After the Killby Darrin Lunde, Catherine Stock (Illustrator)
A hungry lioness attacks a grazing zebra on the plains of East Africa. She bites it in the throat. The zebra is dead. After the kill, the lioness and her pride rip the carcass open and eat. Vultures swoop in and fight over scraps of meat, and cunning jackals compete with bone-crushing hyenas for a piece of the feast. Life on the plain is a constant, dramatic
A hungry lioness attacks a grazing zebra on the plains of East Africa. She bites it in the throat. The zebra is dead. After the kill, the lioness and her pride rip the carcass open and eat. Vultures swoop in and fight over scraps of meat, and cunning jackals compete with bone-crushing hyenas for a piece of the feast. Life on the plain is a constant, dramatic struggle for survival between predator, prey, and scavenger.
When a lioness kills a zebra, the carcass becomes food not only for her pride but also for vultures, hyenas, jackals and, finally, meat-eating beetles that clean the skeleton, leaving it to turn to dust on Africa's Serengeti Plain.
The cover illustration summarizes the narrative: A lioness, mouth open and long canines visible, reaches out with large clawed paws; lion, jackal and hyena are close behind. A vulture perches on the title page. This is a realistic depiction of predation in the wild. Aimed at elementary-school readers, this title has none of the sweetness of the Smithsonian mammologist's earlier works about bumblebee bats, meerkats and baby belugas.Lunde's explicit description doesn't mince words: "[T]he lioness rips the carcass open and feeds on the soft internal organs first." Informational paragraphs, set off in a different type, accompany the narrative, adding intriguing details about each species. These dual texts are set on full-bleed double-page paintings done in pencil, watercolor and gouache. The jumble of animals around the kill is realistic; yellows and browns of the sunlit Serengeti landscape and red of the blood predominate. The action in these paintings moves relentlessly forward until the last arrivals, the lappet-faced vultures and beetles, finish the job.
Pair this with Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen's Flying Eagle, illustrated by Deborah Kogan Ray (2009), for more "nature red in tooth and claw" science. (Informational picture book. 7-10)
Meet the Author
Darrin Lunde has worked as a mammalogist at the American Museum of Natural History and at the Smithsonian Institute. His work has brought him into contact with all kinds of animals, big and small, throughout the remote forests of South America, Africa, and Asia where he camped for months at a time to survey species diversity and to discover new species. He is the author of HELLO, BUMBLEBEE BAT, a Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor Book, AFTER THE KILL, and other books about animals. He lives in Washington, DC.
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