How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

How to Be a Good Creature

National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery reflects on the personalities and quirks of 13 animals--her friends--who have profoundly affected her in this stunning, poetic, and life-affirming memoir featuring illustrations by Rebecca Green.Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformative. No one knows this better than author, naturalist, and adventurer Sy Montgomery. To research her books, Sy has traveled the world and enc...

Details How to Be a Good Creature

TitleHow to Be a Good Creature
Release DateSep 25th, 2018
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
GenreNonfiction, Autobiography, Memoir, Animals, Science, Environment, Nature, Biography Memoir

Reviews How to Be a Good Creature

  • Dorie - Traveling Sister :)
    The cover of this book is what caught my eye, what a beautiful illustration. There are whimsical drawings throughout the book and a wonderful gallery of photographs of Ms. Montgomery with some of her animal friends at the end of the book.I won’t go through all of the animals that are mentioned in the book but my favorite was Christopher Hogwood the pig and his very large personality. Even when he had grown huge and powerful he was a gentle pig....
  • Barbara
    Sy Montgomery writes books and documentaries about animals for both children and adults. In this book, Montgomery shares stories about some of her favorite creatures, including her family pets; an octopus in an aquarium; and creatures in their natural environment.Sy MontgomeryMontgomery travels around the world to research her books, and has visited the cloud forests of Papua New Guinea; Mongolia's Gobi Desert; Amazon rivers; the Australian Outba...
  • Enchantress debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
    5 BIG HAPPY stars! If you wanna know how to be good creature, you can learn this from animals, like Sy did with 13 written about here. Such a good book! I must buy a copy. I enjoyed hearing about all 13 of her animal loves. My favorites were the dogs, Christopher Hogwood, the good pig, Octavia the Octopus, and the Clarabelle, the tarantula. So much to learn here and enjoy. "Understanding someone who belongs to another species can be transformativ...
  • KC
    This is a fascinating look at one woman's journey with the animals she's met and loved throughout her life. The illustrations are captivating. I can't believe I cried over an octopus!
  • Sarah
    Author Sy Montgomery’s childhood Scottish Terrier taught her to be tough and independent. Twelve more animals she has shared her life with, including an octopus and a tarantula, have each taught her something about life and herself. Sy truly understands and appreciates animals. This illustrated memoir is so charming and reminded me that to slow down and give my own fur babies extra cuddles is good for the soul, theirs and mine.
  • Candace
    What a treat. Having only previously listened to a part of The Soul of an Octopus’ audio before my library loan expired, I knew what Montgomery was about: Animals. Unique experiences. Love. This book made especially for young readers is wonderful. It chronicles the animals that taught Montgomery throughout her interesting life. Although there are a few of man’s best friend (dogs) count also emus, a tarantula, a pig, an octopus, and a weasel a...
  • Maggie Holmes
    I loved Soul of the Octopus and I was eager to read this book (thank you Edelweiss for the prepub copy.) I cried and laughed throughout; wanted to go on expeditions to see some of the animals; and marveled at Sy's wonderful supportive group of friends. As my cat meows constantly at me because I've shut him up in a room so he won't eat my muffin, I wonder if cats teach us to be a good creature. I'll have to pay more attention. This book -- like al...
  • Waverly Fitzgerald
    This is one of those books that can change your life. And those are rare.Sy Montgomery whose work as a writer about animals I knew and admired, here tells with honest and lyrical prose, the story of her life through her relationships with different animals, beginning with her appreciation for the qualities of her childhood pet, Molly the Scottie. The next chapter tells how she discovered her true career (writing about animals) in her twenties whi...
  • Ilana
    More like 4.5 stars 🙂I’m an unabashed animal lover/nutcase with three furkids of my own—of the kind that remains relatively unmoved at the sight of adorable babies, but goes absolutely nutters over dogs, cats, elephants, cows, horses, pigs, frogs, spiders, bears, beetles, bees, marsupials, octopuses, whales, mice, and just about any non-human critter living on this planet (except for roaches and mosquitoes 😖). As such, I absolutely love...
  • Barbara
    There are so many wonderful adjectives I could use to describe this book : lovely, engaging, entrancing, profound, and full of discovery. Montgomery has dedicated her life to traveling the world to write about animal life around the globe. She also has had a number of animals in her life including dogs, chickens, and a pig, and lives with her husband on a farm in New Hampshire. The animals she writes about include a Scottish Terrier, Border Colli...
  • Jeanne
    I've read a few of Sy Montgomery's books before and have enjoyed all of them. This one is a feel good book. With stories of 13 different animals that brought joy to her life, the book can be read in several short sittings. I finished the book with a big smile on my face.
  • Linda
    As a fan of Sy Montgomery's books about animals, I was delighted to read her memoir. I have had the privilege to see her talk about her books and life on several occasions. This book gave me a better knowledge of her as the person behind her books. What an interesting life she is leading.
