Emily Arnold McCully is the author of the new children's book, Clara: The (Mostly) True Story of the Rhinoceros who Dazzled Kings, Inspired Artists, and Won the Hearts of Everyone ... While She Ate Her Way Up and Down a Continent.
From her Q & A with Deborah Kalb:
Q: How did you learn about Clara the rhinoceros, and was there anything that particularly surprised you about her story?--Marshal Zeringue
A: I learned about Clara when browsing the stacks of my local university library (a wonderful boon to have access to it--browsing yields wonderful discoveries not usually available when simply searching for titles on a computer).
The book, by Glynnis Ridley, a scholar, is a detailed examination of every aspect of Clara's journey. I saw a children's book embedded in its detail.
I was as innocent of information about the rhinoceros as those 18th century Europeans, so much surprised me. I was very impressed by the endurance of both Clara and the Captain, and by the effect she had on onlookers.
I had seen Longhi's paintings in Venice and always found them wonderfully evocative. They aren't really very accurate portraits, but...[read on]