Oct 21, 2016

Monkeys on the Interstate

by Jack Hanna
with John Sravinsky

This book is by the zoo director of the Columbus Zoo. He tells about his childhood interest in animals, his early attempt to run a pet shop, first few jobs working for a veterinarian and in some older zoos, and then how he got the position of director at Columbus. The book goes up to the time he started appearing on the Letterman Show in the late 80's, but I think there is a sequel or two, I saw another title online where he looks older on the dust jacket, called Jungle Jack (also posed holding animals, of course).

There are a lot of animal stories in here- tigers, camels, gorillas, you name it. Even pet cockroaches. Hanna describes lots of amusing or interesting incidents, including times the public called him in desperation to take care of situations- an alligator in someone's backyard, an apartment full of venomous snakes. The zoo was small and in some disrepair when he started as director, and a lot of people didn't even know it was there. Hanna definitely put it on the map- rebuilt better enclosures, boosted employee morale, acquired more land, and especially worked hard on publicity. Including television appearances. In fact, a lot of the book is about that, and his work managing the zoo, not actual animal stories.

So for me it was an amusing light read, but nothing great (which I should have guessed when I saw it was co-authored). Quite a few other readers really liked it, though- it has five-star marks on amzn and LibraryThing.

Rating: 3/5        301 pages, 1989


bermudaonion said...

When I saw the title of your post I thought you might have seen monkeys on the interstate since there have been several sightings of bears on the interstate here. The book sounds really good!

Jeane said...

I think the title is pulled from a chapter about a pair of monkeys that escaped the zoo and were at large for months on end. But really when I first saw the book at a secondhand sale, I really thought it was about a primate rescue center or rehabilitation facility!