Animals · Fiction · Heather D · Juvenile

Webster | by Ellen Emerson White

Webster: Tale of an Outlaw

Webster: Tale of an Outlaw by Ellen Emerson White
(Aladdin, 2015, 256 pages)

Entertaining, adventurous animals. Heartwarming story.

5/5 stars

Animals · Award Winner · In the Library · Julia P · Non-Fiction · Science

The Soul of an Octopus | by Sy Montgomery


The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness
by Sy Montgomery
(Atria Books, 2015, 261 pages)

I have been simultaneously fascinated and terrified of octopuses (nope, it’s not “octopi” as most of us might have thought) for years. Montgomery’s book, The Soul of an Octopus, was one I had to resist hoarding after we purchased it for our library collection. I finally made the time to read it and, if anything, I’m more intrigued than I was before I started.

Montgomery did an amazing job recounting her experiences with these incredibly intelligent creatures. The more time she spent with them the more she wanted to learn about them. She had amazing access to a few select octopuses thanks to connections she made at the New England Aquarium and it was fascinating to hear about how the animals interacted with her and how clearly their personalities came across.

There was an excellent bibliography at the end that I will certainly be referencing in the near future. If you have an interest in octopuses you’ll enjoy this book. If you simply are an animal-lover or appreciate good non-fiction this would be a good title for you to pick up.

Animals · Food! · Julia P · Non-Fiction

Pig Tales | by Barry Estabrook

Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat

Pig Tales: An Omnivore’s Quest for Sustainable Meat by Barry Estabrook
(W. W. Norton & Company, 2015, 336 pages)

Normally when it comes to books that address things like animal treatment and factory farming I tend to steer clear because I don’t like feeling depressed about the nature of our food system. But Estabrook’s Pig Tales seemed to offer the promise of ending on a brighter note rather than being all doom and gloom. The book focuses on how pigs are typically raised for slaughter and how it is detrimental to the animals, the environment, and society as a whole. But he goes forward from here and offers examples of farmers that are doing things humanely, healthily, and successfully.

This was a really good read. While it’s definitely depressing at times, it does offer ways to encourage the general public to speak with their wallets. Take the time to seek out sustainable meat options – yes, it might be more expensive but you’re paying for quality and humanely raised meat. I won’t get on a soapbox, but I did come away from this book more aware of what I could do and what could be done more broadly to enable the animals raised for us to eat to have a better quality of life before giving it up.

Animals · Fiction · Jean R

Pets in a Pickle | By Malcolm D. Welshman


Pets in a Pickle By: Malcolm D. Welshman
(John Blake, 2006, 288 pages)

Pets in a Pickle by Malcolm Welshman is a fictionalized account of a young veterinarian just entering practice. Newly graduated veterinarian, Paul Mitchell, is hired by Prospect House Veterinary Hospital. Paul works with the veterinarian owners, Crystal and Eric, as well as a one-eyed receptionist, a strong-willed surgical assistant, and a soft-spoken office assistant. On Paul’s very first day at Prospect House, he is bitten by a hamster. In the course of his first eight months at Prospect House, he has to deal with not only cats and dogs, but also snakes, cows, birds, horses, and judging a pet contest.

The author, Malcolm Welshman is a retired veterinarian. Welshman worked at the London Zoo in a small animal hospital and worked with some exotic animals. Some of the reviews for Pets in a Pickle compare it to James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small.

I received Pets in a Pickle as a free download from Barnes & Noble. I like animal stories so I thought I’d give it a try. Pets in a Pickle is humorous and easy to read. It was a nice break from my usual diet of murder mysteries and biographies.