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This is worth getting just for the pictures But the book s good, too Marty Essen always wanted to be a herpetologist snake scientist for us laymen , but he became a hard working entrepreneur instead At the age of 39, he decided he was missing something, so over the next several years, Marty and his wife Deb undertook an adventure exploring all the continents, with an emphasis on the wildlife of the world Essentially this is a travel book describing the couple s explorations of our planet, from the and Antarctica through Belize and Borneo to Zimbabwe despite the State Department s warnings It includes the societies they encountered and man made attractions like the castles of Spain, but the real focus is on the myriad creatures they saw, animal facts, and animal descriptions, especially lower order creatures, such as a large white spider that looked like it were made entirely out of pipe cleaners and a caterpillar that mimicked a mound of gray belly button lint What made this an especially delightful read were the personalities that came alive in the narrative I knew I was going to like Marty on Page 13, when he finds a huge spider in the bathroom in Belize A expletive deleted would have killed the spider a sensitive person would have said, Wow and then ignored it Marty names it Spike and collects tidbits to feed it And a little later he asks the resort manager to request of the guide, Please tell Arturio that he s not to kill any snakes we find I enjoyed the newby travelers reactions as Marty and Deb took their first trips and experienced truly foreign environments for the first time And anyone who has been on a group trip or stayed at a small resort can identify with the description of fellow visitor to Antarctica Mildred, whose sulkiness and ill humor no doubt earned her the vote for Person I d most Like to Put on a Floating Iceberg Deb and Marty, however, roll with the punches when they encounter some of the less attractive sides of travel For example, when Marty becomes covered with penguin poo trying to get a photograph, he creates a song I am Guano Man to the tune of Black Sabbth s song Iron Man This is a guy who could make any trip fun So what is there not to like Marty and Deb began their travels at the beginning of George W Bush s administration and continued during the early years of the Iraq war Marty is NOT a Bush fan, to put it mildly He mentions Bush and the war numerous times, including the fact that many foreigners he met along the way asked about the war This might have been an interesting topic, e.g., How People Around the World Viewed the US during the Bush Administration , but it did not fit the overall theme of Cool Creatures and was not developed enough to be any than an annoying distraction.That small quibble aside, if you enjoy travel or wildlife or just an interesting real life adventure, you will probably like Cool Creatures, Hot Planet.PS A nice bonus is that the Kindle edition of this book is lending enabled But for 3.99, let your friends buy their own copy There are some good points I d like to make about this book Marty gets on a personal level with the reader, bringing them into everything he experienced while traveling the world The way it s written makes you feel like you know Marty, his wife, and everyone they encounter It almost feels like you re actually at these places, which is great since it s a book about traveling The book doesn t really lose the reader with boring parts, it stays pretty interesting throughout You won t regret reading this If you ve read Last Chance to See , or Walk in the Woods or In the Sunburned Country or other books of Bill Bryson s books, you are used to learning about nature in the midst of the cynicism and put downs Bryson even says somewhere that he d rather be home, that he doesn t really enjoy his adventures Marty Essen has none of that He loves what he is doing, and his wife does too His enthusiasm and respect for those he encounters is refreshing His honesty about himself and his companions is simply acceptance and wisdom Even his own frustration brings a higher lesson of detachment and acknowledgement of the other person s value, knowledge and gifts The humanity he carries throughout the book, the ability to honestly laugh at himself, to accept others and nature as he finds it, is a delight to read, but importantly, we learn to honor other peoples and other creatures, from the bullet ants to the lettered professor, none of whom are perfect, but all of whom have something special to offer I hope he writes. Marty Essen was a workaholic who never took a day off work sick and rarely had a vacation Then, he turned forty and had a self described midlife crisis However, unlike many men facing this problem, Marty didn t buy a fast car Instead, he finally took a long overdue vacation with his wife Cool Creatures, Hot Planet describes the author s vacation, actually a series of vacations that took the couple to exotic locations on each of the seven continents Each trip was hand picked not for relaxation and a little sun but for the best possible wilderness adventure and animal viewings particularly snakes which the author seems to adore I completely enjoyed Cool Creatures, Hot Planet I felt like I was along for the ride on each of his travels The shear magnitude of the animals and natural habitats that this man got to experience is awe inspiring The experiences are absolutely priceless. One of the most interesting travel books that I ve read in a while. A lot fascinating stories from a normal kind of guy I like this book because the author does not come off as a macho, conceited explorer type He has a fear of heights and a fear o deep water, and yet he still manages to have great adventures. An adventure of a readThis is a beautiful book, beautifully designed, beautifully edited, and or less beautifully well, enthusiastically written with a nice selection of color photos in the center True, Marty Essen could have left out a detail here and there the book is 455 pages long but when you re chronicling the adventure of a lifetime and agonizing over what to leave in and what to leave out, you naturally leave it all in, including the corny, slightly off color jokes, the reconstructed dialogue and the atmospheric interior monologues I think everybody who knows Marty Essen will be glad he didn t overly censor himself because one of the many things that shines clear in this fascinating book is his irrepressible personality.Almost always up early like a kid on Christmas morning, camera in hand, Essen throws himself into snake hunting, spider adoration, mud trekking, river swimming, mountain climbing, iceberg hopping, and close encountering with hippos, crocs, vipers, and literally hundreds of other wild creatures I ll tell you one thing, I sure would NOT want to have to foot the bill for developing the photos Judging from the text my guess is he took tens of thousands of photos along the way Too bad there was room in the book for only 85 of them, but they are excellent shots of himself, his pretty wife Deb, some animals and plants and some people they met.But what really counts here is Marty Essen s love for adventure and for