  • Nora
    More than just a pretty face (but what a pretty face!), this gentle, lovely memoir highlights the importance animals can have in our lives, even teaching us more about our own humanity. For Montgomery, they are family, friends, teachers, and guides. There are some delightful experiences shared here, as well as some truly dark times, and Montgomery may even convince you to feel for octopodes and spiders what you feel for dogs and cats.
  • Kirsty
    I really liked the concept of the book, and the illustrations were lovely, but I felt that the execution could have been better. The prose did very little to capture my attention.
  • Carin
    I've never been an animal nut, in fact I was especially good at my job selecting all the books in PetSmart and Petco for 3 years precisely because at that time I had no pets and so was very unbiased. Along with my husband came first one cat and now two, and I had a couple of cats growing up and my sister had a dog. We even had goldfish for a while. But we've gone long stretches between animals and nothing exotic. So you might think a book like th...
  • Cat
    I love Sy Montgomery's big-hearted books about animals, particularly The Good, Good Pig. This "memoir in thirteen animals" is beautifully illustrated and bittersweet, reflecting on the healing power and enduring wonder of other animals. Montgomery's mother drank heavily and was emotionally and possibly physically abusive. Both of her parents disowned her when she married a Jewish man and refused to enter the military, as her father had done befor...
  • Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -
    I'd call it a memoir to the animals that have touched and molded her life and personality.As another animal lover and someone that is childfree, I can relate on so many angles. Still, her career has meant that she has taken her love, her experiences, and her exposure to different species much further than I ever have or will have. Each animal we have if we allow ourselves to think deeply, teach us something about life. Just as we have our own per...
  • Amalia
    A reminder of the incredible amounts of brilliance, compassion, love, and ferocity that exist in this world, human or not. Sitting here with my parents’ cats, it’s a reminder of the respect and the reverence with which we should treat other living things. In particular, I was inspired by Chris the pig’s wholehearted appreciation for the small (but essential) things in life (food, warm baths, the people that take the time to stroke your hair...
  • Theresa
    I love Sy Montgomery. I've read most of her books (my favorite was The Soul of an Octopus) and this one is a nice culmination of much of what she has learned from her lifetime commitment to animals. I could relate to what she says about her childhood association with animals, rather than humans. I had a very similar experience growing up. But most of all I love her appreciation for the autonomy and uniqueness of every animal. They are as differen...
  • Lauren Reed
    This book is a gift to humanity. There were so many wonderful and enlightening life lessons, many particularly profound on grief. The author’s relationship and understanding with animals makes one wonder why we don’t look more often to them to understand each other. Compassion and empathy toward yourself and others are the gentle morals of this book. The author helps you to love even some of nature’s most feared animals, and want to bring o...
  • Pam Cipkowski
    This book will draw you in immediately with its beautiful jacket illustration and the expressively adorable illustrations inside. And despite the fact that at the start of the book, Sy Montgomery seemed like she would be in a privileged friend circle with Anne Lamott and Geneen Roth (and I do like Anne Lamott), this book did grow on me and I ended up liking it a lot. It’s more of a treasury of cute and lighthearted vignettes, rather than a heav...
  • Margie
    A sweet memoir of animals Sy Montgomery met or had in her life. A true animal lover she thinks nothing of getting close to large spiders, dogs, sea creatures, pigs, etc. Very enjoyable stories about thirteen animals.
  • Dani
    So sweet and sincere! The author’s love of all creatures, big and small, emanates from the pages. The illustrations are super charming; they make even Clarabelle the tarantula look cute and cuddly, which is appropriate as the author finds nearly all creatures lovable!
  • Kate
    It was okay. I loved her book The Soul of an Octopus and would recommend that one first.
  • Jacqueline
    Great book for anyone who wants to think just a little more deeply about the life of animals and their relationship with humans.
  • Debbi
    The author is charming and above all, this is a book about her love for animals. The book did not move me as I expected. I'm not sure if it was because the observations were too simplistic or because the theme was under-developed. Each chapter tells a story of the author's interaction with an animal, the chapters end with a lesson Montgomery learned through her connection. It's not really a memoir there is no deep or complicated self-reflection. ...
  • Stephanie Gillman
    Simple. But charming AF.
  • Jake
    Received and ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Super sweet memoir about certain individual animals and the effect they've had on the author's life. Domestic, captive, and wild; everyday (dogs, pigs) and exotic (emu, tree kangaroos). If you're the kind of person who has had a special animal in your life, it's not a matter of if you should read this book but how much you'll cry reading it.