I was intrigued by Deborah Ramos book because I too love animals. Since she lives in California, I had a hunch she'd spent a lot of time at the San Diego Zoo. I too lived in San Diego and found the zoo a very special place. The picture of a giraffe is a sketch Deborah made at the San Diego Zoo. Here's what she had to say. I sketched a giraffe at the SD Zoo. It's actually on a piece of handmade paper, from Africa, made from giraffe dung! yep! I did this piece based on a visit to the zoo. It is a part of an art project, a handmade book.
I asked her some questions about her book and how she came to write it.
1. I grew up going to the San Diego Zoo. My whole family loves the zoo. My two sons grew up going to the SD Zoo AND the Wild Animal Park. We have always had a year-round pass. Its a great way to spend an afternoon, summer or winter. During the summer there is the Zoo at Night, which is sooo fun. And now my 4 yo granddaughter has her own pass and goes to the zoo! The Wild Animal Park is a better place to see the animals in natural habitats. I've done research on the animal behaviors at the zoo and the Wild Animal Park. One of my favorite zoos is the Santa Barbara Zoo in California. It's the smallest zoo I've ever seen! The Anteater has his very own sign!
2. I do love animals, and I think any animal can enrich your life. Once, when I went with my boyfriend fishing (he does the fishing, while I do the sitting and writing), I guilted him into releasing the fish because I made the mistake of making eye contact with the thing! I've always wanted a horse, but I never had the room for an animal that big! I have two cats, two parakeets, and a ball python, which is about all I can handle at the moment. My two cats once jumped on the lid of the snake tank letting Mercury escape. He was missing for two weeks, and we found him underneath the couch in the lining. That was the inspiration for a great story!
3. What would I like people to take away from my book? Good question.... I suppose, a good learning experience, visually and educationally. There is an interesting history to the group naming of animals. I would like readers to enjoy the fun of collective nouns. They suggest such visual treats for the eye. Can you imagine a "flutter of butterflies", or a "prickling of porcupines".