Awesome African Wildlife
By Sarah Clark Powdermaker
From the savannas, woodlands and deserts of East and southern Africa, the author of this informative and readable book has captured over 50 species of wildlife in a summary verse and short article. A gifted southern African artist has painted a watercolor illustration for each.
Most major groups of African wildlife are represented in this marvelous menagerie and loosely organized under seven whimsical sub-titles. For example, the desert-adapted oryx and subterranean naked mole-rat share space with the water-dependent Nile crocodile in "Some Like It Hot and Dry, Others Go Wet."
In describing each animal's characteristics, the author focuses on its adaptations for survival, such as the bushbaby's eyes and the aardwolf's digestive system. She recounts fascinating behaviors, many based on her own observations, and draws on African folktales for explanations of other behaviors, such as oxpeckers' preference for giraffes. She also refers to the roles of some of the wildlife symbolized in Egyptian mythology.
Awesome African Wildlife is intended for a general readership, including older children. It contains a color satellite map of Africa, a reading list and a table of metric and US measurements. Scientific names are given for further reference. A unique feature is a copy of an 1864 photograph from the London Zoo of a quagga, the zebralike animal that is now extinct.
Interesting, wide-ranging and sprinkled with humor, this book rests on the serious theme of conservation. As the author writes in the Preface:
"This is only a sampling, but it has a large goal: to whet readers' interest in learning more about African wildlife so that the wildlife will ultimately benefit. Greater knowledge will lead to greater appreciation of this matchless natural resource, and if it is valued, it will, hopefully, be preserved."
"I'm very favorably impressed with the writings and the content. The author has included a surprising amount of information briefly and entertainingly." -- Richard D. Estes, author, "The Behavior Guide to African Mammals."
About the Author
Sarah Clark Powdermaker, a former college English teacher and a textbook author, lived for 18 years in East and southern Africa, researching and observing wildlife in the abundant parks and reserves. She and her husband now live in Maine.
Nonfiction. $24.95, 8" x 8", Full color, 230 pages, paperback, ISBN 1-931807-12-4
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