Let it never be said that photographer and explorer Peter Beard isn’t a man’s man: In this collection of Africa-set travelogues, he stares down a leopard, covers himself in mud while crocodile hunting, and finds himself pinned under an elephant (let’s see Phil Jackson try that). Yet while his dramatic dispatches are gripping, Beard’s attempts at vividness are stunted by prose that’s either overdramatic (”The Happy Mud Man staggered ashore…[and] Pottery Man was born”) or strangely Shatner-esque (”A swamp, a sea. Assignment, confinement. Biology, zoology…”). Originally intended for his young daughter — hence the title — Zara’s Tales is too simplistic for adults, while kids probably won’t take well to the grisly details. Or the use of the word dik-dik.
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