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In the Belly of an Ox: The Unexpected Photographic Adventures of Richard and Cherry Kearton
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In the Belly of an Ox: The Unexpected Photographic Adventures of Richard and Cherry Kearton

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  77 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Raised in the moorlands of Yorkshire, Richard and Cherry Kearton developed a boyhood fascination with nature that fostered their great desire to photograph it.  Together the brothers invented ingenious camouflage "hides" (including one inside the belly of an ox) in order to get closer to their subjects of birds. After three years, the brothers published the first natural h ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published November 16th 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.21  · 
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 ·  77 ratings  ·  33 reviews

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Jul 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: photography, picture

Bond's casual, sketchy style of illustration is completely wrong for a story about black and white close-up nature photography. But other than that, no complaints. It is a fascinating story, and one probably not well-known, and well-told.

The Kearton's were brothers, self-taught photographers, who in their spare time devised all sort of cunning disguises and hiding places so they could get near bird nests without disturbing them. Their photography was ground-breaking and also widely influenced pu
Mar 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bond presents a fascinating look at early nature photographers Richard and Cherry Kearton. The gentlemen went to great lengths to shoot (not literally) birds in their nests, and later published a book on the subject. To put their subjects more at ease, the gentlemen hid in hay mounds, hollowed out tree trunks, and even within the belly of a taxidermied ox.

The author's watercolor illustrations are lovely, and idyllic, perfectly capturing a blissful English countryside. There are also two pages of
Lisa Vegan
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: bird lovers; budding naturalists; nonconformists; nature photographers; everybody
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
This author-illustrator did an outstanding job with this book.

The pictures are gorgeous, and informative too. There are real photos taken by the Kearton brothers at the end of the book, and notes about what they did with their later lives, and a quote each by them. I love Cherry’s quote about himself so much that I’m quoting the crux of it: “There are some people…who are represented by pegs of such irregular shape that neither a square hole nor a round one will ever accommodate itself to them. F
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Picture-Book Readers Who Enjoy Biography or Are Interested in Nature Photography
Brothers Richard and Cherry Kearton were raised on a farm in Yorkshire, and grew up attuned to the natural world around them. From birds' nests to spiders' webs, they "marveled at the architecture of living things," and sought to unravel the puzzle of the world around them. When necessity forced them to London, where they both went to work for Cassell Publishing House, they took to spending all of their weekends in the country, indulging in a new hobby: the photography of birds and their nests. ...more
Vicki Kier
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-child
Breathtaking in every sense, inspiring prose and soft, predominately blue-brown watercolor illustrations combine to faithfully tell the story of brothers Richard and Cherry Kearton, creators of the first-ever nature book to be exclusively illustrated with photographs. In the Belly of an Ox highlights some of the ingenious techniques and elaborate "hides" the brothers devised to capture images of eggs, birds and nests in their natural surroundings. Author/illustrator Rebecca Bond's intermittent u ...more
Renee Wallace
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning book this is! Yes, as another reviewer put it, the cover does draw the reader into the book, and it just keeps getting better from there! This book is suitable for mid-to-upper elementary, and really, for any child who feels he may be a "square peg"--and please see Cherry Kearton's comment on that, at the end of the book! Rebecca Bond did a fantastic job on the story, making it informative and interesting, and her illustrations are amazing. My wish is that every "square peg" out ...more
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: informational
This book talks about the process Richard and Cherry Kearton went through to develop a method of photography that enabled them to capture photos of birds without disturbing them or their nests in any way. While it is informational, the material is presented in a way that captures and holds young readers' interest. Children will find it intriguing and funny that the brothers hid in plain sight, often having to hold poses for long periods of time in strange locations, such as a wooden-framed "ox" ...more
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. What wonderful adventures these two brothers shared and what wonderful contributions they made to the world of natural history.
Fascinating book about two naturalists
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
My 7-year-old and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this together. Nonfiction about 2 British brothers that photographed birds and their nests in the late 1800s-early 1900s. Quirky and delightful.
bet mercer
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
fascinating story about two brothers who created the first nature book consisting entirely of photographs
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The perfect balance of fun, illustration and history.
Library Lady Terri
What a great story of never giving up and trial and error. These boys had a passion but didn't always know how to make it happen. They tried and tried again to figure everything out. ...more
Hannah Shaffer
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I love this picture biography and the beautiful watercolor illustrations!
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: storytime
This book is nonfiction, but it would work really well for a storytime. The pictures are good and the story is easy to follow
May 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is about two brothers growing up and doing what they want to do for a career together. They decide to build hide outs and photograph birds, and their nests. The create the first bird nature book in Britain.
I loved this book! It shared some of Britain's history in a clever way. The pictures were a little blurry, but they were effective in telling this story because the reader didn't really know what these brothers were really doing until the very end of the book.
I would use this book t
Richard and Cherry Kearton - brothers, cap-wearers, English guys - loved the outdoors, and they loved taking pictures. They published the very first natural history book illustrated with photographs instead of drawings. How can I put this without sounding boring?

