‘Bubbles the Dwarf Zebu’

Everyone is unique in their own way — that feel-good message is the theme of “Bubbles, the Dwarf Zebu,” by Carolyn Mueller.

Area children and their families will be able to meet the author/illustrator of this bright new book about a special zoo cow when Mueller is the Story Time guest at Washington Public Library this Tuesday, June 25, at 10 a.m.

Mueller, a zookeeper, will read “Bubbles” to the preschoolers, make a slide presentation and talk to the children about what it’s like to tend the animals.

Working with Bubbles at the St. Louis Zoo inspired Mueller to write about a cow from India that lives at the zoo and feels outside the fence emotionally. Bubbles has a hump like a camel and isn’t a typical black and white Holstein, like the ones made famous by Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

But Bubbles is sweet as can be and eager to please those who happen by her enclosure. In time, the dwarf zebu realizes she has lots to offer zoo visitors.

“I like to try and teach the kids about all the nitty-gritty, fun, sad, happy and dirty aspects of being a zookeeper,” Mueller said. “I also plan on talking to them about animal training, enrichment and baby animals too.”

Mueller originally worked at the Children’s Zoo where Bubbles lives. Recently she was transferred to the carnivore unit.

“So now I’m mainly taking care of the bears. Most times you can find me outside cleaning the bear pits from 8-10 a.m. five days a week,” Mueller said.

Mueller’s next book won’t focus on those massively big, furry guys. She’s writing a children’s book about a dog, a very brave, helpful canine that assisted with rescue efforts when the Joplin tornado hit in 2011.

“That story aims to not only highlight the work of everyday heroes in their hometowns, but also to help kids deal with loss and tragedy — to show them that although bad things happen, eventually everything will be OK.”

A date hasn’t yet been set for the book’s release. In the interim, young readers can swing by the library and hear Mueller’s presentation, which will be followed by a book signing. Then they can visit the St. Louis Zoo to meet the main character.