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One Kingdom

"An astonishingly well-written book: profound and hopeful. In a world in which our lives overlap with animals' more and more infrequently, Deb Noyes gives us humans plenty to think about." — Jeff Corwin, wildlife biologist and host for Animal Planet and Discovery Communications

"Elegant, lyrically written, and thought-provoking, One Kingdom will challenge and illuminate both the bond and the distance we feel between ourselves and the Others on this earth. Noyes's insightful observations and penetrating questions resonate like the best poetry." — Sy Montgomery, author of the Sibert Honor winner The Tarantula Scientist

About the Book

In ancient Egypt, people worshiped cats. In India, the cow is sacred. Today in America we flock to zoos in record numbers. We pamper our pets, sometimes more than we do our children. But what do we really know about animals? And what do we feel about them in spite of it? Walking a mile in their paws, feathers, or fur is harder than it seems. In One Kingdom: Our Lives with Animals, the author, photographer, and animal lover Deb Noyes embarks on a quest for understanding, attempting to distance but also bring closer the "other kingdom." What results is a visionary meditation for animal lovers of all ages on how myth, history, and culture have influenced our view of animals and shaped our lives with them.

Noyes traces the historical roots of our relationships with animals — the development of animal lore to explain the inexplicable, as well as their uses in wartime and in agriculture, as entertainment and as status symbols. Her writings challenge some of our commonly held ideas about animals: Does a chimpanzee smile when he's happy? Are animals interested in communicating with humans? Are zoos havens or prisons?

Smart and unsentimental, Noyes's portraits raise difficult but important questions, challenging what we think we know about animals while bringing us to new, more nuanced perceptions. We are all made of blood, bone, and beating heart — where do they end and we begin?

Noyes's dignified and personal photographs of animals both wild and tame, and graceful black-and-white illustrations scattered throughout the book, add a stunning visual layer to the journey, always reminding readers of the beauty, strength, and mystery of our fellow earthly companions.

Writing One Kingdom was a "dream project," Noyes says, "a chance to explore in both words and pictures a subject that's consumed me all my life. The first thing I learned when I set out to wrestle the sprawling human-animal drama into a narrative was how little I knew."

About the Author

Deb Noyes writes for children and adults and is a photographer, children's book editor, and former zookeeper. She is the author of Hana in the Time of the Tulips, a picture book; the editor of Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, a collection for young adults; the author of Angel & Apostle, a novel for adults selected as a 2005 Book Sense pick; and the author of How I Met the Wolf Girls, a picture book coming from Houghton Mifflin in spring 2007. Her short fiction has appeared in Seventeen and Cicada. Ms. Noyes lives with her family in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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