- Hardcover: 176 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; First Edition edition (November 23, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679426590
- ISBN-13: 978-0679426592
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #686,536 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Zara's Tales: Perilous Escapades in Equatorial Africa Hardcover – November 23, 2004
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From Publishers Weekly
Beard's memoir, dedicated to his daughter, Zara, has the delicious suspense of a tale told to a child—one who knows the teller escaped to tell his story. An adventurer with a conservationist's calling (preserving East Africa's wildlife) and a photographer's craft, Beard captures "the old world, the wild life, the wild animals, and the wonderful things we may or may not have left behind" with words and pictures (some photographs, some drawings and lots of "dawdles and dipsy doodles"). Monster lions offer "a midnight fright-night incident so dark and sudden I can only tell it to Zara in the daytime," and a large crocodile takes up residence at a camp site. There are moments of quiet beauty, as when "a family of giraffes float past our open tents like shimmering ghosts in the moonlight," and wild days with "the most eccentric local animal trapper in the history of this eccentric calling." Occasionally Beard meditates on life or remonstrates on the factors threatening it. The bongos Beard captures on film and the elephants he does not manage to outrun hold the book's center. Although Beard's adventures abound, at heart this is a father's memoir for his daughter. Composed with a writer's ear and a photographer's eye, this is a book to share, something for both the young Zaras and the sophisticated Peters. 145 illus.
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An animal-loving New Yorker, Beard lost his heart to Africa as a boy. He acquired 40 acres adjacent to Karen Blixen's Kenyan coffee plantation, and soon devoted himself to photographing wildlife and assisting in conservation efforts. It's been a long time since Beard last produced a book, and this is a gem. Writing with both tough-guy nonchalance and contemplative lyricism, he recounts the true-life adventure tales he often told his daughter, Zara, when she was a young girl enamored of Thaka, an enormous warthog who became a favorite pet. Handsomely illustrated with Beard's photographs, these captivating and hair-raising escapades date back decades to the days when lions strolled through Nairobi, and Beard and his intrepid cohorts risked life and limb to capture mighty rhinos and gigantic Nile crocodiles. He has survived a near drowning, the charge of a lion, and, most traumatically, an elephant attack, brushes with death that have made life all the more precious to him. At once dashing and philosophical, Beard celebrates the astonishments of nature, and expresses hope that we'll figure out how to live in harmony with what little wildlife still graces the planet. Donna Seaman
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Top customer reviews
Peter Beard is one-of-a-kind, and this little controversial book is merely one among many of his works that manage to successfully step outside of the mainstream; and deftly merge artistic sensibility (and a unique vision for beauty) with raw, edgy curiosity about life.