A nature photographer fosters a wild serval kitten in Kenya.
Combining irresistible images and a narrative that’s both informative and heartwarming, Eszterhas, a wildlife photographer who was living in a tent in the Masai Mara wildlife reserve at the time, describes how she nurtured an orphaned wildcat for nearly a year, helping him develop the skills he needed to return to the wild. Readers will be drawn in by the charming cover image of the kitten, but that’s only the beginning. Every spread includes the author/illustrator’s photos, carefully selected and artfully arranged. They illustrate the actions described in the text and chronicle Moto’s growth. Each spread has a topic title and three or four paragraphs of text accessible to early readers, with a satisfying amount of information. The author describes her home in the bush camp, the incident that separated Moto from her birth mother and family, and details of her fostering: a stuffed-animal companion, bottle feeding and his first mouse, adventures outside, and his growing independence. The inclusion of maps, a table of contents, and some general facts about servals make this far more than a sweet story; it’s a model of narrative nonfiction for the elementary-age audience.
Not just for fans of cat pictures, this is an encouraging example of wildlife rescue and release with guaranteed child appeal. (Informational picture book. 4-9)