Lonesome George, the Giant Tortoise

Lonesome George, the Giant Tortoise

by Francine Jacobs, Jean Cassels
     
 

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The remarkable true story of a one-of-a-kind survivor.

One lone tortoise lived a simple life on Pinta Island in the Galápagos Islands of the Pacific Ocean. Then visiting fishermen introduced goats to the unique island, which completely disrupted the ecosystem.

One lone tortoise stubbornly clung to life, even after his fellow tortoises disappeared slowly.

Overview

The remarkable true story of a one-of-a-kind survivor.

One lone tortoise lived a simple life on Pinta Island in the Galápagos Islands of the Pacific Ocean. Then visiting fishermen introduced goats to the unique island, which completely disrupted the ecosystem.

One lone tortoise stubbornly clung to life, even after his fellow tortoises disappeared slowly. Then, years after it was believed that all Pinta Island tortoises were extinct, scientists discovered one lone tortoise among the rocky hills of the now barren land.

The scientists named this miraculous survivor "Lonesome George" and brought him to the Darwin Research Station, where they hoped to find him a mate. Even though George has remained a steadfast bachelor while waiting for a Pinta Island mate, he is an inspiration for survival as well as a living reminder of the terrible price of extinction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Like his Sam the Sea Cow, author Francine Jacobs investigates the life of another sea creature, Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise by Francine Jacobs, illus. by Jean Cassels. Here she tells the true story of a 50-year-old tortoise from the Gal pagos Islands. Even though goats have eaten most of the food on the island, and the other tortoises have died out, George has survived-the last known saddleback tortoise from Pinta Island. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Unbeknownst to the reader, this story begins at least sixty years ago, during a period when the giant Pinta Island tortoises freely roamed the Galapagos Islands. Over time, giant tortoises became scarce. Many humans would hunt the nesting females. Even worse, island settlers brought with them farm animals that would eat the plants that the tortoises needed for food. The Pinta Island tortoises were thought to be nearly extinct until George was found in 1972. He may, however, be the last of his kind, especially if scientists cannot find him a Pinta female to mate with. This story is based on the life of a tortoise affectionately named "Lonesome George." Young readers will enjoy the storybook format as they learn about the life of these uncommon creatures. Additionally, readers will indirectly be learning about the importance of animal and environmental preservation. The illustrations help set the somber mood of this moving and enlightening story. 2003, Walker & Company, Ages 5 to 10.
—Denise Daley
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-George, a giant tortoise, lives on Pinta Island in the Gal pagos and spends his days foraging for food, finding shelter, and, most importantly, searching for a mate. When a fisherman brings a few goats to the island to ensure a supply of fresh meat, they soon overwhelm the habitat and consume the plants that tortoises need to survive. Before long, George is the only one of his kind left on Pinta. Park wardens discover his presence and relocate him to the Charles Darwin Research Station on nearby Santa Cruz. To date, George has been unwilling to mate with females from other islands, and scientists have not yet been successful in locating a female Pinta tortoise in a zoo, but the search continues. Using short sentences and simple vocabulary, Jacobs explains the potentially devastating effects of introducing nonindigenous animals into a habitat. Realistic, full-spread paintings and a text that flows like a story give this offering the look and tone of a picture book. Additional details about Gal pagos tortoises and contact information for resource organizations are included. An attractive addition with an important message.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Jacobs offers a story based on the true story of George, a giant land tortoise from Pinta Island in the Galapagos. George spends his day eating spiny cactus, snoozing to avoid the hot sun, and searching for a mate. Unfortunately, the island, once a haven for these slow-moving reptiles, has become overrun with wild goats that eat everything, stripping the island bare; George is the only remaining tortoise. Wardens come to shoot the goats and upon finding George, capture him, taking him to a preserve, where he becomes an instant celebrity. Zoos around the world continue to search for a female tortoise from Pinta. An afterword provides a capsule history of saddleback tortoises and an explanation of how people and alien animals destroy fragile habitats. The illustrator uses the double-page layout to good advantage and a soft-colored palette of green, gold, and tan to depict the austere island landscape. An appealing picture-book introduction to ecology-and an unusual animal. (Web sites) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802788641
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
10/01/2003
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.28(w) x 10.08(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile:
500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Francine Jacobs is the author of 24 books for children, including the Reading Rainbow Feature Selection Sam the Sea Cow, illustrated by Laura Kelly and Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise, illustrated by Jean Cassels. The story of Lonesome George appealed to her because it describes the discovery and rescue of a truly unique creature. She lives with her husband, Jerome Jacobs, in Pleasantville, New York.

Jean Cassels has illustrated more than fifty natural history books for children, but she also has a talent for more whimsical images of birds and beasts and bugs wearing all the latest fashions, as seen in The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson. The mother of two grown sons, she lives with her husband in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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