When Zookeepers (who are also authors) Go Bad


That, dear readers is the insanely creative first sentence of Linda Lombardi’s book “Animals Behaving Badly”, which is about animals… behaving badly.

Dear, dear readers, would you read that book?

Perhaps you would. I don’t know. Personally, when I took in that first sentence, I felt a sudden urge to whip out a red pen and scribble teacherly notes in the margins of the book. But since it was new, and cost $13.95 at Kepler’s, I decided to spare it from my Pen of Doom.

Before I had read the first three chapters, I would be sorely regretting that decision.

My expression when I finished the book. Except I didn’t go bald.

All in all, Ms. Lombardi’s writing style is decent – for a sixth grader, that is. Clichéd, awkward sentence beginnings like “Ominously” and “Sadly”, strange contortions of sentence structures that within the bounds of grammar I knew not existed (see what I did there), and a lot of repetition a lot of repetition a lot of repetition a lot of repe- You get the point.

Anyway, it isn’t just the grammar that makes this book so incredibly bad. No – it’s the entire idea behind it. Now, don’t get me wrong here – animals behaving badly is a great topic for a book. I love reading incidences of bad animal behaviour. But when you’re writing on a topic like this, it’s important to have a point to your piece, a greater theme that connects all the isolated incidences.

To her credit, Ms. Lombardi makes a few halfhearted attempts to inject a theme throughout the course of the book – but overall, it reads like a Wikipedia page of instances of animals victimizing and/or ridiculing the human race, with a few corny jokes thrown into the mix.

Though she doesn’t expressly state the Big Idea behind her book, I came away from the experience with the distinct impression that what she was trying to say was: “Animals are evil and are always on the lookout for chances to hurt humans.”

Now, this is not true. I will be the first to say that animals are not cute and cuddly and sparkly and jellybean-scented. And yes, animals can and will hurt people. But, my dear Ms. Lombardi, you are forgetting one very important thing: Humans aren’t cute and cuddly and sparkly and jellybean-scented either. And for every animal attack on a human, there are tens, hundreds, perhaps even thousands of human attacks on animals. Actually, Ms. Lombardi even mentions some of these – and calls them “heroic”.

So a man biting a puny, non-venomous snake to death in retaliation for being bitten by it is “heroic”? ZOMG, so cool! Next time I see a snake, I’ll be sure to give it a nice big chomp on the tail!

Not. I like snakes, Ms. Lombardi. And chances are that snake reacted defensively to some unwitting action on the man’s part. Ms. Lombardi, you say you are a zookeeper. You say you luurve animals, Ms. Lombardi.

If that is so, then why does this book radiate enough zoophobia to power a nuclear plant?



1/5 Stars


If you want to frizzle your brain, yeah.


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