Ruby: The Painting Pachyderm of the Phoenix Zoo by Dick George'
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The story of an elephant named Ruby and her life at the Phoenix Zoo, where she creates paintings (with a brush on canvas) that are displayed around the country. An introductory section describes her artistic activities; George then provides chronological coverage of her years at the zoo and concludes with a more complete and focused discussion of her painting and its significance. Readers learn how her trainers noticed her interest in making marks in the dirt with her trunk and encouraged her to paint, being careful not to exploit her "talent." Her behavior is being studied to determine whether or not elephants can distinguish colors. Interaction and bonding between Ruby and her various trainers are discussed. General information is strewn throughout the text, including facts about elephant behavior and physical needs. While these facts and events are important, they interrupt the flow of the story at times, resulting in a rather uneven presentation. Full-color and black-and-white photographs of the subject and some of her artwork accompany the text.