Eco-fiction Review 3, “The Last Eagle: by Daniel P. Mannix (1967)

Another classic animal story from Daniel P. Mannix, author of “The Fox and the Hound,” “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” and “The Backyard Zoo.”

The Last Eagle Book Cover

Male bald eagles are smaller than their sisters and must struggle from the beginning to survive. Because size matters in the eagle world, baby boy eagles have to be smarter and more agile than their big sisters who snap up the choicest tidbits and may even eat bothersome siblings if provoked.

The Last Eagle is the story of a male bald eagle born in a huge nest high in an elm tree overlooking the Chesapeake Bay where he is raised by dedicated and attentive parents. As he grows and matures he flaps his way through a number of maturational experiences as he is rendered helpless by an agitated skunk, stashes tools for exercise and rainy day entertainment including an old clorox bottle and a dead eel, tangles with a banded water snake, is duped by a pair of ospreys, manages to get himself waterlogged by a catfish, and perfects his aerial tactics when he is seduced by an older female. Which just goes to show that if you can get out of the nest before being eaten by your sister, life is good.

Author Daniel Pratt Mannix based The Last Eagle on his own personal experience raising a bald eagle as well data accumulated during years of observing and filming eagles. Alight with eagle facts and information, feathered with humor, and nested in a commentary on the fate of the bald eagle in North America, The Last Eagle is sure to entice readers to join other bird watchers and animal lovers as they raise their binoculars together in a heartfelt toast. “To the bald eagle! The lion of the sky!”

Daniel P. Mannix was a uniquely gifted writer of animal stories. I highly recommend his books.

Good Reading!

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You might also enjoy: Eco-fiction Review 1, “The Fox and the Hound: by Daniel P. Mannix, Eco-fiction Review 2, “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” by Daniel P. Mannix.

Eco-fiction Review 2, “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” by Daniel P. Mannix (1969)

“Troubled Waters” is another young adult eco-fiction classic from Daniel P. Mannix recently brought back to life in ebook form. I’ve previously written about “The Fox and the Hound,” Mannix’s best known work. I count this story equally captivating for its incredible detail and awareness of what an underwater world could be. Daniel P. Mannix is one of those marvelous creative beings whom I wish I could go back in time to visit.

Troubled Waters Book Cover

Here’s a summary of “Troubled Waters, the Story of a Fish, a Stream, and a Pond,” provided by eNet Press-

Beneath the surface of a river, stream or pond lies a strange and dramatic world of living things, a world of unearthly beauty and marvelous complexity that to most of us is unknown. In Troubled Waters one of America’s most popular nature writers transports us into this realm of fishes and other water creatures in all its diversity and conflict, its beauty and terror, its gentleness and violence.

Out of the poisoned and heat-polluted waters of one of our great rivers flowing through a city and past factories and power plants, the male goldfish Buck and his smaller female companion find their way into a clear, wooded stream preserved by fishermen. Here, where patches of sunlight reflect on the soft brown gravel and food is abundant in the deep holes and below the swift riffles, the two fish, who have been washed out of garden pools, face the dangers of existence in the wild. To go along with them and share their life and vicissitudes is an unusual and delightful experience in reading.

Neither the drama of underwater life, nor Daniel P. Mannix’s skill in portraying it, ever flags as the fish push on up the pleasant stream, encountering such diverse and menacing creatures as swift trout, hungry catfish, darters and crayfish, a fishing spider and water shrew, and many others. But the stream is eventually destroyed in a strange fashion by the houses and towns pressing in around it, and Buck and his mate flee to a new home in a wild pond. Of their life there Daniel P. Mannix gives no less memorable an account. It is a place of grebes and mergansers, of a giant snapping turtle and an otter as fluid and swift as water itself; of numbing cold and lack of oxygen under the dark ice and snow of bitter winters; of life, warmth and incredible beauty in spring, summer and autumn.

Both sensitive and dramatic, filled with suspense and poetic in its evocation of nature, Troubled Waters brings the underwater world

“Troubled Waters,” like “The Fox and the Hound,” has my highest recommendation. If you enjoy these books, you might also like “The Last Eagle” and “The Backyard Zoo.”

Good Reading!

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You might also enjoy : Eco-fiction Review 1, The Fox and the Hound: by Daniel P. Mannix

Eco-Fiction Review 1: “The Fox and the Hound” by Daniel P. Mannix, (1967)

“The Fox and the Hound” is perhaps the best animal story I’ve ever experienced. It’s author, Daniel Pratt Mannix (1911-1997), was an American journalist, photographer, film maker, sideshow performer, animal trainer, and brilliant writer. His books cover a wide diversity of subjects with titles including “Memoirs of a Sword Swallower,” and “The Backyard Zoo.” His animal stories were lauded for the unique voices he gave his characters. These stories foretold the environmental consequences of human interference with the balance of the Natural world. Fortunately, many of Mannix’s works, which predate the digital age, have been republished in ebook format making these classics available for today’s readers.

The Fox and the Hound Book Cover

Here’s a summary of “The Fox and the Hound”-

Tod, a red fox kit, is raised as a pet but returns to the wild to do what all foxes are born to do, explore, trot along fence posts, cross icy streams, define his territory, mate, hunt, bury corpses for a rainy day, and, most of all, out-smart his enemies. Tod, in fact, is so sharp-witted and cunning, dauntless and valiant, that his ability to defy death becomes legendary.

Copper, a half-bloodhound tracker, is the dog who lives to hunt the fox and, along with his beloved master, embarks on a lifelong quest to end the life of the elusive Tod.

Described from an animal’s perspective, the paths of the fox and the hound overlap and intersect in a world teeming with scent and sound and sight and instinct. Their vivid,, gripping, and absorbing, story is so arresting and unflinching that the reader’s awareness of wildlife and the essence of their domain may be reshaped and refined and, in the end, irrevocably changed.

Winner of the Dutton Animal Book Award in 1967, the Athenaeum Literary Award, and a Reader’s Digest Book Club selection. The Fox and the Hound also became an animated Walt Disney movie and a box office success.

“The Fox and the Hound” is a superb Y.A. eco-Fiction book which has my highest recommendation.

Enjoy!

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