Tuesday, April 15
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Central 9am-9pm
East 10am-6pm
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Check It Out

Courier Article by DeeDee Shoemaker
Sunday, July 20, 2008

Domestic Travel

If you're staying close to home this summer but don't want to miss the pleasure of planning a trip, you're in for a treat at your neighborhood public library. Pick any local attraction to visit, and you'll find books to enrich your experience. Locate them on our online catalog at www.evpl.org, and, while you're there, take a look at the library's subscription to Novelist Plus, an easy-to-use source of great recommendations for reading on just about any subject.

Thinking about spending a day at the zoo? Zoo stories from our collection will take you around the world while adding to your appreciation for what's right here in Evansville.

The top visited tourist site in the small Central American country of Belize is the Belize Zoo. Operating as a scientific research institution and animal rehabilitation hospital, the zoo is home to over a hundred injured, abandoned, and orphaned animals, all from within the country's borders. Plumage and pelts aside, the most colorful character in residence is the zoo's founding director, an American expatriate named Sharon Matola. The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman's Fight to Save the World's Most Beautiful Bird is author Bruce Barcott's highly readable chronicle of this charismatic, controversial naturalist's crusade against environmental degradation in the Macal River Valley, the last refuge for the region's vanishing endangered species.

Two recently published books recount the horrors of war visited on zoo animals and their caretakers. South African game preserve owner and conservationist Lawrence Anthony tells the hair-raising tale of his Iraq war zone experiences in Babylon's Ark: the Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo. Having already encountered considerable difficulty and danger while making his way into besieged Baghdad, Anthony arrived at the zoo to find much of it destroyed in battle, many animals stolen, maimed, or killed and eaten, the staff scattered and traumatized. This is the story of how, despite daunting challenges, the zoo became the first successful reconstruction project in the city, thanks to the combined courage and compassion of American soldiers, international volunteers, and Iraqi citizens.

Best-selling writer Diane Ackerman brings the fervor of a naturalist to her lyrical account of the Warsaw Zoo during the World War II German Occupation of Poland. Zoo directors Jan and Antonina Zabinski watched helplessly as Nazi pillaging and hunting of the resident animals reduced the beautiful, much loved attraction to a near-empty shell. The Zabinskis then, with extraordinary intelligence and courage, used the facility to assist over 300 inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto escape to freedom. Based on Antonina's diaries, The Zookeeper's Wife: a War Story is literary nonfiction at its most compelling.

Everyday heroics make up the overriding theme of The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes and Other Surprising True Stories of Zoo Vets and Their Patients, edited by veterinarians and educators Lucy H. Spelman and Ted Mashima. This assemblage of recollections from twenty-nine doctors who devote themselves to the treatment of wild animals provides insiders' views of a remarkable profession. A deformed giraffe, an abused white-tailed deer fawn, an ailing dung beetle, a travel-weary whale shark: each animal in this enlightening and entertaining book has found a veterinarian champion devoted to its well-being and to that of the natural world.