Creatures of the Kingdom: Stories About Animals and Nature

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9780679413677: Creatures of the Kingdom: Stories About Animals and Nature

"DRAMATIC...ENTHRALLING...EXPERTLY CRAFTED...Michener treats each of these creatures with fundamental respect, and in many cases, admiration and awe, if not outright love."
--The Virginian-Pilot & The Ledger-Star
In these sixteen wonderful stories, bestselling author James A. Michener lights up nature's most awesome and beguiling handiwork--from the sublime shaping and reshaping of earth's land and seas to the ridiculous armadillo whose assault on a bit of Texas real estate paid off handsomely. Chosen from Michener's most popular books--including one story never before published in paperback--these mini-masterpieces take us deep into the secret lives of animals and the hidden world of nature. In them we hear the music of the spheres and feel the heartbeat of creation.
"Contain[s] the dramatic elements of a life--the wonder of birth, rites of passage, lots of conflict, much of it physical and bloody, and death...As characters in a Michener novel, a beaver can know loneliness, a buffalo can bide his time, a salmon can feel encouraged, and a woolly mammoth can 'luxuriate' in the ecological rewards of a plains fire."
--Boston Sunday Herald
"Delightful...Nature writing at its most fluid and involving."
--Booklist


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Review:

If you know James Michener solely for his entertaining, exhaustively researched epic novels, the short essays in Creatures of the Kingdom may come as a surprise, though all but one are excerpted from five of his most popular works. Mostly tales of animal life told in a strong narrative voice from the animal's anthropomorphized point of view, these 16 pieces evince a clear affection for their subjects and are told with an essential goodwill that is reminiscent of James Herriot. Good tales on their own (each piece stands alone and is not hampered by being taken out of context), the stories selected for this anthology also serve to showcase the gentle humor that infuses Michener's body of work, but which is generally overshadowed by the sheer weight of information and ideas in cumbrous books that could easily double as doorstops. By contrast, Creatures of the Kingdom clocks in at a digestible 281 pages and will appeal to anyone who enjoys reading about natural history or zoology. It is also likely to be a favorite with adolescent readers who favor animal stories but are getting too advanced for reading material aimed at their own age group--or who have depleted the available youth titles and are ready to move on. --Brenda Pittsley

About the Author:

James A. Michener was one of the world’s most popular writers, the author of more than forty books of fiction and nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Tales of the South Pacific, the bestselling novels The Source, Hawaii, Alaska, Chesapeake, Centennial, Texas, Caribbean, and Caravans, and the memoir The World Is My Home. Michener served on the advisory council to NASA and the International Broadcast Board, which oversees the Voice of America. Among dozens of awards and honors, he received America’s highest civilian award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1977, and an award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities in 1983 for his commitment to art in America. Michener died in 1997 at the age of ninety.

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