Andrew Bleiman's new book, ZooBorns, pulls off the difficult task of being cute and interesting for people of all ages while also being informative. Many books seek this lofty goal but most fail.
What catches your attention first, of course, are the photos — pictures of new animal babies in zoo. But then you stop and read the text accompanying it and learn that some of the new borns — zooborns, get it? — are on the endangered species list. Some are more endangered than others and this, too, is noted.
This danger of extinction has an interesting result where you see an animal and think "wow, how adorable" and then read and realize how endangered the animals species is and think "wow, how horrible," which is exactly what the co-authors had in mind when they put together the book.
When I received this book I requested an interview and the following is the result, an interview with co-author Andrew Bleiman, co-founder of ZooBorns.com and co-author of the ZooBorns books. The book's other co-author is Chris Eastland.
Scott: How was this idea for this site and then the book, well, born? At one point did you guys decide to turn the site into a book? And did I read right that there are actually two books coming out (one for kids and one for adults?) If so, can you say more about what the difference is between the editions?
Andrew: ZooBorns was born out my love of zoology and Chris Eastland’s love of design and photography. More specifically, I had another blog prior to this on Seed Media’s ScienceBlogs network. The site was called Zooillogix and focused on bizarre zoology news. My brother Ben and I would read biology research and translate it for the general public in an irreverent, and frankly juvenile, way. It wasn’t long before zoo biologists started sending me their research and, once I was on zoo PR lists, I also started receiving cute baby animal updates.
A snarky bizarre zoology blog wasn’t the right place for all these adorable pictures, but I realized that there should be a right place. For this project I partnered with my old middle and high school friend, artist, designer and photographer Chris Eastland, because I knew he could bring a high level of creative professionalism to ZooBorns.
There are two books: a version for young children, which hit shelves last week (Nov. 19th) and a version for all ages, which arrives in stores Nov. 2nd. The book for young children features 15 animals and is written in what I might call little-kid-talk. The all-ages version features 53 animals and is written to be accessible for adults and older children. They are both chock full of devastatingly cute pictures.