Monday, September 19, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: Can we save the tiger? by Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White

When I purchase books about endangered animals, environmental catastrophe, and other cheerful topics for children, I usually stick to a pretty firm rule: No "the world is coming to an end" nonfiction without a corresponding "how you can help" section. And I mean REAL suggestions, not just "write on both sides of paper." Sheesh.

However, this book is so gorgeous I will make an exception. This over-sized book is a tribute to the amazing animals that have become extinct - and the many endangered species on the verge of extinction.

Jenkins begins the book with a list of some of the animals that have become extinct, illustrated by Vicky White's pencil and oil drawings. Then we move on to the animals on the edge, starting with the beautiful tiger. Jenkins talks about the reasons the tiger is becoming extinct; loss of habitat, poaching, and hunting in a simple way that's easy to understand. He includes human - and local - perspectives as well. We see animals who are threatened for similar reasons and then a very different creature; the partula snail. This snail is threatened because of invasive species and the concept is explained clearly and graphically. We see more animals threatened by invasive species.

We also get to see success stories, starting with the American bison who was nearly extinct but saved just in time. Jenkins looks at other animals who have moved from near extinction to healthy numbers. But then we see an animal who's not so easy to save; the kakapo. We also have a look at the polar bear, who was thought to be safe but isn't anymore.

The end matter includes a list of websites devoted to conservation and containing more information on endangered and extinct animals and an index.

This book won't tell kids how they can help; but it's a beautiful and graphic depiction of the many animals that are endangered today and the variety of reasons they no longer thrive. It includes hope for the future with success stories like the American Bison, but is honest in showing the difficulties and problems of saving an animal.

Verdict: Pair this with a book on how kids can help (I have a title coming up next week with more on this). Kids and parents alike will be stunned by the beautiful illustrations; and inspired to do some research on conservation on their own. Recommended.

ISBN: 9780763649098; Published February 2011 by Candlewick; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

1 comment:

Anamaria (bookstogether) said...

This is such a gorgeous book, and I definitely agree that it will inspire kids to do more research on their own (we learned a lot more about vultures). Looking forward to next week's companion book!