‘”If you don’t engage people’s interest, you won’t have their support when it comes to raising funds to save an endangered species,” Binti explained.’
An international vet, Binti has taken her photographer husband and two children to frozen Russia in search of one of the world’s rarest creatures, the Amur Tiger. Paw Prints in the Snow is the first in a series of adventure stories written by Sally Grindley in consultation with London Zoo, not only to inspire future conservationists and vets, but also to contribute to fundraising in support of such conservation. Seen through the eyes of Joe, Binti’s nine-year-old son, the Russian wilderness is a place of mystery and intrigue.
Sally Grindley has won many prizes and written more than 130 books for children, of every genre. This one straddles fact and fiction, which is not the easiest place to be. There is a great amount of detail about animals and their habitats and in this Paw Prints succeeds. There is so much to learn and plenty to think about in terms of care for the environment, so for the child who soaks up knowledge or embraces a cause, the book is ideal. In terms of the fictional story, I found myself wanting a little bit more adventure and a little less earnest education. While I liked this extremely nice family, I didn’t quite believe in them and felt a lack of tension. This comes in the final quarter, but for an adventure story that’s a little too late.