As a Ravenclaw, I would be expected to be the type of person who dreams about having a football-sized library with ladders of varying sizes and everything organized by author or color or even Dewey Decimal. In all actuality, there are many things that I love and admire far more than books and knowledge (crazy, I know), and in the top spot has always been, and likely always will be, animals.
Even as a youngin, the magazines and books that I always gravitated toward featured animals on some sort of adventure. I carried around multiple stuffed animals for years and still sleep with a crocheted hedgehog to this day (I am almost 40, btw). I was overjoyed to find National Geographic’s Animal Encyclopedia (2nd Edition) and all 300 pages of its full-color glory. Oh, I should also mention that I have been a photographer for almost two decades and that wildlife photography is a passion of mine.
As previously mentioned, as a Ravenclaw, I find birds and flight so intriguing. Who wouldn’t love the ability to fly high above the world, looking down and enjoying the Earth and all its splendor? I have vivid memories of running around my backyard with my arms thrown wide, kicking at the ground to get higher and higher into the air. One of my favorite summer pastimes is to lie in a shady patch of grass and watch the birds fly overhead while singing their songs. The “Birds” section of the Animal Encyclopedia has so many birds that I had never ever heard of and some of the most gorgeous photographs I had ever seen, particularly of eagles and owls. I may finally take up birdwatching as a hobby like I’ve been talking about for years…
Right after birds, bears are by far my second-favorite animal. I identify with them so much that (regardless of what official tests tell me) I firmly believe that my Patronus is a black bear: fierce and protective, proud and careful, yet with a small, tight-knit family unit.
The full-color photographs and details about each bear listed in the “Mammals” chapter are so, so informative and interesting. Somehow, I had never heard of a sloth bear before, but while reading the entry, I discovered (thanks to the handy key) that they can be found in the grasslands or savannas of India and Sri Lanka and that, unfortunately, they are in danger of becoming extinct!
I have honestly already spent many hours flipping through the Animal Encyclopedia and learning all sorts of interesting facts about creatures from around the world. As part of my work with the Protego Foundation, I am excited to take my new knowledge and use it to help better the planet for our beloved animal friends. I urge you to grab a copy of the book and join me, not just for them but for all of us!
An advanced reader’s edition of this book was provided by the publisher, NatGeo Kids, for review.