She then goes into facts expanding on the story.  For example, after telling the story of Roselle and David -- the dog who helped his owner out of the North Tower -- Markle went on to explain how a guide dog is trained.  She explains that dogs are chosen as puppies but don't really get into their training until they are about eighteen months old.  Once fully trained, they must go through their final exam. Unfortunately, about 35% of trained dogs don't pass the final exam and cannot be guide dogs.  They are then adopted out to families.

After telling the story of Binta Jua, the gorilla who saved a young boy who had fallen into her space at the zoo, Markle gave more information about how zoos help gorillas.  She explains that western Iowland gorillas are almost extinct and they are being raised in zoos to help their survival.  They breed the gorillas in multiple zoos to help raise the number of gorillas living in our world.

I was impressed with the setup as this book, as I thought it would appeal to many people.  Some are interested in the human story while others are fact based and enjoy learning about the different topics infused into the book.  With the appealing colors, graphic pictures and interesting information, this is a book I would keep around for my students and children.

If you would like to find Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories, you can look at Worldcat for the closest copy.

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