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Dean Jacobs Wondrous Creatures

Author and photographer Dean Jacobs helps children explore the world of animals through his new book " Wonderous Creatures."

Courtesy Dean Jacobs

During his travels around the world, Dean Jacobs has encountered a number of different animals.

The Fremont man is sharing some of those discoveries in a new children's book, "Wondrous Creatures - Explore a World of Animals from A-Z."

The hard-cover book, which Jacobs anticipates being ready for sale on Sept. 1, costs $17.95 and will be available on his website, www.deanjacobs.org. He also plans to have book signings at several area locations.

Jacobs previously wrote "Wondrous Journey" about the two years he spent living around the world and said he was inspired to write the children's book while doing presentations on his journeys in schools throughout the country.

"It just seemed like a natural fit and a natural opportunity to create something that would be useful and pertinent and interesting and engaging and exciting for kids," Jacobs said.

The book, which is aimed at elementary and middle school students, features photographs of animals ranging from an albatross to a zebra. The majority of the photos were taken by Jacobs during his travels, although he had to improvise to get photos of a newt and quail.

There is an animal for each letter of the alphabet, except X, and - along with the photos - each entry includes information on the animal's size, habitat, what it eats, conservation status and unusual facts. Amy Tharp, a Fremont native now living in Colorado, co-authored the educational text.

"You want to give them enough information so they can begin to learn about animals, learn about habitats, learn about environments and how they work together," Jacobs said. "You have to take the information and create a way where a young mind can get his or her arm around it, absorb it and take ownership of it. If they take ownership of it, then they can use it as knowledge and wisdom to make choices."

Jacobs also includes a journal entry for each animal where he talks about how he encountered that animal.

"This gives it a personal voice," Jacobs said. "That personal voice just makes it more real, more authentic, more accessible, more interesting."

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For the letter X, Jacobs gives readers an opportunity to create their own animals. They can draw a picture of it and write down information about that animal.

While some of the animals will be familiar to area youngsters, such as a deer and rabbit, there are plenty of others including a leopard, panda, and wildebeest.

"This is not only a book about animals, this is a window and connection into the bigger world," Jacobs said. "Yes, we have animals that live around here, but we're connected to more than just Nebraska and the United States. We're connected to the whole world. This is a fun and interesting and engaging way to create that opening and an invitation to come in and learn about other parts of the world, too."

There also is a page where children can write down animals they come across.

"I want them to be interested and hungry to learn about the world in which we share, and that animals are part of that world," Jacobs said. "I want to wave oxygen on that flame within of curiosity and that desire to learn and grow and understand the world and how they're connected to it and how they impact and affect it."

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