Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, by Amy Sutherland

In this nonfiction book Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched, by Amy Sutherland, the writer recounts her experiences of spending a year tracking students at Moorpark College's teaching zoo, where your daily activities consist of walking a camel, playing with big cats and having monkey poop thrown at you. When these students enrolled in the program given somewhat appropriate name EATM (Exotic Animal Training and Management), they had no idea that it would be one of the most intensely emotional and physically exhausting periods of their lives. However, this is THE place to be for anyone interested in a career with furry, feathered, or scaled creatures.

Being an animal enthusiast myself, I loved hearing every story of interactions between the student trainers and their trainees at the teaching zoo. The author does a great job of describing the events of EATM realistically but also comically at times, and it increased by interest in the animal training profession. I would recommend it to anyone from mature teens and older, for anyone who is consideting working alongside, or who simply loves, animals.

-Reviewed by Anonymous, grade 9.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Shark Life, by Peter Benchley

Shark life is a nonfiction book by the author of Jaws, Peter Benchley, that addresses some misconceptions about sharks and other creatures and is filled with exciting stories of Peter Benchley's own experiences with the animals of the ocean. He recounts some dangerous situations he has been in and how to avoid them as well. His encounters with marine life include being charged by a killer whale, rammed by a dolphin, caught underwater with a great white shark, and getting a free ride through the water on the back of a manta ray! All this is mixed with a strong environmental message indicating the need to preserve the world's oceans.

This book was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be, since I'm not really a shark person in the first place. I enjoyed hearing the many true stories included in Shark Life about Peter Benchley 's adventures with the animals, and it made me realize how complex and unpredictable the ocean can be. I would recommend it for anyone who is into the marine life.

-Reviewed by anonymous, grade 9.