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Tall Blondes: 03/10/12

cover art

Giraffes always make me think of my maternal grandmother. She was nuts about them. So is TV journalist Lynn Sherr and she shares her love affair with them in Tall Blondes, the book that later inspired the first episode of season 21 of Nature on PBS.

The giraffe like the platypus is so unusual in its size, shape and features that first hand accounts of it weren't always believed. They are social, docile, but can kill a lion with a few well placed kicks.

Sherr's book begins with her own history of meeting giraffes and moves then to the early history of mankind's accounts of the giraffe. From there the book goes through other themes, like giraffes as gifts and giraffes in the circus and at zoos.

I loved the many included illustrations that show either historic drawings of giraffes or photographs of famous giraffes. I also enjoyed the thematic groupings of the chapters.

Where the book fell flat, though, for me was in the many long quotations of famous people having something to say about giraffes. There are pages and pages like this and they completely gum up the flow of the book. After a few of these quotation only sections, I ended up skipping the rest.

Three stars.

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