How to be a good creature a memoir in thirteen animals / by Sy Montgomery ; illustrated by Rebeca Green.

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    • Publication Information:
      Large print edition.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: As an author, naturalist, and adventurer, National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery has traveled the world and encountered some of the planet's rarest and most beautiful animals. This memoir reflects on the personalities and quirks of thirteen animals she has known. 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 create families; how we cope with loss and despair; and, most of all, how we can choose to be a good creature in the world.
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Booklist Reviews 2018 September #2

In a memoir that will speak to readers of all ages, naturalist and National Book Award winner Montgomery traces her life through the animals that have shared and enhanced it. From the briefest of encounters (a glimpse of a white-furred ermine) to the heartiest of friendships (a 750-pound pig called Christopher Hogwood), Montgomery offers a look at the insights about humanity animals have given her. Some, like Octavia the octopus, are creatures she has studied; others, like a series of border collies, have been dear companions. Montgomery is equally as tender and observant in her recollections of a pinktoe tarantula as she is of her childhood Scottish terrier. There may be audience confusion—early chapters, and accompanying black-and-white drawings, are ideal for middle-graders, while in later chapters, Montgomery broaches heavier subjects such as difficult family relationships and suicidal thoughts—and, in fact, this is marketed for adults. But this is an endeavor that is filled with heart and should be widely shared. Plenty of memoirs center on animals, but few offer such variety, passion, and care. Grades 6-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2018 April #2

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.

PW Reviews 2018 June #2

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. (Sept.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.