Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly``There are elephants in Africa,'' writes the author of this sweetly told and delicately painted picture book. Le Tord ( Peace on Earth: A Book of Prayers from Around the World ) shows adult elephants tenderly caring for their young; coexisting with other wildlife; grazing in their African habitat. ``There are elephants in Africa,'' she begins again, describing them as ``gentle and tender / powerful and fierce.'' The third repetition of the opening phrase leads to a lullaby-like passage about elephant young sleeping in the light of the moon. The artwork, rendered in diffused shades of pink, green, blue and gray, suggests both fragility and splendor. Its poignancy reflects the heartfelt preface, which explains that the African elephant is direly threatened by the ivory trade; ``Looking at hundreds of elephant photographs and peering into their eyes made me feel as if I were looking at someone I know,'' adds Le Tour, who also lists organizations committed to saving the elephant. Poetic and powerful. Ages 5-8. (June)
Emily MeltonThis book is designed partly to entertain, partly to portray the unique beauty and intelligence of the African elephant, and partly to inform readers about the devastation wrought, especially on the matriarchs of the herds, by poachers and ivory hunters. Le Tord obviously feels a deep affection for these magnificent creatures, each with its own distinct personality and identity. Although her sentences are sparse and simple, her writing is graceful, with each word carefully chosen to convey Africa's mystery and ambience. The illustrations feature the country's flora and fauna, with Le Tord's beloved elephants taking center stage. The soft pastels and the artist's attention to detail are reminiscent of the finest Oriental watercolors, but Le Tord has added a touch of gentle humor to the expressive faces and forms of her animals. Young readers will enjoy the vivid descriptions of the elephant and its habitat, and budding environmentalists can learn what it means when a species is placed on the endangered list. (For readers who want to help save the African elephant, there is a list of organizations dedicated to the cause.) A good "first book" to introduce young readers to the concept of global awareness.
- Random House Children's Books
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