Candace Fleming tells the story of Helen Martini and her work with young animals, work which led Helen to become the first woman zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo. Julie Downing's illustrations bring Fleming's words to life in scenes of Helen bottle feeding cubs, weighing them, burping them, bathing them. The text describes all the work that went into creating a formula, feedings every three hours, the mischief the cubs got into in the Martini's home, and how much she missed the cubs when they had to return to the zoo.
It will seem incredible to readers that 76 years ago Mr. Martini was allowed to bring cubs home from the zoo. The back matter explains more about Helen and her zoo babies. It also explains that many women in her day found their way into careers through unusual routes, much like Helen and her secret nursery. There are also source notes, a selected bibliography, and the URL for a YouTube video of Helen in her zoo nursery.
Perfect for collections looking for books with women in STEM careers, strong female protagonists, or stories about nurturing animals. I read a review copy provided by the publisher through edelweiss. Pub. date was August 4, 2020.