cover image The Tarantula in My Purse: And 172 Other Wild Pets

The Tarantula in My Purse: And 172 Other Wild Pets

Jean Craighead George. HarperCollins, $15.99 (144pp) ISBN 978-0-06-023626-7

What kind of mother keeps bats in the refrigerator, leaves the windows open so wild crows can fly into the house and doesn't flinch at tarantulas? A mother like Newbery Medalist George (Julie of the Wolves). In this true story about the orphaned animals her family raised and released (they had a permit for wild animal care), she uses her novelist's skill and humor in recounting the escapades of Crowbar, the clever family crow; of Yammer, a screech owl who liked to watch Road Runner cartoons; and of Goose and Duck, who loved riding in the car so much that they once flew into a police cruiser (and got arrested for disturbing the peace). Following tales of domestic delight amid the menagerie of crawfish, boas, wolverines, raccoons, mice and falcons, an epilogue describes the animal-related careers George's grown children now have. It's a one-of-a-kind lesson in living with nature in a far more literal sense than most people ever would undertake, endearingly told. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)