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Product Details

  • Paperback: 455 pages
  • Publisher: Encante Press (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0977859975
  • ISBN-13: 978-0977859979
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,878,006 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Winner: Green Book Festival Award for Animals
Winner: Benjamin Franklin Award for Travel/Essay
Winner: National Indie Excellence Book Award for Travel/Essay
Winner: Best Books Book Award for Travel/Essay
Bronze: ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award for Travel/Essay
Bronze: IPPY Award for Travel/Essay
Finalist: Nautilus Award for Animals/Nature
Minneapolis Star-Tribune Top-10 "Green" Book

From the Author

Writing Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents was quite the experience! I devoted each chapter to a different continent, plus Central America.
My process for creating the book was to go on an adventure; write the chapter; and then head out again. In all, my travels spanned three-and-a-half years, and my writing and research time totaled more than twelve thousand hours!
Here's where I went during my travels: Peru (the Amazon Rainforest), Argentina, Australia (Queensland), Canada (Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon Territory, and Northwest Territories), Antarctica, Europe (Spain, France, Switzerland, and Andorra), Malaysia (Borneo), and Africa (Zimbabwe).
Since I was essentially writing the book "live," one of my trepidations was that a trip might turn out to be boring. If that happened, would I have to subject my readers to a snoozer of a chapter? Fortunately, something exciting and magical happened on every adventure!
Something else magical has happened: Cool Creatures, Hot Planet has become a book with a life of its own. After the print edition came out in 2007, it won six national awards. That led to a live, multi-media version of the book, called Around the World in 90 Minutes. I have been performing Around the World in 90 Minutes at colleges and other venues since late 2007. My show is still going strong. If I'm in your area, I hope you will check it out--you'll have a blast. You can find my tour schedule on Amazon's Marty Essen page.
Finally, December 2012 marked the release of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet on Kindle. A Kindle release wasn't part of the plan, but after purchasing a Kindle Paperwhite for myself, I fell in love with the format. I found that I could read much longer without eyestrain and loved that I could read late into the night, with the lights out. Encante Press did a great job of reformatting my book for Kindle, and it still includes all of the photos people ooh and aah about so often.
Whether you purchase the print or the Kindle version of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet, I thank you. And I hope to see you at one of my live shows soon!
P.S. If you bring your book to my show, I will be happy to sign it for you. If you have the Kindle version, I usually have bookmarks or other goodies with me that I can sign for you instead.

More About the Author

Born in Duluth, Minnesota, Marty Essen developed a love of animals at an early age. When he was eight years old, his first "pet," a black widow spider, gave birth to hundreds of babies, which promptly crawled onto his hands when he opened the jar to feed them. He prudently traded his spiders for a horned toad.

Marty's dream of an animal-oriented career became sidetracked at the age of 13, when he volunteered to answer request lines at a radio station. That position led to a job as a radio announcer, which in turn led him to become the owner of a Minneapolis-based talent management agency.

In 1990, Gig Magazine contracted Marty for his first professional writing work--a series of feature articles on the music business.

Eventually Marty moved to Montana to launch an independent local telephone company. In 2001, while being interviewed for a story about his telephone company, Marty mentioned to the reporter that he was heading to the Amazon rainforest. The reporter invited him to write a story about his adventures.

Marty's Amazon story ran as a feature article in two Montana newspapers. The Amazon story, and a second story about a trip to Australia, were so well received that he decided to expand his travels to all seven continents.

While traveling the world, in search of rare and interesting wildlife, Marty was stung by one of the world's most venomous insects, bitten by a poisonous snake, surrounded by wolves, attacked by a hippo--and had the time of his life. He chronicled his unique adventures in his first book, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents.

Cool Creatures, Hot Planet won three first-place awards for travel/essay writing: the 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award, the 2007 National Indie Excellence Book Award, and the Best Books 2006 Book Award. It also won bronze metals in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Awards and the IPPY Awards. Additionally, Cool Creatures, Hot Planet won first place in the Animals category at the 2009 Green Book Festival in Los Angeles, and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune named it a Top-10 Green Book.

In late 2007, Marty Essen began presenting Around the World in 90 Minutes at colleges, museums, and nature centers across the United States. Based on his book, Marty's high-energy multi-media show takes audiences on an unforgettable worldwide adventure, packed with rare and interesting wildlife. It's the type of show where the audience has fun laughing at the stories, oohing and aahing at the photos, and then, when it's all done, they realize just how much they've learned.

In November 2008, Marty Essen became APCA's (the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities) #1 Booked College Speaker, and since then he has spent a total of 45 months at the #1 position. In 2011, Campus Activities Magazine named Marty a "Hot Speaker" pick for 2011. Currently, Around the World in 90 Minutes is the 2nd most-popular slide-show of all-time (behind Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth"), a position it will likely hold for years to come!

