How to Be a Good Creature: A Memoir in Thirteen Animals
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Published:
HMH Books 2018
Lexile measure:
1000L
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Description

A New York Times bestseller! National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals—her friends—who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green. Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet's rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy's life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets. This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy's friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/25/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781328528230
ASIN:
B07897G947
Lexile measure:
1000
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Date Added:
Sep 21, 2018 15:21:39
Date Updated:
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        Researching films, articles, and over twenty books, Sy Montgomery has hiked the Altai Mountains of Mongolia looking for snow leopards, tracked tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea, and more. A National Book Award finalist, she has also been honored with a Sibert Medal, three honorary degrees, and many other awards.

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publishDate
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shortDescription

A New York Times bestseller!
National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals—her friends—who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green.

Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet's rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy's life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets.
This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy's friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we...

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title
How to Be a Good Creature
fullDescription

A New York Times bestseller!
National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals—her friends—who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green.

Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet's rarest and most beautiful animals. From tarantulas to tigers, Sy's life continually intersects with and is informed by the creatures she meets.
This restorative memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals—Sy's friends—and the truths revealed by their grace. It also explores vast themes: the otherness and sameness of people and animals; the various ways we learn to love and become empathetic; how we find our passion; how we create our families; coping with loss and despair; gratitude; forgiveness; and most of all, how to be a good creature in the world.

sortTitle
How to Be a Good Creature A Memoir in Thirteen Animals
crossRefId
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reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2018

        From tarantulas to tigers to tree kangaroos, National Book Award finalist Montgomery (The Soul of an Octopus) knows her animals, and she believes that understanding the furred, hoofed, finned, and feathered creatures with whom we share this earth can transform our lives. The 13 animal friends she cites here teach us empathy, passion, purpose, and how to build a family, among other values, and we also get insight into her work as a naturalist.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        June 11, 2018
        Naturalist Montgomery (The Soul of an Octopus) rekindles her dormant childhood desire to talk with animals in a narrative that shimmers with grace and wonder. Ten tales poignantly personify 13 critters both commonplace and exotic, from Tess the border collie and Chris the extroverted pig to spiders and octopuses. “Many young girls worship their older sisters.... was a dog, and I... wanted to be just like her: Fierce. Feral. Unstoppable,” Montgomery writes of Molly, her family’s Scottish terrier. Other animals she writes about live farther from home, and Montgomery tells of quitting a newspaper job to shadow emus in the Australian Outback and befriending a tarantula in the jungles of South America. In the cloud forest of Papua, New Guinea, she rediscovers “the wildness that keeps us sane and whole, the wild, delicious hunger for life.” Back on her New Hampshire farm, an ermine plundering the henhouse on Christmas offers a unexpected perspective on her difficult mother and a vivid dream of a deceased pet opens her heart to a new dog in need of rescue. Montgomery’s lyrical storytelling and resonant lessons on how animals can enhance our humanity result in a tender, intelligent literary memoir. Illus.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        June 15, 2018
        With plenty of heart, acclaimed naturalist Montgomery (The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness, 2015, etc.) makes the convincing case that all animals--great and small--can teach us compassion.Ever since her parents gave her a Scottie puppy, the author's fascination with the animal world has been insuppressible, and she made that obsession into a career writing about animals in more than 20 books. Montgomery's latest, however, is not merely an examination of one species, as in The Soul of an Octopus and other books. Here, the author looks at 13 of the most important animals in her life and how they changed her. There's the aforementioned Scottie, Molly, and three other beloved dogs, but there's also a pack of emus, a tarantula, and an octopus named Octavia. Each animal receives its own praiseful chapter. For instance, Clarabelle the tarantula is treated with wonder: "Most spiders, after injecting prey with paralyzing venom, pump fluid from their stomach into the victim to liquefy the meal, then suck it dry and toss the skin away. Tarantulas do it differently. Clarabelle ground up her food with teeth behind her fangs." Montgomery consistently depicts nature scenes with awe, and she occasionally borders on a preachy tone--but not often, and she also reveals certain details about her personal life, including her rocky relationship with her parents. In "The Christmas Weasel," Montgomery compares her difficult mother to an ermine. As she watched the furry white animal (its fur "seemed to glow, like the garment of an angel") after it attacked one of her hens, the author couldn't help but think of her mother's own ferocity: how she overcame poverty, learned to fly, got a job at the FBI, and married an Army officer. "Her achievement," writes the author, "was a feat as staggering as an ermine taking down a hen."The National Geographic channel meets memoir in this brief, compelling examination of what animals can teach us about ourselves.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: School Library Journal
      • content:

        September 1, 2018

        Gr 7 Up-When asked by a journalist what life lessons animals have taught her, acclaimed writer and naturalist Montgomery hardly skipped a beat in responding, "how to be a good creature." Here the award-winning author elaborates on what she has learned from the animals she has loved and studied. Unable to conform to her parent's idea of how a young daughter should behave, this only child in a military family found her closest ally and a beloved friend in her first dog, a rambunctious Scottish terrier named Molly, and it appears from there on in her destiny was sealed. The author has traveled the world and worked with animals in the remote locations under less-than-ideal, often physically challenging, situations. However, it was the death of two of her beloved pets and a profound depression, accompanied by suicidal thoughts, that nearly brought an end to Montgomery's career. What ultimately saved the writer was a return to work and the "wildness" of nature that she believes keeps us "sane and whole." As Montgomery demonstrates again and again, it's not only the "tools of inquiry and intellect" it's also "heart" that allows us to glimpse into a world that "is aflame with shades of brilliance we cannot fathom." VERDICT Filled with fascinating stories of encounters and relationships with animals in various locations, this moving memoir will leave readers thinking about life on Earth, the creatures we share the planet with, and that "brilliance" we have yet to fully understand.-Daryl Grabarek, School Library Journal

        Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

subtitle
A Memoir in Thirteen Animals
popularity
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publisher
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