Tuesday, December 9, 2008

MOTHER TO TIGERS (Helen Delaney Martini)

MOTHER TO TIGERS by George Ella Lyon, illustrated by Peter Catalanotto
(Farrar Straus Giroux)
Helen Delaney Martini had three babies...baby tigers, that is! When her husband, a zookeeper at the Bronx zoo brought home animals that needed special care, they thrived under Helen's loving touch. When the tigers grew up, she realized there would always be zoo babies who needed nurturing, and started the first zoo nursery! "Before Helen arrived, no tiger born at the zoo ever survived. She raised twenty seven." So the next time you visit the big cats in the zoo, just think, that they may be grandcubs of Helen's wards! This compelling picture book biography of the Bronx's zoo's first woman zookeeper will touch the heart of any animal lover, and is accented with dramatic illustrations in torn paper panels. (7 and up)


Lisa said...

This is a VERY special book! Beautifully written with amazing illustrations! You'll think about it long after you've read it.

Sherrie Lieber Pasarell said...

So- she is not a fictional character! Years ago, when I was very little, my father used to tell me stories about this wonderful Helen Martini-- how she cared for baby animals--.

Over the years that came to mind.
however, only now it dawned on me to look up her name- sure enough, my father's stories were reality based.

I'm 62 years old now, but I never forgot the general concept: A great connection between humans and our fellow animals..!

George Ella Lyon said...

Thank you so much for featuring my book! It was a thrill to find this in my inbox this morning. Knowing your work, it is especially meaningful that you chose to highlight minr13.

Sherrie Pasarell, I'm curious to know how your father knew about Helen Martini. Did he work at the Bronx Zoo?

Sherrie P said...

George Ella Lyon:

Hello again! This is the first time I'm seeing your mail here-- probably because g-mail is new to me. I have only used yahoo mail 'til recently.

My father never did work at the Bronx Zoo. He did, however, take me there often when I was a child, more years ago than I can even fathom.

I doubt I ever knew exactly how Dad came to learn about Ms. Martini. my guess is that he had read about her. His admiration for the work she did was apparent in the tone of his voice as he told me the stories.

By the way, those stories all seemed to be off the top of his head-- nothing in print. Maybe he had read articles(?), -newspapers/magazines/zoo info?

Most unfortunately, Dad passed on 5 years ago, so I can't really ask him...

In any case, I look forward to reading "Mothers to Tigers"soon.