DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST by Irene Latham
Kirkus Star

DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST

And Other Poems from the Water Hole
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12

KIRKUS REVIEW

A poetic celebration of animal life found in the African grasslands.

Inspired by wildlife photographer Greg du Toit, who submerged himself in a Kenyan water hole to capture glimpses of the creatures gathering there, Latham and illustrator Wadham showcase the splendors of that world in this riveting picture-book tribute. Through spare lyric poems and brief but illuminating prose descriptions set within warm, subdued-toned spreads, the duo invite young readers to explore the importance of the water hole for no fewer than 15 species who congregate at this vital life source. Unusual beasts with sonorous names like impala, oxpecker, nightjar and wildebeest all come to drink, sometimes risking life and limb when met by dangerous snakes—“Puff adder / hisses— / rarely misses”—who also frequent the water hole to survive. In an effort to ward off other would-be predators, including the unrelenting African sun, a “rugby tangle” of frolicking zebras or a herd of elephants luxuriating in a “dust bath at dusk” may be spotted, all hoping to evade the services of the “mean-eyed marabou,” the bald-headed carrion-eating stork. Latham’s finely crafted verse, at once humorous and serious, dazzlingly opens the imagination to the wilds of the world.

Enlightening and engaging, a thrilling panorama of the diversity to be found throughout the animal kingdom. (glossary, further reading) (Picture book/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-4677-1232-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2014




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