Their work democratized the study of nature in England and abroad. Ok that does sound boring. But it's not.

I get ramped up on Pink Me: http://pinkme.typepad.com/pink-me/200...
Jess Brown
I'd never heard of Richard and Cherry Kearton, eager British photographers who started a new age in natural science by photographing nature without disturbing it. They were known to go to extreme lengths to obtain these photographs, including hiding in an old ox skin stretched on a frame in order to allow nature to unfold. The book is interesting and well-illustrated. Best for an older elementary audience. ...more
Ricardo Guerreiro
May 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Short illustrated (hi)story of the Kearton brothers, their ingenious ways to photograph animals in a time where technology was very limited and their work came to inspire people to appreciate and conserve nature. I felt the simple text captions and the nice watercolours, enjoyable and didactic for both the adult and the child. Ends up with a nice set of photographs, of the Kearton's themselves at work in the field and some of their accomplishments. ...more
Michele Maitland
May 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
"There are some people -- and I myself am one of them -- who are represented by pegs of such irregular shape that neither a square hole nor a round one will ever accomodate itself to them. For such people life can carry little happiness except except in the rare instances when they are able to carve out an entirely new-shaped hole, never before thought of, but exactly fitting their peculiarities. Fortunately for myself, I was able to do that." Cherry Kearton (1871-1940) ...more
The story of two English brothers who combined photography and their love of nature to create the first nature book ever. This picture book relates their story in a kid-friendly way: readers will be intrigued by the brothers' various camoflage tricks and all the work they put into their project. Delightfully, the book closes with the actual photos, a nice and informed feature after getting to know their story. ...more
Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: librarians the world over
You had me at the 6 panel, 2 page spread.

This book is a package deal. Everything is united in the design- plot, illustration, color scheme... Very polished, very well-done.

It's just understated enough to miss the awards buzz, but a higher quality book (both in writing and word-text integration) would be hard to find.
Benjamin Kelien
This book started slow for me. It told the story of two brothers that took it upon themselves to create the first birdwatching media guide. They did this by countless hours of concealing themselves in different places. Overall this book was good but I thought it was better if the student may be interested in photography. The grades I would recommend this for are 4th and 5th grade.
Valerie Midkiff
The story of the Kearton brothers who published the first book of nature photos called British Birds' Nests in 1895. They grew up the countryside of Yorkshire in England. They moved as young men to London to work in a publishing house. On weekends, they would return to the countryside and photograph everything especially the birds. That turned into a photography career! ...more
Michael Fitzgerald
Mar 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Interesting story of two figures hitherto unknown to me. A serendipitous check-out partner to The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon ...more
Feb 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Two brothers come up with unique ways to photograph birds.
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Boring. Pictures of birds? Coale was still thrilled with train book.
May 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lovely book for older children about the Yorkshire brothers who came up with clever ways to disguise themselves so they could photograph nesting birds.
Camille Tesch
Sep 24, 2016 marked it as to-read
England ages 4-6
Mar 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My nature loving 8 year old and I were captivated.
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