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THE BUFFALO ARE BACK by Jean Craighead George


by Jean Craighead George & illustrated by Wendell Minor

Age Range: 5 - 10

Pub Date: May 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-525-42215-0
Publisher: Dutton

Beginning and ending with the joyous birth of a calf, George describes the eradication of bison from the American plains, subsequent ecosystem damage, return of the species and restoration of the tall grass prairie in this companion to The Wolves Are Back (2008). The author makes the interconnections between the animals and the native prairie grasses clear, emphasizing her point through repetition. Explaining that the eradication of the buffalo was a strategy for wiping out the Plains Indians, George’s sympathies are evident. She quotes Sioux Chief Sitting Bull’s description of the buffalo’s disappearance as “a death-wind for my people” and points out that the dust storms that followed were a death wind for settlers as well. Unfortunately, the book strays into fiction when a young Wichita Indian buffalo-census–taker watches a new calf at the Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, whose herd of only 13 (not 300) bison was reintroduced only in the fall of 2009 and has not yet grown. Minor’s expressive and lushly detailed paintings have texture and depth, supporting and enhancing the text. Environmental good news. (Informational picture book. 5-10)