Book Review: Moto and Me

51TGyqDRWIL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_I knew Suzi Eszterhas‘s photos shine. I’d seen many of them. So when I picked up Moto and Me (Owlkids Books), I expected to love them. What I didn’t expect, is for her voice to shine just as brightly…and it does.





During the day, lots of animals wandered in and out of camp: hippos, hyenas, and even a friendly bull elephant.  …But the most exciting animal encounter I had was with a tiny, helpless wildcat named Moto…

Moto’s family lived on the Masai Mara’s savanna, which in like a sea of grass.

Suzi begins with how she came to Africa as a photographer, and became a foster mom for an orphaned baby serval. She is careful to explain that Moto was never meant to be a pet, and had to be taught the skills to live in the wild. She chronicles, in words and pictures, that journey. Back matter includes a page of serval facts.

This book has wow-power, and though it is not a 5-minute read, could be read in its entirety to older students, or used in classes in sections over the course of a couple days. Sections could also be chosen to stand-alone. A definite pick for zoos, organizations that foster wildlife, and those who are promoting the “keep wildlife wild” message.

Ages: 7-10      9781771472425-MotoandMe_zoom

Grades 1-5

40 pages







Book Review: Buffalo Music

Buffalo Music (Clarion Books, 2008) by Tracey E. Fern and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, is a beautiful book based on the life of conservationist61Pp180ElVL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_ Mary Ann Goodnight, who is credited with creating the first captive buffalo herd in the 1800s when numbers of buffalo had plummeted. Goodnight eventually used her herd to re-populate Yellowstone National Park. Tracey’s story is told in folksy voice, and Lauren’s loose, child-friendly illustrations draw the reader in. An author’s note at the end gives further information about Molly Ann Goodnight, as well as a suggested reading list for more information on the American Bison.

This book is a great pick for those teaching about North American animals, endangered species, over-hunting, and bringing species back from the brink. The length of the text makes if more appropriate for mid to upper elementary kids. Preschoolers would likely have a difficult time sitting still for this one. Still, a great pick!


Book Review: Been There Done That: Reading Animal Signs

In keeping with the current theme of my month, (which is school author visits with friend and college, Jen Funk Weber, most days this month) I am reviewing Jen’s book, Been There, Done That: Reading Animal Signs (Arbordale, 2016). 61-+hU9EitL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_

Jen is a world traveler, having visited a Japan, Africa, Greece, Italy, the Galapagos Islands, and more. However this book focuses on the animals that live right outside her back door, in Alaska. In this book, two children hike in Alaska, looking for wildlife. But wildlife is stealthy, and is often there watching us, even when we don’t see them. Instead, the kids see signs that the animals have been there, have done that. A twist ending, leaves this a very memorable book!

Andrea Gabriel’s beautiful water colors  illustrate the walk, as Helena, the Alaska-living character in the book explains the signs she sees to her friend and visitor, Cole. Through the book, readers get a glimpse into the lives of snowshoe rabbits, salmon, eagles, beavers, moose and bear.  As with all Arbordale books, there are interesting activities in the back matter to further  the learning experience, and a free online teacher’s guide found here.snowshoe-hares-580w

This book would be a wonderful addition to programs dealing with North American animals, or a program that promotes hiking, getting outdoors, or forest therapy (a concept that intrigues me!)