Alan loves animals, but the great cat house at the Bronx Zoo makes him sad. Why are they all alone in empty cages? Are they being punished? More than anything, he wants to be their champion—their voice—but he stutters uncontrollably. Except when he talks to animals… Then he is fluent. Follow the life of the man Time Magazine calls, "the Indiana Jones of wildlife conservation"as he searches for his voice and fulfills a promise to speak for animals, and people, who cannot speak for themselves. This real-life story with tender illustrations by Catia Chien explores truths not defined by the spoken word.
Rabinowitz is a wildlife conservationist. When he was a boy, he discovered that, despite severe speech challenges, he had a gift for communicating with animals. The book charts his story through college and his travels to the jungles of Belize. Eventually, he overcomes his stutter enough to speak before the prime minister on behalf of the jaguars. Chien has a flair for painting animals as well as portraying Rabinowitz's condition with empathy. One page, drenched in a moody mauve, depicts his anguished face and hands gripping at his throat as he tries to "push words out." With the flip of a page, readers see the boy awash in yellow sunlight, surrounded by animals, his face completely relaxed as he speaks fluently. The emotional resonance of the text, urgency of the issues discussed, and breathtakingly beautiful illustrations make this book a winner.