“This is a wonderful book—a labor of love—that describes in soul-stirring language what it is like to live with the people, the animals, the birds, the snakes, the insects, the jungles, the treacherous rivers, the gorgeous scenery of seven continents. It is the best travel and exploratory work I have yet encountered. Marty Essen and his wife, Deb, are two highly intelligent, imaginative, and brave people.”

—Senator George McGovern, 1972 Democratic nominee for president

Above: This is the cover for the second edition paperback printing and the new Kindle book (Published December 1, 2012)


Above: This is the original book cover

Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents follows Marty and Deb Essen on an eight trip, three-and-a-half-year-long adventure to some of the wildest places on all seven continents.

The American couple began crisscrossing the globe with the simple intention of searching for rare and interesting wildlife. When their travels coincided with the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the added element made them unwitting ambassadors for peace. Their experiences—from amusing to life threatening—changed their lives forever.

This is not your average travelogue. Marty Essen has written a book that entertains, informs, and poignantly reminds us that we all share a small planet.

“An exciting and adventurous read. Cool Creatures, Hot Planet by Marty Essen is a roller coaster ride through the natural world that will both entertain and enlighten readers.”

—Jeff Corwin, The Jeff Corwin Experience

Awards and additional praise for Cool Creatures, Hot Planet:  

  • Winner: 2009 Green Book Festival Award for Animals
  • Winner: 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award for Travel/Essay
  • Winner: National Indie Excellence 2007 Book Award for Travel/Essay
  • Winner: Best Books 2006 Book Award for Travel/Essay
  • Bronze Metal: ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award for Travel/Essay
  • Bronze Metal: IPPY Award for Travel/Essay
  • Finalist: Nautilus Award for Animals/Nature
  • A Minneapolis Star-Tribune Top-10 “Green” Book

To read about the award Marty Essen won at the 2009 Green Book Festival click here.

“Essen’s colorful and descriptive writing conveys the excitement of the best TV wildlife-adventure shows.”—Billings Gazette

“It is an excellent travelogue . . .”—Midwest Book Review

“Those who enjoy armchair eco-tourism will dig on Cool Creatures, Hot Planet.”—January Magazine

“The book is perfect for armchair naturalists . . . it’s all action.”—Curled Up with a Good Book

“Grip the arms of your reading chair, hold your fear back and prepare for a ride, a thrill and an adventure.”—BootsnAll Travel

Marty's second book, Endangered Edens: Exploring the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica, the Everglades, and Puerto Rico, will be published in late 2015:


Marty Essen is a member of the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA). 

For information on bringing Marty's fascinating Seven Continents Digital Slide Show to your college or university, please click here.

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