Zamba by Ralph Helfer
The True Story of the Greatest Lion That Ever Lived

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Synopsis

When Ralph Helfer, now one of Hollywood's top animal behaviorists, first began working, he was shocked by the cruelty that was accepted practice in the field. He firmly believed in "affection training" -- that love, not fear, should be the basis of any animal's development, even when dealing with the most dangerous of creatures. Then Zamba came into his life -- an adorable four-month-old lion cub that went on to prove Helfer's theories resoundingly correct.

Over the next eighteen years, Zamba would thrive and grow, and go on to star in numerous motion pictures and television shows -- all the while developing a deep and powerful bond of love and affection with the man who raised him. By turns astonishing, hilarious, and poignant, Zamba is not only the unforgettable story of the relationship that Helfer would come to consider one of the most important in his life but also that of the amazing career and adventures of the greatest lion in the world.

 

About Ralph Helfer

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Ted Lewin grew up in an old frame house in Buffalo, New York, with two brothers, one sister, two parents, a lion, an iguana, a chimpanzee, and an assortment of more conventional pets. The lion was given to his older brother, Don, while he was traveling as a professional wrestler, and he shipped it home. The family kept Sheba in the basement fruit cellar until Don returned and their mother convinced him to give it to the Buffalo zoo. Ted always knew he wanted to be an illustrator. As a child he copied the work of illustrators and painters he admired, including N.C. Wyeth, Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Velázquez, and Goya. When it came time to go to art school (Pratt), he needed to earn money to finance his education. So, following in his brother's footsteps, he took a summer job as a wrestler—the beginning of a 15-year part-time career that eventually inspired his autobiographical book I Was a Teenage Professional Wrestler. Ted's career as an artist began with illustrations for adventure magazines, and it's only over the last several years that he has devoted his time to writing and illustrating children's books. “I'm having more fun doing this than anything I've ever done before,” he says. He is an avid traveler, and many of his books are inspired by trips to such places as the Amazon River, the Sahara Desert, Botswana, Egypt, Lapland, and India. Ted and his wife Betsy live in Brooklyn, New York, where they share their home with two cats, Slick and Chopper.
 
Published October 13, 2009 by HarperCollins e-books. 288 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, History, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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During their 18 years together, they had many adventures, from designing a bed big enough for the two of them (the lion was a bed hog) to a bit of dentistry, which quickly reminded Helfer that Zamba was still an animal, more than willing to remove a finger if it got in his mouth while an abscess ...

May 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Zamba: The True Story of the ...

Publishers Weekly

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Legendary Hollywood animal trainer and behaviorist Helfer captures an incredible story of love between man and lion that displays all the qualities that made his previous book, Modoc: The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived , so moving.

Jun 13 2005 | Read Full Review of Zamba: The True Story of the ...

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