The Buffalo Are Back

Overview

The buffalo, an American icon once nearly extinct, has made a comeback. This stirring picture book tells the dramatic story, following bison from the Plains Indians to the cowboys, Teddy Roosevelt to the Dust Bowl, and from the brink of extinction to the majestic herds that now roam our national parks. Paired with gorgeous paintings by landscape artist Wendell Minor, Jean Craighead George’s engaging text will inspire a new generation to understand and protect nature’s delicate ...

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Overview

The buffalo, an American icon once nearly extinct, has made a comeback. This stirring picture book tells the dramatic story, following bison from the Plains Indians to the cowboys, Teddy Roosevelt to the Dust Bowl, and from the brink of extinction to the majestic herds that now roam our national parks. Paired with gorgeous paintings by landscape artist Wendell Minor, Jean Craighead George’s engaging text will inspire a new generation to understand and protect nature’s delicate balance.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
From the creators of The Wolves Are Back, this graceful story explores how the American buffalo almost became extinct. Minor’s striking naturalistic paintings of buffalo and a dust bowl landscape mirror George’s sturdy, reflective prose: “When the buffalo lived on the prairie, their sharp hooves helped rain reach down into the earth, and the tough roots of the grass held in the wet.” Theodore Roosevelt’s establishment of the National Bison Range offers hope for buffalo, and in a moving final spread, a Wichita Indian man counting buffalo for the census welcomes “America’s two hundred thousand and eighty-first buffalo” calf. A tribute to an American icon and to the power of preservation. Ages 5–8. (May)
Booklist
Succinctly and gracefully written...Illustrated with beautiful landscape paintings and striking close-ups of people and animals.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—This picture book is a hybrid of nonfiction and fiction, as George tells the story of how the buffalo made a comeback in the American Midwest after being nearly decimated in the late 1800s. Beginning with the symbiotic relationship that the buffalo had with the American Indians and the land itself, she goes on to explain how westward expansion and poor decision-making on the part of the American government led to the animals' near extinction. As a result of those actions, the land became barren and inhospitable to any real crop growth, which contributed to the dust storms of the 1930s. With care and protection by a few key individuals, the native grasses and the buffalo were able to make a renaissance, bringing their numbers back up. Eloquent and affecting, the writing transports readers onto the plains and into the past, making the devastation sobering and real. And when the resurgence of both the buffalo and the land is described, it is with jubilation and relief. Accompanied by beautiful, single- or double-page watercolor illustrations that are rich with detail, the prairie comes to life. Excellent for sharing aloud with a group, this title provides a unique perspective on an integral time in American history. A must-have for most libraries.—Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Kirkus Reviews
Beginning and ending with the joyous birth of a calf, George describes the eradication of bison from the American plains, subsequent ecosystem damage, return of the species and restoration of the tall grass prairie in this companion to The Wolves Are Back (2008). The author makes the interconnections between the animals and the native prairie grasses clear, emphasizing her point through repetition. Explaining that the eradication of the buffalo was a strategy for wiping out the Plains Indians, George's sympathies are evident. She quotes Sioux Chief Sitting Bull's description of the buffalo's disappearance as "a death-wind for my people" and points out that the dust storms that followed were a death wind for settlers as well. Unfortunately, the book strays into fiction when a young Wichita Indian buffalo-census-taker watches a new calf at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, whose herd of only 13 (not 300) bison was reintroduced only in the fall of 2009 and has not yet grown. Minor's expressive and lushly detailed paintings have texture and depth, supporting and enhancing the text. Environmental good news. (sources, websites) (Informational picture book. 5-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525422150
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 223,851
  • Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean Craighead George is a naturalist and award-winning author of many books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor My Side of the Mountain and Newbery Award—winning Julie of the Wolves. She lives in Chappaqua, New York.

Wendell Minor is a celebrated illustrator and designer of books for children, many by his friend Jean Craighead George. He lives in Connecticut.

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