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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Strange Creatures - Lita Judge

Released February 2011

Reviewed by Bob Walch

The remarkable true story of  the heir to a huge banking fortune who decided to devote his life to collecting exotic animals rather than increasing the family’s fortunes, Strange Creatures is a book readers five and older will find fascinating, as will their parents.

Walter Rothschild was a shy, retiring child who barely spoke. At the age of seven he saw his first circus parade and that event so excited the youngster that he told his parents he wanted to make collecting animals a career.

Soon a few kangaroos, a wallaby and a couple of kiwis were calling the Rothschild estate home.  Although he agreed to eventually go into the family banking business, Walter never lost his fascination with exotic animals.
He began funding expeditions to faraway places and started a museum of the specimens that came from all over the world.

As the collection grew, his family gave him land to construct a museum that became the largest zoological collection ever gathered by one individual.  Still in existence, the Natural History Museum at Tring in Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, is visited by thousands of people each year.

A captivating story with excellent illustrations, this picture book is a testament to the courage and determination of a little boy who never lost sight of his dream, even in the face of his family’s initial opposition, and saw that dream become a reality.

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