When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone

When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, Dan Hartman
     
 

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Yellowstone National Park's majestic geologic wonders and remarkable wildlife draw millions of visitors each year. But there was a time when these natural treasures were in great danger, all because after years of unrestricted hunting, one key piece of the puzzle had been eliminated—the wolf.

Now, more than a decade after scientists realized the wolves'

Overview

Yellowstone National Park's majestic geologic wonders and remarkable wildlife draw millions of visitors each year. But there was a time when these natural treasures were in great danger, all because after years of unrestricted hunting, one key piece of the puzzle had been eliminated—the wolf.

Now, more than a decade after scientists realized the wolves' essential role and returned them to Yellowstone, the park's natural balance is gradually being restored.  The informative dual-level text and spectacular full-color photographs show the wolves in the natural habitat that was almost lost without them.  Readers of all ages will be inspired by the delicate natural system that is Yellowstone.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Colleen Kessler
Learning about the interconnectedness of nature and ecosystems is a tough challenge for elementary aged children. This is an often abstract skill that is commonly taught as early as first grade. Patent's book is an amazing resource that will help children of all ages see exactly how one species can affect many others. Written in a dual level format, this book will appeal to kids, parents and teachers. Simple language is featured on the left-hand page of a spread, while more detailed and complex information is presented on the right-hand side. All of the text is accompanied by stunning photographs presented by the father-daughter team of Dan and Cassie Hartman. Details about additional books and web sites are included at the end of the book, along with an index to help readers find specific information easily. Reviewer: Colleen Kessler
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5- Removal of one predator-the wolf-from Yellowstone National Park caused the decline of many animal species, subsequently changing the very terrain of the area as ponds and trees also disappeared. The rise and fall and interdependence of species are explained simply in this slim survey of some of the park's wildlife. Patent begins with the Congressional designation of Yellowstone as a national park in 1872, stating that in the early years the geologic wonders rather than the animals were the main attraction. The wolf was a popular hunting target, and its demise led to an overpopulation of elk and coyotes and a complex chain of effects. The format sets small chunks of text and two or three small color photographs on a black background at the far right of the spread. A large color photo fills the remaining space, with a framed sentence superimposed on the picture. The two blocks of text become repetitive, but they're apparently intended as a dual-level text, so that children can read either the briefer explanations on the left or the longer ones opposite. Bits of background terrain are seen in the pictures, but they do not capture the dramatic decline and renewal of the ecosystem suggested. There is no map to indicate the large size and location of Yellowstone. The book concludes with a review quiz with small animal photos.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston

Kirkus Reviews
The original mission of Yellowstone, the world's first national park, was people's enjoyment of its geologic wonders. Unaware of the intricate balance of nature, the U.S. government supported the extermination of wolves there, and by 1926 they were all gone. In this account, a profusion of wildlife photographs, most by the Hartmans, illustrates the resulting changes in the ecosystem and the return to balance since wolves were reintroduced the 1990s. Supporting the historical background are black-and-white National Park Service images. The narrative proceeds on two levels, a simple boxed text on the left-hand page suitable for reading aloud with more detail in a paragraph on the right. The description of the welcome restoration of equilibrium is reinforced by a double-page spread at the end of the book asking readers to recall the wolf effect on each living thing pictured. Pair this with Jean Craighead George's The Wolves are Back (2008) for contrasting but equally effective approaches to this piece of ecological good news. (bibliography, index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802796868
Publisher:
Walker & Company
Publication date:
04/29/2008
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
40
Sales rank:
417,797
Product dimensions:
11.07(w) x 10.03(h) x 0.39(d)
Lexile:
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent has written more than a hundred books—mostly nonfiction and photo-essays for children—including The Right Dog for the Job, which earned a starred review from School Library Journal, and Flashy Fantastic Rain Forest Frogs. Dorothy lives in Montana with her husband. Visit her Web site at www.dorothyhinshawpatent.com.

Dan and Cassie Hartman, a father-daughter team, live on the northeast border of Yellowstone National Park and have photographed a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat. Sixteen-year-old Cassie had her first photograph published in Montana Outdoors magazine when she was only ten years old; Dan's work has been published in National Wildlife and National Geographic. The Hartmans have also operated their "Wildlife Along the Rockies" Gallery in Silver Gate, Montana, for the past seventeen years. Visit their Web site at www.wildlifealongtherockies.homestead.com.

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