the flora and fauna of our planet as is his determination that he miss nothing during his trek through seven continents and some islands with intrepid wife Deb at his side, than carrying her load Lucky guy to have a wife like that But I wonder how she feels about his revealing that she snores See page never mind Clearly, Essen has taken travel writing to a new level Call it eco tourism and travel logging combined with the spirit of Charles Darwin aboard the Beagle Essen takes notes, collects specimens but lets them go after the photo op , and turns his notes into a narrative He s a modest but accomplished kind of writer, combining light humor with some right sharp barbs at ungreen types in the White House and elsewhere He trades No Newt is Good Newt T shirts in the for spears and dugout paddles while doing something I wish Americans aboard would do that is, show that Americans care about the planet and its people, its cultures and its wild life and not just about exploiting its resources.Okay, now I must confess some of the jokes really were funny, although I think I m glad I didn t have to hear the improvised lyrics to some popular songs that Essen dreamed up e.g., to Black Sabbath s Iron Man after getting covered with penguin poo in the Antarctic I am Guano Man Na, na, na, na, naaa Na, na, naaa, naaa p 218.Here are a couple examples of Marty s humor He and Deb are canoeing down the Zambezi River in the heart of Zimbabwe, when a hippo rises out of the water and chomps through their canoe, throwing them onto the river bank This inspires Essen to title the chapter, Hippo Canoe and Zimbabwe Too For those readers not intimately familiar with US history, this recalls the election slogan of President William Henry Harrison and his running mate John Tyler in 1840 Tippy Canoe and Tyler, too Then there s this from page 252 He and Deb are in Borneo hiking a muddy trail high above a river His feet slip out from under him, but he saves himself by grabbing onto a small tree He remarks to Deb Remember the movie Romancing the Stone, when Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas were caught in the jungle rainstorm I thought for sure I was going to reenact their mudslide scene minus the face first landing between Kathleen Turner s legs, of course Bottom line an adventure of a read, replete with vivid detail about not only the plants and animals, but about the people and politics of the countries visited told openly and even innocently by a man whose love for the planet and its creatures is obvious and infectious Dennis Littrell, author of the mystery novel, Teddy and Teri *Free Ebook ⇝ Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents ⇬ Cool Creatures, Hot Planet Exploring The Seven Continentsfollows Marty And Deb Essen On A Three And A Half Year Long Adventure To Some Of The Wildest Places On All Seven ContinentsThe American Couple Began Crisscrossing The Globe With The Simple Intention Of Searching For Rare And Interesting Wildlife When Their Travels Coincided With The US Invasion Of Iraq, The Added Element Made Them Unwitting Ambassadors For Peace Their Experiences From Amusing To Life Threatening Changed Their Lives ForeverThis Is Not Your Average Travelogue Marty Essen Has Written A Book That Entertains, Informs, And Poignantly Reminds Us That We All Share A Small PlanetWinner Benjamin Franklin Award For Travel EssayWinner Green Book Festival Award For AnimalsWinner National Indie Excellence Book Award For Travel EssayWinner USA Best Books Award For Travel EssayBronze ForeWord Magazine Book Of The Year Award For Travel EssayBronze IPPY Award For Travel EssayMinneapolis Star Tribune Top Green Book I m the author of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet Exploring the Seven Continents, so I m writing this to give you some information rather than to provide a review Who would believe an author reviewing his own book anyway Cool Creatures, Hot Planet has been a magical experience for me Not only did it win six national awards, but I turned it into a live stage show, called Around the World in 90 Minutes I have been performing that show at colleges practically since the book was published in 2007.In fact, that s one of the reasons it s taken me so long to write my second book, Endangered Edens Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico which will be published on January 8, 2016 I ve been too busy performing at colleges.The reason I write this today is because I have a hunch that when Endangered Edens comes out, many readers will also be discovering Cool Creatures, Hot Planet as a result It will be so much fun to have an entire new crop of readers Over the years Cool Creatures, Hot Planet has received great reviews both from readers and professional book critics Of course, not everyone loved everything I read all reviews, and two things some readers complained about were that the book didn t have enough pictures, and that I spent too much time ripping President George W Bush.Regarding the pictures The book does include 86 color photos I wish I could have included , but photo intensive books are expensive to produce, and that was the maximum number of photos the publishing company could include and still keep the book competitively priced Fortunately, you can see many photos from the adventures on my website, www.MartyEssen.com I also advise getting the latest Second Edition book, sold directly by , Barnes and Noble, and other major booksellers There was a brief time, between distributors, when the book was available only with black and white photos If you buy used, you may end up with the black and white version.Regarding George W Bush Please understand that one of the unique things about Cool Creatures, Hot Planet is that all seven continents of adventures take place just before or during the Iraq War As a writer, I would have been irresponsible not to include comments from people I met around the world many who were critical of George W Bush Even so, less than 5% of Cool Creatures, Hot Planet deals with President Bush and the war.Some readers feel that including politics breaks the rules for this genre of book Believe me, that wasn t the only travel writing rule I broke Personally, I think some rules are good to break once in a while Who wants to read book after book that follows the same rigid format Nevertheless, if you are a George W Bush fan, or are offended by liberal politics, I ask that you not buy this book I d much rather lose a sale than to have you purchase it and not enjoy it or leave a one or a two star rating without comment.For everyone else I hope you ll check out both Cool Creatures, Hot Planet and Endangered Edens I m a humorist writer at heart, so I promise plenty of laughs to go along with the memorable people and animal encounters on all seven continents I also look forward to reading your reviews on Goodreads Marty Essen, author of Endangered Edens Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto RicoandCool Creatures, Hot Planet Exploring the Seven Continents It s was a great book but not gonna lie, I had to skip and skim some some pages to make it all the way through Very entertaining and informative This is so good that it s hard to believe that it s non fiction.