Fur, Fins, and Feathers: Abraham Dee Bartlett and the Invention of the Modern Zoo / written and illustrated by Cassandre Maxwell. 3.30.2016

Eerdmans Books ISBN 9780802854322

PRI Grades 1 to 4 Rating: 5

Interesting, colorful, and informational describes Fur, Fins, and Feathers well. Cassandre Maxwell’s biography of the inventor of the modern zoo captivates the young reader while providing much to linger in while at the same time imparting the reality that the happiness of animals is important.

The charming illustrations and engaging endpapers bring to life the story of Abraham Dee Bartlett’s love of animals and how he became “the walking animal encyclopedia.” Maxwell’s softly colored and cut-paper collage illustrations attract attention and make the animals the focal point of these spreads.

As a non-fiction picture book, this has just the right amount of information per page with layout so pleasing that one appreciates use of space and respect for illustrations. The unusual illustrations will capture children’s attention—cover, endpapers, and quotations related to the story along with the colorful artwork. The information about Abraham Dee Bartlett is probably little known, but his life and contributions to the modern zoo are intriguing and will likely enable children to gain new appreciation for zoos.

Leroy Hommerding, CLJ