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 33 customer reviews
They went everywhere and did everything, and after reading this book I will never think of a vacation in the same way again.
This book takes you on an adventure with Marty Essen and his wife has they travel the globe in search of interesting creatures.
Stephanie Manley
Most people who love to travel would enjoy reading Marty's honest and humorous appraisals about his globe-trotting adventures.
Erika Borsos

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I know that the majority of reviewers gave "Cool Creatures" 5 stars, but try though I might, I had to drag myself through the last five continents. Marty Essen is a good writer. "Cool Creatures" certainly has some interesting people, places, and creatures. However, there were several things conspiring against Mr. Essen. First, I think the book was originally published in 2004, and some of the material is "dated." He acknowledges that we can no longer travel with the ease that he and his wife did starting just before 9/11. And so this reader said to himself, "Even if I wanted to go to the Amazon and hunt for snakes in slime and pitch darkness, it would be more of a chore today than going through minor travel hassles in 2001."

Second, Mr. Essen should have limited his political views of the Bush Administration even in the original edition, and perhaps edited them down in the Kindle edition. Mind you, I agreed with him, but I was looking for stories of the creatures he was "hunting" and the characters he and his wife met, not with what at the MOST should have been footnotes. (And a footnote about Steve Irwin would be preferable to Marty's desire to outdo him even in fantasy.)

Third, it's been 12 years since they started their travels and 7 since he published the book. Unfortunately for him, cable and satellite TV now provide us with nine channels and quite a few specials regarding the countries and the areas they saw and the creatures they saw. In other words, unless you've been living in a cave (well, at least you could study bats), much of the information should be old hat. Not his fault, but I knew quite a bit about some areas and most animals he was talking about because the information is now almost ubiquitous.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bill on July 16, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have had this book (softcover) for about 5 years or so. A really good book. Just got the Kindle edition and will be reading it one more time. Not your usual travel book. Much, much better. Get it. You won't be disappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By gypsygirl1925 on July 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Marty's book on Kindle, and I loved it! There were several terrifying moments that really made me admire the couple's courage. Marty's humor made me laugh out loud in some spots, and his writing style is a pleasure to read. I could never contemplate most of the adventures they undertook, but he made me feel like I was there--able to see, hear, and enjoy it all without the risk and the danger. Even an arm chair adventurer like me could enjoy the experience of a lifetime through Marty's delightful book. The photos were marvelous and were an integral part of the journey. Thanks so much for a wonderful ride!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angie Boyter VINE VOICE on March 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marty Essen always wanted to be a herpetologist (snake scientist for us laymen), but he became a hard-working entrepreneur instead. At the age of 39, he decided he was missing something, so over the next several years, Marty and his wife Deb undertook an adventure exploring all the continents, with an emphasis on the wildlife of the world.
Essentially this is a travel book describing the couple's explorations of our planet, from the Amazon and Antarctica through Belize and Borneo to Zimbabwe (despite the State Department's warnings). It includes the societies they encountered and man-made attractions like the castles of Spain, but the real focus is on the myriad creatures they saw, animal facts, and animal descriptions, especially lower-order creatures, such as "a large white spider that looked like it were made entirely out of pipe cleaners and a caterpillar that mimicked a mound of gray belly button lint."
What made this an especially delightful read were the personalities that came alive in the narrative. I knew I was going to like Marty on Page 13, when he finds a huge spider in the bathroom in Belize. A (expletive deleted) would have killed the spider; a more sensitive person would have said, "Wow" and then ignored it; Marty names it Spike and collects tidbits to feed it! A little later he asks the resort manager to request of the guide, "Please tell Arturio that he's not to kill any snakes we find."
I enjoyed the newby travelers' reactions as Marty and Deb took their first trips and experienced truly foreign environments for the first time.
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Format: Paperback
First off I love the cover of the book. Makes me smile every time I pick the book up.

For someone like me, who loves late night drives in summer to go see the tarantulas coming out and crossing the road , this book is a keeper. Have been spending time with younger family members reading it aloud and then commenting for long periods of time on the photographs which are awesome and a must see. And they seem to take off with the book, which speaks volumes, when young people love a book so much they don't want to set it down.

Most people when they see the book may think of some television personality from the Animal Planets in some far off place down under, wrestling unsuspecting creatures into submission to be shown to the viewer. Not this author and not this book. This is the real thing. Down to earth, informative without all the grandstanding.

Which is what those of us who love to travel, and who love wildlife appreciate. We grew up around rattle snakes, cougars, grizzlies, eagles, deer and other American creatures. To the point I admit I like animals more than I like most people. And this book make you feel the same way.

The photographs are crisp and clear and the dialogue intelligent and informative, to the point I want another book from Marty Essen!!! How nice to see other parts of the world with dialogue that reminds us all that its a small world and we each have a role to play in protecting unseen places from destruction.
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