In these spectacular photographs taken in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Maasai Mara Natural Reserve in Kenya, Anup Shah reveals African wildlife as never before, through the use of remote hidden cameras planted across the plains in Serengeti Spy.

Organized by season from January through December, here is life on the plains in all its dynamism and vitality. Readers find themselves literally face-to-face with hyenas and cheetahs as they feed on a kill; elephants communing at a watering hole; playful lion cubs; wildebeests hauling themselves out of a river; a leopard growling a warning; and inquisitive monkeys gazing at their reflections in the camera lens. Many of these animals have noticed the camera, to them an odd device that makes a strange clicking sound. Captions tell the story of the daily ebb and flow of life on the African plains.

These stunning photographs bring armchair travel to new level of up-close-and-personal in marvelous fashion.(description from publisher)


Perhaps I thought about this blogging assignment a bit less conventionally, because the pet I read about is, if you didn’t guess it from the title, a lion.   A Lion Called Christian by Anthony “Ace” Bourke and John Rendall tells the story of how the two men bought a male lion cub named Christian from a department store in London back in the ’70s (who knew they sold lions?!) and cared for him for several months.  For the bulk of this time, the guys and their lion lived above a furniture store, where Christian got to play and interact with the customers.  Ace and John learned how to train Christian, feed him, and play with him in a safe way.  As Christian got older and more restless, the two men knew that something had to change and found a way to move him to Africa after being “rehabilitated” and learning how to survive in the wild with a pride.

This book was very interesting and I learned a lot about lions from it.  Even though I’m sure Christian’s story is unusual, it was fun to hear about how lion cubs play and interact.  The end was very inspiring; it was clear that Ace and John had nothing but Christian’s best interests at heart.  Though I hate to spoil the ending of the book for you, I simply must direct you to this YouTube video.  It’s actually how I originally heard Christian’s story, and it’s really heartwarming.

One of the great things about watching the Olympics this year is that it gave us a brief glimpse into a country many of us are not familiar with. Still distant, exotic and unknown, the country of China is as diverse as it is vast. You can get an even closer look at the beauty of the land, its wildlife and its people in Wild China, now available at the Davenport Library.

The landscape of China varies dramatically, from the peaks of the Himalayan mountains, to tropical islands, to deserts both hot and cold. Animal and plant life unique to this land – including panda bears – are highlighted as well as the many, long-standing environmental preservation efforts by the country. China is also home to a large number of ethnic peoples and they are also celebrated here – monks at prayer, children in a classroom, fishermen at work.

With stunning photography and expert narration, this BBC production invites you into this beautiful country for more than six hours, time you wish wouldn’t end.