YA-Flowing descriptions, scientific details, and unique individuals unite in this anthology composed primarily of excerpts from Michener's earlier works. The stories provide a variety of animal personalities and actions. The gentle, the stubborn, the vicious, and the humorous all fight to survive in their own unique ways. The animals always remain true to their natural instincts. Frequently they are called by their species name; sometimes, though, the author has given them affectionate, Latinized versions of their scientific names. Although the brevity of the selections and the inclusion of line drawings may appeal to younger students, the vocabulary is a bit challenging. Dialogue is kept to a minimum and is only used in those few stories where humans appear. A wonderful opportunity for students to become acquainted with a talented writer without having to tackle one of his longer works.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
What at first may seem no more than a commercially motivated churn-out from the Michener mill is not that at all. Gathered in this delightful "anthology" (which most public libraries won't want to do without) are sections from Michener's novels that deal with animals and other less animate aspects of the natural world. Everyone who's ever read one of Michener's novels--and experienced his full course in the biological and geological background of whatever setting he's dealing with--knows his research is thorough and his presentation of facts and information exciting. It's those nature-describing passages that have been collected here. From the volcanic activity that gave birth to the Hawaiian Islands described so dramatically in "Hawaii" to the habits of the dinosaur called "diplodocus" brilliantly reconstructed in "Centennial", from the life story of the salmon poignantly depicted in "Alaska" to that of the blue crab in "Chesapeake", these selections represent nature writing as its most fluid and involving. One doesn't have to be a flaming animal lover to love these stories.
[Creatures of the Kingdom contains] the dramatic elements of a life—the wonder of birth, rites of passage, lots of conflict, much of it physical and bloody, and death. . . . As characters in a James Michener novel, a beaver can know loneliness, a buffalo can bide his time, a salmon can feel encouraged, and a woolly mammoth can ‘luxuriate’ in the ecological rewards of a plains fire.”—Boston Sunday Herald
“Dramatic . . . enthralling . . . expertly crafted . . . Michener treats each of these creatures with fundamental respect, and in many cases, admiration and awe, if not outright love.”—The Virginian-Pilot
“Anyone who has read a James Michener novel knows that it’s a learning experience as well as an adventure.”—The Sacramento Bee
“Delightful . . . nature writing at its most fluid and involving.”—Booklist