Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Wolves Are Back

George, Jean Craighead. 2008. THE WOLVES ARE BACK. Ill. by Wendell Minor. New York: Dutton. ISBN 078052547945 [Suggested Grade Levels 2-7]

After researching in Yellowstone, Jean Craighead George wrote about the complex interactions between predators and prey and how the delicate balance was upset when wolves were eliminated in the national park. Starting with a wolf pup, George follows the relationships of the living organisms and how each in turn is connected. This narrative nonfiction story explains how the land and its inhabitants returned to a natural balance.

Wendell Minor researched extensively and spent time with Jean Craighead George at Yellowstone before beginning the illustrations for this book. He fills the pages with lush, detailed paintings of the wolves and other animals in the natural habitats of Yellowstone and depicts the changes in seasons through the use of color. The accurate animal figures bring the book a natural, authentic feel.

The complex interactions of living organisms and their environment are portrayed in poetic narrative and the book unfolds the intricacies of a food web in a natural setting while showing the negative and positive effects people can have on the natural order. The information presented allows the reader to perceive this food web as the book unfolds, and it depicts this complicated relationship quite naturally.

This book is a logical starting point for introducing a food web and the study of habitats and environments. It encourages exploration of the relationship of living organisms and presents the science concepts naturally and contributes to an overall awareness of how humans can affect the environment. Children can research more information about the animals in Yellowstone using National Parks websites.

Other books for children about food webs:
Sayre, April Pulley. TROUT ARE MADE OF TREES. ISBN 978-1-58089-137-0

By Shirley Smith Duke

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