Strange Creatures: The Story of Walter Rothschild and His Museum

Lita Judge, Author
Lita Judge, Disney-Hyperion, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4231-1389-8
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Walter Rothschild, the shy eldest son of Lord Nathan Rothschild, never took an interest in the family banking business, instead developing an all-consuming veneration for the wild; at age seven, he began collecting living animals like kangaroos and kiwi birds for his "museum." Judge's expressive watercolors convey Rothschild's inquisitiveness and his parents' angst over such mishaps as a giant lizard escape. When they provide him a building in which to house his collection, he funds expeditions to collect animals, opening the museum's doors after his 24th birthday. Though some might be concerned about the removal of animals from the wild, Judge explains in an appended note that, at that time, "collecting animal specimens was the only way... to study them closely." Children should get a kick out of this 19th-century misfit who relentlessly pursued his unconventional passion. Ages 5–9. (Feb.)
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