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BUFFALO MUSIC by Tracey E. Fern Kirkus Star

BUFFALO MUSIC

By Tracey E. Fern (Author) , Lauren Castillo (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 19th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-618-72341-6
Publisher: Clarion

When Molly first settled in West Texas, she did her chores to “buffalo music,” the noises made by massive herds of buffalo grazing nearby. Soon, however, buffalo hunters arrived to slaughter the animals they thought would last forever. “Forever came fast.” In six years the buffalo were gone. Molly’s grief over their loss abates when a fellow settler brings her two orphaned buffalo calves to raise. They thrive and word spreads: Soon Molly’s herd numbers 100. When Yellowstone National Park decides to rebuild its herd, some of Molly’s buffalo become founding members. Molly’s story, though fictional, is based on the real life of pioneer Mary Ann Goodnight, whose homebred buffalo eventually populated not only Yellowstone but other wildlife refuges and several zoos. Fern’s debut is auspicious. Her homespun expressions (“fending off wolves and poachers with the long end of my rifle”) allow Molly’s straightforward sentiment to shine. Castillo’s smudgy illustrations recall Glen Rounds and invest both Molly and the buffalo calves with enormous personality. Together they make this story one with widespread appeal. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)