What's New? The Zoo? is an illustrated overview of zoos that combines history with hard science and social science. Kathleen Krull outlines the history of zoos, and offers insight into what compels us to keep animals, what we've learned from them, and what has changed in zoos since the founding of the first known zoo,
4,400 Years Ago, The Sumerian City of Ur, in Present-Day IraqFrom this beginning, Krull highlights transitional moments in zoos throughout the ages and across the globe. Just a few examples include:
The king of beasts lunges and roars. The King of Ur roars right back, feeling like the ruler of all nature. How delicious to wield his power over dangerous animals! It's the world's first known zoo, and all we're sure about (from clay tablets in libraries) is that is has lions.
- Ancient Egypt and Rome where zoos were created to impress
- Ancient China where the zoo was a contemplative and sacred place
- Sweden where the science of zoology was established in 1735
- The U.S. National Zoo where the concept of zoos protecting threatened species was introduced
- South Africa's Kruger National Park where the protection of rhinos was so successful that rhinos were delivered to other zoos
- Germany, 1907, where the "cageless zoo" concept is introduced
On most pages, humorous, watercolor illustrations nestle around paragraphs of simple font against white space. Several pages, however (including one depiction of fifteen buffalo waiting for a train at Grand Central Station, 1907), are double-spreads with many amusing details.
The very talented Kathleen Krull never disappoints! If you like your science accessible and entertaining, this is the book for you.
A SLJ interview with Kathleen Krull on the history of zoos.