Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo's First Woman Zookeeper
Cubs in the Tub: The True Story of the Bronx Zoo's First Woman Zookeeper

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Annotation: Fred and Helen Martini longed for a baby, and they ended up with dozens of lion and tiger cubs! Snuggle up to this purr-... more
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #210416
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Hot Title Hot Title
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2020
Edition Date: 2020
Illustrator: Downing, Julie,
Pages: 47 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8234-4318-3 Perma-Bound: 0-605-00275-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8234-4318-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-00275-3
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2019032421
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Kirkus Reviews
In the 1940s, Fred Martini, a zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo, brought a newborn lion cub home to his wife.The cub had been rejected by its mother and desperately needed care. Though childless, Helen was well prepared with baby supplies on hand. She bathed it, fed it baby formula, and sang it to sleep. MacArthur became a loving, playful, cuddly pet until he was placed in another zoo. It was lonely without him until Fred brought home three baby tigers, and the joyful process began again. When it was time to return these babies to the zoo, Helen went with them. She created a cozy space in a glass cage where visitors could see them. She expanded her work by establishing a nursery in an unused storeroom, painting and decorating, curtains and all, where the tiger cubs could sleep at night. When zoo officials finally discovered her, they realized the value of what she had accomplished and offered her a permanent, paid position as the first woman zookeeper, caring for many species of animal babies. Telling the tale with great attention to detail, Fleming perfectly captures both time and place as well as the loving, determined woman who forged her way in a man’s profession. Downing’s illustrations in a wide variety of sizes and hues will keep readers’ attention glued to the pages and are in sync with the text in every way. The Martinis present white, and the animals are cuddly and packed with personality.A lovely homage to a little-known woman and her quiet achievement. (afterword, bibliography, source notes) (Picture book/biography. 4-9)
Publishers Weekly
There-s a fairy tale quality to Fleming-s story of Helen Martini, a woman whose longing for a baby was filled by raising a series of orphaned big cat cubs, which unexpectedly led to her becoming the first female zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo. And like many fairy tales, the just-so telling and happily-
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* While her husband, Fred, spent his days working at the Bronx Zoo in the 1940s, Helen Martini longed for a baby. When Fred comes home with a baby one day neglected lion cub 's not the kind Helen anticipated, but she immediately takes the cub in her arms, names him MacArthur, and gives him round-the-clock care. And like many proud mamas, Helen documents his "firsts" and overlooks the chewed-up shoes and ripped couch for lap snuggles. All seems well in the storylike narrative and endearing, patterned illustrations that reflect both the colors and culture of the time period and the range of emotions felt by Helen, especially when MacArthur is taken away to another zoo. After nurturing more babies at home, this time tiger cubs, and another difficult goodbye, Helen begins to tend to their needs directly at the zoo. She takes mothering other baby animals into her own hands, secretly creating a nursery in an abandoned building. When zoo officials discover her enterprise, they surprisingly approve, and Helen becomes the first female zookeeper at the Bronx Zoo. A concluding note provides more information about this groundbreaking figure and explains how, like Helen, women of this era sometimes had to find quiet ways to break societal and gender norms. A charming reflection of courage and change.Women in Focus: The 19th in 2020
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Horn Book
Publishers Weekly
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (page 47).
Reading Level: 1.0
Interest Level: P-2
Lexile: AD600L

Fred and Helen Martini longed for a baby, and they ended up with dozens of lion and tiger cubs! Snuggle up to this purr-fect read aloud about the Bronx Zoo's first female zoo-keeper.

When Bronx Zoo-keeper Fred brought home a lion cub, Helen Martini instantly embraced it. The cub's mother lost the instinct to care for him. "Just do for him what you would do with a human baby," Fred suggested...and she did. Helen named him MacArthur, and fed him milk from a bottle and cooed him to sleep in a crib.

Soon enough, MacArthur was not the only cub bathed in the tub! The couple continues to raise lion and tiger cubs as their own, until they are old enough to return them to zoos. Helen becomes the first female zookeeper at the Bronx zoo, the keeper of the nursery.

This is a terrific non-fiction book to read aloud while snuggling up with your cubs! Filled with adorable baby cats, this is a story about love, dedication, and a new kind of family.

Gorgeously patterned illustrations by Julie Downing detail the in-home nursery and a warm pallet creates a cozy pairing with Candace Fleming's lovely language.

Backmatter includes a short biography of Helen Martini and a selected bibliography.

A Junior Library Guild Selection!

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