A picture of a Giant Tortoise mashing strawberries with his gums and large tongue, yet seemingly smiling for the camera got me hooked on reading about...moreA picture of a Giant Tortoise mashing strawberries with his gums and large tongue, yet seemingly smiling for the camera got me hooked on reading about this gentle giant, so I was ecstatic to see a whole book dedicated to this very animal. This non-fiction work gives the unique history of any connection throughout the years with Giant Tortoises. One realizes that though this slow lumbering species may seem plain, they are anything but, and each individual can live up to 200 years (maybe even more) making them historically wise and timeless (they are old but somehow have a captured a bit of the fountain of youth. Take me to their watering hole.). You can't imagine the places and people one Giant Tortoise can know.
There are interesting facts about Charles Darwin that gave me faith that with passion for one's work, new ideas are born and can succeed. Just a young lad upon the Ship The Beagle Charles Darwin had little experience. However, what he lacked in organization and experience he made up by using his given brains. He also noticed how spectacular Giant Tortoises are (which identifies his pure genius if you ask me).
Many people and events have crossed this species path. Some intentions were good and others were mean and ignorant, but the historical lessons in every detail is written here. Sometimes, the author repeats some of these details to make a further point, which was really the same point he had discussed earlier, and this played tricks with my mind. Had I read this before? Is this not the place I left off at? I finally figured out it was just the repetitious nature of a few statements that made some chapters a little dry. Sometimes though it showed the true human nature of the scientists discussed (life gets in the way of one's work sometimes).
Though dry in some areas, this is worth the read for those that love animals. Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin is also mentioned. Apparently his Tortoise Harriet had a mysterious history that left men guessing. She died in 2006.
Jumbo, the African Elephant, was Barnum and Bailey's Circus' greatest attraction and super star. Poor Jumbo, though loved by so many children/people h...moreJumbo, the African Elephant, was Barnum and Bailey's Circus' greatest attraction and super star. Poor Jumbo, though loved by so many children/people he lived rather a tragic life. As an animal lover this was hard for me to read but Chambers does a beautiful job at remaining fair to everyone involved. This covers Jumbo's whole life, his capture as a calf, stays with zoos, time with the circus and then his death. There are a lot of historical facts described besides Jumbo's life like about zoo practices, business, shipping of wildlife, and elephant hunters (which again was hard for me to read). He gives a great voice to Jumbo (elephants are very sensitive wonderful animals) and am glad for it. An interesting side note that does not give away story: The slang word "Jumbo" originated from Jumbo the elephant and his enormous size. So the next time I order a jumbo fry I will think of him. (less)