Book Review & Give-Away “Menagerie”, Sharon Montrose, Illustration and Lettering by Julianna Swaney

From the publisher: “Montrose’s artful presentation gives each animal a pronounced identity…she groups her photographs in unique, playful chapters under the titles Forest, Babies, Primates, Reptiles, Birds, Farm, Cats, and Hoofstock. The animals photographed for MENAGERIE are real live animals, raised (and most rescued) by loving and dedicated animal keepers and handlers who care for them as their own and ensured their welfare while being photographed. Montrose further enhances the indelible personalities of her subjects by incorporating beautiful hand-lettered text by illustrator Julianna Swaney. Animal lovers and design enthusiasts alike will go wild for Sharon’s best photography book yet.”

My feelings? The photographs are charming, this is a coffee table book pure and simple. Being candid, it left me wanting more. There are a few pages with captions such as a charming photo of a giraffe with the caption “put your head in the clouds”.  The captions are few and far between. I would have preferred seeing captions connected with each photo.

Those that prefer visuals over words may disagree.

When I read the description of this book on the publishers’ website I was stunned to see that it is geared at those ages 18 and over. I felt it would function better as a learning book for elementary age children.

The photographs are quite nice and would be a great conversation starter with a child. A parent could turn the pages and ask questions that pertain to each animal.

Am I off-base? Purchase this book and decide for yourself or if you have viewed it already feel free to leave a comment and correct me if I am wrong.

ABOUT SHARON MONTROSE: “her definitive photographic style and extensive experience in the animal industry have made her one of the most sought-after photographers specializing in animals. Her work is featured in ten published photography books: Dogtionary and Cationary, as well as the Lightweights and Lightweights Littermates series, Carry-Ons, and Mutts. Sharon also shoots commercially for some of the world’s foremost pet industry brands. Her Animal Series images are part of numerous private collections. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their two dogs. Visit her at

ABOUT JULIANNA SWANEY: “born in Michigan and grew up playing outside with her dogs and cats, going on family vacations to historical sites, and going to antique stores, all of which continue to be an influence on her work. She attended Maine College of Art and got her BFA in 2005. She now makes a living from her artwork in Portland, Oregon. Visit her at


ISBN: 978-0-06-204920-9

GIVE-AWAY: if you would like to win a copy of this book, please leave a comment below. The contest deadline is Monday, December 12 at 11pm EST. The winner will be chosen by and will be announced Wednesday, December 14th. Contest is open to everyone ages 18 and older.)

Good Luck!