Zarafa: A Giraffe's True Story, From Deep In Africa To The Heart Of Paris


In 1826, a giraffe that had been captured in the Sudan, was shipped to France. Allin looks beyond the fairy tale to reveal the complex web of politics, culture, religion and greed that fueled this phenomenon.
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In 1826, a giraffe that had been captured in the Sudan, was shipped to France. Allin looks beyond the fairy tale to reveal the complex web of politics, culture, religion and greed that fueled this phenomenon.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - BookSmack!
At first glance, Allin's charming story of the first giraffe to set foot in France seems an odd match for the violent story of Trush and the tiger. But both Vaillant and Allin use their subjects as a base for exploring multiple lines of inquiry. The authors also excel at blending natural history with gripping narrative, even if their tones are different. As in the Vaillant, readers here get a world to sink into and explore. Expanding the story of Zarafa are tales of tomb raiders, fashion designers, and Napoleon's invasion of Egypt. Readers who appreciate Vaillant's explorations and are willing to roam outside the world of the tiger will find Allin very good company. Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads," Booksmack! 10/7/10
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385334112
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/1/1999
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 790,731
  • Product dimensions: 4.80 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 8, 2009

    History As It Should Be Told:Zarafa

    What a wonderful look into history. How a failed military/scientific campaign, led to a discovery that would change our understanding of ancient culture. And how a gentle giraffe, transported from Ethiopia to Paris on a curious, wonderful journey, changed western culture in ways which we aren't even aware. Whatever the motives of the original venture, there is a goodness that surrounds Zarafa's story that transends the usual negative antics attributed to humankind in the 1800's.<BR/>This is a great book for young adults. It is a great read for anyone.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2001

    slow beginning...gets better.

    This book was OK, but not what I thought. The first few chapters tells of Egypt-French relations. Kind of hard to wade through. The book improves when the author actually gets to writing about the giraffe and her journey! I would have liked more details about Zarafa, and about her natural habitat, then go on in greater detail about her journey and the reactions of France. I did like the ending, when the author tells what happened to the giraffe and the people who dealt with her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2000

    When a Giraffe Was Still a Thing of Wonder

    The story is not as lighthearted or lively as one might expect from the jacket notes. The first half of the book consists of fascinating but laborious history, and is far from the promised story of a giraffe's raucous journey from the Sudan to Paris. That said, there are plenty of wonderful anecdotes to keep the reader going, and the author does a great job of tying the giraffe's trip and acquaintances into the history of the places she visited. A great book to take on a trip, it really captures a lot of the harrowing aspects of travel, as well as the childlike wonder one feels at finally encountering something one has only ever seen in pictures.

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