This 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.