JUBELA by Cristina Kessler


Age Range: 6 - 8
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Based on a true incident, this tale of an orphaned baby rhinoceros that beats the odds by surviving will not only move readers, but also will serve as a heads-up that poaching has brought rhinos to the edge of extinction. When “sudden loud bursts” shatter the night’s peace, Jubela’s mother runs far and fast, but finally collapses lifeless. In a scene of infinite sadness, Jubela, confused and helpless, stands near her body until hunger and the scent of man forces him away. Just as his strength is about to give out completely, another rhino appears, a large old female who adopts him, teaches him how to find food and water, and lingers protectively nearby until he is grown enough to be independent. With strongly atmospheric dry pastels, Stammen (If You Were Born a Kitten, 1997, etc.) captures the Swaziland plains simmering beneath a blazing sun or wrapped in evening’s cool darkness; wildlife—the rhinos especially—are viewed from a low angle, giving them a monumental solidity. Though author and illustrator steer clear of anthropomorphism (“Jubela” is the name given the young rhino by game park rangers), the parent-child attachment, and the anxiety of facing a wide world without adult protection, comes through clearly. (afterword) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-689-81895-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2000


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