Books by Cynthia Moss

Released: Nov. 1, 1997

A biography of Moss, whose dedication to elephant research pegs her as a true scientist, despite her lack of formal training. Pringle (Everybody Has a Bellybutton, p. 1227, etc.) profiles Moss; her eye-opening research on elephants changed the way people view them, and brought them protection from poachers. Although this book focuses mainly on Moss's life, it provides some information on elephants, too: Moss observed how elephants survived droughts, and how the wisdom of a female matriarch could benefit an entire elephant family. Clear full-color photographs show the elephants and their human observers. This is an inspirational book for those interested in animal-related vocations; for serious research on elephants, Moss's own books may be more suitable. (map, further reading, index) (Biography. 10-12) Read full book review >
LITTLE BIG EARS by Cynthia Moss
Released: Dec. 1, 1996

Subtitled ``The Story of Ely,'' this book takes a look at the first year of life for a physically challenged African elephant—also the subject of PBS documentaries—born in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Moss documents Ely's first year of life: When he is born, he cannot stand up because the first joints of his front legs were bent back and ``completely stiff.'' He cannot stand, nurse, or follow the herd. Only by hobbling on his knees does Ely survive the first day. For the next several days he stretches his partially unbent front legs until finally he is able to stand on the soles of his feet, and eventually learns to walk, too. But his trials are far from over; Ely has trouble feeding himself because his trunk is limp—at one point he accidentally steps on it. Once that's mastered, there is a drought, and the calves in the elephant family learn to eat the dung of the adults. Only when the rains come, at the end of Ely's first year, does his survival seem assured. The wordy text will not distract readers from the drama of Ely's story, nor will the occasionally cluttered layout: With no clear sense of design, close-ups are mingled with distance shots, and full-bleed spreads with framed insets. As is true of Ely, readers will have to work for their reward: a triumphant story of an elephant's survival against the odds. (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-10) Read full book review >