From Edna Susman
Author: Beethoven Ludwig van
Title: Animals in music [sound recording CD]
This 2-CD set is an excellent vehicle to introduce classical music to anyone unfamiliar with it, children or adults alike. Pieces included are taken from the early Baroque period to modern day. Some include the piece in its entirety such as “The Wasps: Overture” by Ralph Vaughan Williams and “Carnival of the Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens. Others, just the relevant movement is included such as from “Pictures at an Exhibition: no. 9 Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks” by Modest Mussorgsky, from “Peter and the Wolf, Op. 67:2, The Bird or Op. 67:3, The Duck” by Sergei Prokofiev, from “Tale of the Tsar Saltan: Suite, Op. 57 – Flight of the Bumblebee” by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and from “Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 114, D. 667, The Trout, Theme with Variations” by Franz Schubert to name just a few. Since often only parts of the entire piece are played, this is a wonderful sampling of music especially for those wanting to learn more about classical music.
From Margaret Mezzacapo
Topsy: the Startling Story of the Crooked-tail Elephant, P.T. Barnum and the American Wizard by Michael Daly
The title’s not kidding – the story is startling. I’m not sure which is worse, the fact that the story actually is true, or the fact that such massive cruelty to animals, dogs included, was sanctioned and swept under the rug. Reading this may change your viewpoint on a number of issues. It’s a well-researched, engrossing read.
From Jackie Cantwell
Author: Benjamin Mee
We bought a zoo
This is the remarkable true story of a successful journalist and married father of two who buys the dilapidated Dartmoor Zoo in southwest England. The book was made into a movie, in theatres now, starring Matt Damon. Benjamin is joined in this venture with his siblings and widowed mother, who sinks her inheritance into the purchase. Ever media-savvy, Ben lands a TV deal to film the park being prepared to be reopened for the public. This book has it all: a love story, exotic animals, impatient creditors, indifferent bankers, demanding government officials, and a ragtag crew of zookeepers. The most exciting parts are when the most dangerous animals (such as Sovereign the jaguar) escape or almost escape their enclosures. A fascinating section, which became known as the Day of the Dentist, was when a renowned animal dentist checked the teeth of all the animals in a marathon, costly session. The threat of danger always lurks, which makes the narrative so suspenseful. Will the park pass the inspection? Will it ever open to the public again? Will his family give up on his dream?