From School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Behind his extreme shyness and speech difficulties, Rothschild had a brilliant mind and endless fascination with exotic animals. When he was seven, he decided his goal was to create a museum filled with specimens of unusual creatures from around the world. Although his parents bought him kangaroos, kiwis, lizards, and other exotic animals, his father insisted that Walter enter his banking business when he became an adult. Using his salary and assets from his family's fortune, the young man financed collectors who traveled around the globe to locate unusual animals and ship the specimens back to England. By the time he was 24, his dream museum had become a reality. Over his lifetime, Rothschild named thousands of new species and published hundreds of scientific papers. He also kept many unusual animals on his estate, including the zebras he used to pull his carriage. Judge's picture-book biography of the shy genius may encourage readers to follow their own creative ideas, although few people possess the wealth of the Rothschilds. Watercolor paintings help readers visualize the Victorian era. An extensive author's note provides more details about the zoologist's life and explains how wildlife studies have changed since his time. The web addresses in the book for the Natural History Museum at Tring and the Natural History Museum, London, are incorrect. Although the unusual subject is handled adequately, this title is a supplemental purchase for most libraries.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Judge, whose grandparents were ornithologists, brings a personal touch to this introduction to Lord Walter Rothschild, the shy first son of one of Great Britain�s most influential financiers, whose obsession with nature led to the creation of an extraordinary personal zoological collection. What started as a childhood enthusiasm (young Walter used his allowance to purchase his first kangaroo) grew into a mission that eventually led Rothschild to make significant contributions to zoology through the funding of expeditions and the preservation of specimens. Rothschild, as the poor little rich boy growing up on a grand estate with only exotic animals as playmates, is a sympathetic protagonist, especially when his interests conflict with his father�s expectation that he take over the family business, and Judge captures the shy lad and his astounding animals in dramatic watercolor spreads. An author�s note aimed at a young audience adds useful context with explanations of how the science and ethics of zoology have changed since Rothschild�s time. Grades 1-3. --Kara Dean