ALREADY A SUBSCRIBER?
NONFICTION

Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo’s First Woman Zookeeper

Holiday House/Neal Porter Bks. Aug. 2020. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823443185.
COPY ISBN
PreS-Gr 3–Bronx residents Helen and Fred Martini’s wish for children came true in a unique manner: Fred, employed at the Bronx Zoo, brought home a newborn lion. Abandoned by its mother, the infant required tender nurturing. Helen’s expert maternal skills allowed the cub to blossom. When he was two months old, the cub was sent to another zoo. In time, Fred brought home three tiger cubs. These babies also thrived. At three months of age, the cubs returned to the Bronx Zoo, but Helen accompanied them, eventually establishing an animal nursery. She secured the job of “keeper of the nursery,” the first zookeeper position a woman ever held there. The charming saga of Helen’s journey from a homemaker to a pioneering zookeeper is narrated in well-written, accessible prose. Gentle humor is on display in descriptions of the cubs’ playful antics. Animal lovers will appreciate the message that animal care requires compassion, concern, and respect. Downing’s clean, cheerful illustrations, mostly arranged in panels, delightfully depict the cuddly appeal of Helen’s charges and portray endearing human-animal bonds. An interesting author’s note provides additional information about Helen’s zoo work and her methods of caring for her animal “children” at home. Students may discuss, write about, or illustrate how they care for their pets. Alternatively, educators could have students discuss zoos’ roles in the care and protection of animals.
VERDICT Charming and adorable; recommended for school and public collections.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


RELATED