Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone . . . While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a

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9780553522464: Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone . . . While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a
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This fascinating, informative, and touching picture book by a Caldecott Medalist is based on the true story of an eighteenth-century rhino who toured Europe and started a sensation! Clara is a book sure to fascinate young animal lovers, history buffs in the making, and kids interested in geography, as they follow a rhinoceros on her journey across Europe.
 
In detailed illustrations, McCully shows Clara being introduced to Louis XV of France, Frederick the Great of Germany, and others willing to pay for a chance to stroke her soft lip. Her owner, a Dutch sea captain, keeps Clara fed (she eats 100 pounds of hay and 30 loaves of bread a day!) and watered (she drinks 14 buckets of water and beer) and takes loving care of her until her death 17 years later.

Winner of the National Parenting Product Award

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About the Author:

Emily Arnold McCully has written and illustrated many highly acclaimed picture books, including the Caldecott Medal winner Mirette on the High Wire. She is also the author of the young adult biography Ida M. Tarbell: The Woman Who Challenged Big Business—and Won!, which was a Washington Post Best Children’s Book of the Year and a finalist for the YALSA-ALA Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. She lives in New York City. Learn more at emilyarnoldmccully.com.

From School Library Journal:

PreS-Gr 3—In 1741, a Dutch sea captain, Douwemont Van der Meer, transported Clara, a young rhinoceros, from India to his home in Leiden. For the next 17 years, Van der Meer transported her to dozens of cities throughout Europe, including Berlin, Rome, Paris, and Vienna. Clara charmed royals such as Empress Maria Theresa and Louis XV. She amazed peasants and aristocrats, who paid to see her. Poets, painters, and musicians created works in her honor. McCully carries readers on these travels while never losing sight of the relationship between the captain and Clara. Van der Meer needed to raise money constantly to satisfy Clara's prodigious appetite for bread and hay and her fondness for oranges and beer. She repaid him with affection and patience during the travels and exhibitions. McCully's watercolor illustrations capture the fashions and landscapes of the time. Panoramas such as the entourage sailing on a huge raft down the Rhine convey the spectacular undertaking involved in Clara's travels. An extensive author's note supplies additional information on Clara's story and the current state of rhinoceros populations. Consider pairing this title with Mary Tavener Holmes's My Travels with Clara, which incorporates photos of paintings, coins, and figurines with Clara's image. VERDICT Clara's unusual story, which introduces readers to a time when attitudes to animals were much different than now, is a strong consideration for most collections.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato

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