Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros Who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone... While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a Continent!
By Emily Arnold McCully
Schwartz & Wade, 2016. Picture.
This is the story of Clara - the most famous rhinoceros who ever lived. Over three hundred years ago, when Clara was alive, most Europeans still thought that the rhinoceros was a made up animal. One day a kind Dutch sailor named Captain Van Der Meer adopted Clara and decided to abandon his lonely life at sea to become a rhinoceros father and tour Clara around Europe. Captain Van der Meer and his beloved Clara crisscrossed Europe meeting kings and queens and amazing all those they met.
This is a delightful and under-told true story of one of the most famous animals in history. The relationship between Van Der Meer and Clara is very sweet without becoming sappy - which is a real feat. The illustrations throughout are beautiful and well done (as you would expect from a former Caldecott winner) and overall this book is just colorful and fun. The author's note at the end also supplies more factual information and a good note against confining wild animals. A great pick for animal and history lovers.