Friday, March 17, 2017

Animal Ark

   How do you keep a love of animals alive on the printed page, in a high tech world? By combining excellent, awe inspiring photographs of animals with poetry by an award winning author.

   Animal Ark is the work of photographer  Joel Sartore and author Kwame Alexander, who won the 2015 Newbery award for his book  Crossover, a novel in verse. Alexander brings the poet's spare beauty to the language that appears around the photographs, and helps you to see the animals in a deeper way than through your eyes. Sartore, the creator of the Photo Ark, assembles a collection of the photographs of animals who may be on the extinction list. Sartore has been  taking pictures for National Geographic over the past 20 years. In this book, his skill as a visual artist includes placing of animals on a black or white background, which pushes the details to the foreground.
    This is is the kind of book that makes you drop your jaw. Why? People love seeing pictures of animals of all kinds. Any page of Facebook posts includes at least one video of kittens of puppies, and many of sloths, the most popular animal these days. In addition, young children seem to relate to photos of animals as they begin the process of learning language. Reading Animal Ark aloud to younger ones can  turn our to be one of the first poetic forays a person can make. Children who love to kiss live animals will want to do the same to the beautiful creatures in the pages of this book.
      Listen to this series of words about turtles: " homes of courage on humble backs  this is not a race". Or these, on two pages which juxtapose an elephant and a mouse: " listen to the rumble giant stomping feet calling brothers ... sisters   blink and you'll miss the hush of waves, tiny feet scurrying inside dunes."
     You may be wondering if this is the only item by this photographer in our catalog. It's not. Sartore and Douglas Chadwick produced a volume called  The Company We Keep: America's Endangered Species, published in 1996. For budding photographers, there is a DVD called Fundamentals of Photography, produced in 2012. If you want to read more by Kwame Alexander, who writes mostly for teens, there is an adorable book in rhyme called Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band  for those animals lovers.

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