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Review: Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell

Friday, April 17, 2015

Daisy to the Rescue
Jeff Campbell

Genre: Nonfiction
Hardback: 336 Pages
Publication: October 7, 2014
by Zest Books

Who rescued who? This popular animal-shelter bumper sticker captures an enduring emotional truth: With their love and companionship, animals of all species save our lives every day. But sometimes, to our utter amazement and everlasting gratitude, animals literally save our lives, and this heartwarming book collects over 50 real-life stories of animals rescuing people, in which the actions of animals have meant the difference between life and death. Today, scientists vigorously debate questions regarding the sentience, intelligence, and emotions of animals. In particular, they want to know whether animals share with humans the highest emotions of empathy, compassion, and altruism. This book also poses these questions for readers to consider, and using current research on animal minds and emotions, it examines these extreme life-saving situations for possible evidence. Where appropriate, skepticism and doubt surrounding particular stories is included, but gathered together, these anecdotes make a compelling case for the presence of altruism in animals. Thus, this book provides dramatic, thrilling, and moving stories that convey a hopeful message about our world. But these stories also provide startling evidence of the mental and emotional capacities of animals, those being we share the world with.


As a child, I was obsessed with animals and read many nonfiction books about them. I'm still very fond of animals today and was delighted to be presented with the opportunity to review a book about animal heroes!

I was surprised to find that the stories were narrated like a report. I was expecting a little more narration. It does make sense though given that there are over fifty stories covered in this book. I like how the report style of narration helps to keep the author's bias and imagination from infiltrating the stories while leaving room readers to ask questions. If Campbell had taken liberties with embellishing the stories, it would be difficult to tell fact from fiction. The lack of embellishment doesn't take away from the emotions of the stories. In fact, many of them brought me to the verge of tears.

I like the layout of the stories. The opening page provides the story title and a cute drawing of the animal hero. Beneath the picture, the following information is provided: the animal's name, species, the date and location of the heroic event, the situation, who was saved (name and age), and the fame meter (how famous the animal became). In the story itself, bold heading divide the story into segments for clear reading. As I mentioned earlier, the stories are really like reports, and Campbell often provides backstory, other angles, and epilogues to the heroic tales. At the end of some of the stories, Campbell provides abbreviated accounts of similar incidents that have taken place; he does this in bullet points at the end of the "report."

It is clear that Campbell put much time and effort into the research for his book. Campbell compares tales of animal heroes and asks important questions about the validity of such tales. He also provides supplementary information on related topics to enrich the reading experience. For example, he provides a segment on mirror neurons as a possible reason for some accounts of animal heroics; another segment provides accounts of life-saving animals in pop culture. He also references some other books in his discussions of the heroic tales. I looked some of them up and plan to check them out in the future.

Though I would have liked to see more time spent on each individual story, the broad range of stories covered in this book make it a worthwhile purchase. I recommend this book to readers who love animals and reading about true tales of animal heroism.

An ARC was provided by Zest Books for review

Rating: 4 stars

  • N/A

  • Some gruesome details (like a dog losing a snout and top jaw in the process of saving some children from a motorcycle), but clean for the most part

1 comment on "Review: Daisy to the Rescue by Jeff Campbell"
  1. I love animals specially dogs! I would buy this one :)
    Thanks for the info and great review
    Ruty @Reading...Dreaming


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