Kirkus Reviews QR Code
WHISTLING THORN by Helen Cowcher


by Helen Cowcher & illustrated by Helen Cowcher

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-590-47299-2
Publisher: Scholastic

 Again, an outstandingly beautiful offering from Cowcher (Tigress, 1991), this time in a simple, fascinating explanation of the acacia's symbiotic adaptation--which allows it to survive despite the giraffe's fondness for its leaves--that is almost a pourquoi tale: Long ago, both giraffes and rhinos enjoyed the acacia, but rhinos didn't damage the trees as did the giraffes, which reached even the highest branches. Eventually, acacias developed thorns shaped like galls (the wind whistles through their holes), bearing a sweet nectar that attracts ants that sting the giraffes when they feed, limiting their browsing. Cowcher's bold, graphic designs, featuring elegant giraffes and lacy acacias, are rendered in luxuriantly dramatic colors. An intriguing bit of natural history, emblematic of nature's intricate, delicate balance. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 4-8)