Friday, September 20, 2019

Book Review: The Photo Ark VANISHING (National Geographic- you need this)

I'm really lucky I get to review books at all but I consider myself VERY lucky to be able to review books from National Geographic. I grew up with them being THE place to learn about anything in our environment and on our planet and all of these years later... they are still my go-to place when I want to learn. And this book?


The Photo Ark Vanishing: Joel Sartore
Joel Sartore's quest to photograph all the animal species under human care celebrates its 15th year with this glorious and heartwrenching collection of photographs. The animals featured in these pages are either destined for extinction or already extinct in the wild but still alive today, thanks to dedication of a heroic group committed to their continued survival. From the majestic Sumatran rhinoceros to the tiny Salt Creek tiger beetle, Sartore's photographs bring us eye to eye with the kaleidoscopic diversity of shapes, colors, personalities, and attitudes of the animal world.

In these vivid pages, Sartore singles out the species most likely to disappear in the next decades, as well as some that have already been lost. Alongside these indelible images are the words of scientists and conservationists who are working to protect and restore populations of endangered species. With Sartore's distinctive portrait photography, he invites us to look closer--and to care more.
I'm going to tell you that the photos in this book are absolutely stunning and you will find yourself compulsively turning the pages. I know you aren't at all surprised by that because National Geographic is known for it's arresting photographs but this book gives you a head on photo that guts you like nothing else. For me, seeing an animal in the wild or even at a zoo is cool and you're thinking they must be OK because they are being cared for and you feel a little better about it. And be honest- how often do you read the informational display about every animal?

Slim to none.

You might read a few and think, wow- I didn't know that, and then you move on to the next animal and give no more thought to it.

This book forces you to give more thought to it.

Each page has an amazing, up close photograph of an animal and lists their common and scientific name, gives you an idea of their general location and maybe a really interesting piece of information about their impending extinction. It touches on the common animals we know that are in danger (polar bears, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, giraffe, etc) but also to all of the countless insects, fish, birds, and more. It also explains the ICUN (International Union of Conservation of Nature) list and the classifications, which was helpful for me because I didn't realize there were so many classifications. I really though there was extinct, almost extinct, and just fine. Nope. Did you know the classifications are:
Extinct in the Wild
Critically Endangered
Near Threatened
Least Concern
Data Deficient
Not Evaluated

The book does a great job at looking at animals and talk about their most current evaluated populations but also what is causing the drop in their numbers. Things like the Addax, it's like an antelope, and I've only seen one and it was at a zoo, but their living range has been reduced by up to 99% in the last century. Every animal in this book has a starting statistic that makes you stop and think how are you contributing to that? What can you do to help?

Interestingly, there is a beetle mentioned that is almost gone but the St. Louis Zoo is making a valiant effort to save it, and I was just at that zoo and saw an entire display. I didn't really get the big deal until I read this book and wow. To think one little ol' zoo has spent years keeping this from being extinct is amazing.

Olivia and Jackson (ages 14 and 11) have also been looking through this and they recently said wouldn't it be weird to be one of these animals and know that pretty soon there won't be anymore of you left? Or know that soon you won't have a home, or food to eat?

Kids get it. Why can't adults get it?

I absolutely LOVED this book and I have a better understanding of the nature domino effect. We think the loss of one bird isn't going to be a crisis but it would be because now another animal has no food source, and now the next and the next. It will always come back to us so we should absolutely be concerned. We should all be trying to fix this.

I highly, highly suggest this if you're a general of fan of National Geographic, if you like animals, if you work in a school (a cool classroom or library book!), home school, or just like to have cool books on the table. Easily a 5 star book and especially pertinent as the Amazon forest burns to the ground. How many animals are moving up on this list because of politics? And is it really worth it?

I don't know if you've ever been in the National Geographic online store, but you can find this book (comes out September 10, 2019) but there is SO MUCH cool stuff in there and you could load up on Christmas gifts now. Don't get the junky gifts, give something people will enjoy and maybe learn something from... and maybe make some resolutions that could better the planet at the same time.

A huge, huge thanks to TLC Book Tours and National Geographic for letting me be on this tour and sending me a copy to review. I love everything to do with National Geographic so I always jump on the chance when I get to! I also have to tell you that this post contains affiliate links so when you buy something from them I make a couple of cents (literally) at no cost to you. 


Beth (Coffee Until Cocktails) said...

This book sounds amazing! I would like to get Ollie more interested in animals like this so I want to check this out!

Ldinovis said...

I will have to check this out! It's so important to break out of one's own bubble and realize that all our actions carry a consequence.

Kim {Hope Whispers} said...

This book sounds like something I need. I have always loved animals. I want to be a nat geo photographer when I grow up. LOL When I was younger, I wanted to be a zoologist.