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The Buffalo Are Back Hardcover – May 31, 2011

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Hardcover, May 31, 2011
$28.57 $32.89
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--This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-5 This picture book is a hybrid of nonfiction and fiction, as George tells the story of how the buffalo made a comeback in the American Midwest after being nearly decimated in the late 1800s. Beginning with the symbiotic relationship that the buffalo had with the American Indians and the land itself, she goes on to explain how westward expansion and poor decision-making on the part of the American government led to the animals' near extinction. As a result of those actions, the land became barren and inhospitable to any real crop growth, which contributed to the dust storms of the 1930s. With care and protection by a few key individuals, the native grasses and the buffalo were able to make a renaissance, bringing their numbers back up. Eloquent and affecting, the writing transports readers onto the plains and into the past, making the devastation sobering and real. And when the resurgence of both the buffalo and the land is described, it is with jubilation and relief. Accompanied by beautiful, single- or double-page watercolor illustrations that are rich with detail, the prairie comes to life. Excellent for sharing aloud with a group, this title provides a unique perspective on an integral time in American history. A must-have for most libraries. Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Reminiscent of George and Minor's The Wolves Are Back (2008), this handsome book discusses the history of the buffalo on the American plains. Succinctly and gracefully written, it envisions the centuries when Indians carefully managed the land, using the buffalo for food, shelter, and clothing. In the 1800s, government policies brought about the destruction of the tall-grass prairie, the shooting of the American buffalo, and the end of the Plains Indians' traditional way of life. In the early twentieth century, Teddy Roosevelt facilitated efforts to protect the few remaining buffalo. After the 1930s Dust Bowl, farming methods were changed and, eventually, some prairie lands were replanted with native grasses, enabling the return of many buffalo to prairie preserves. The book concludes with a few of the illustrator's sources as well as a list of places to visit in person or online, but no sources for the text, even for the quote from Chief Sitting Bull. Illustrated with beautiful landscape paintings and striking close-ups of people and animals, this book offers a very effective presentation of the buffalo's story. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Live Oak Media; Har/Com edition (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1430109785
  • ISBN-13: 978-1430109785
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 10.5 x 15.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,107,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Ana Braga-Henebry VINE VOICE on September 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I loved The Wolves Are Back and love this one even more. My husband has worked in a tallgrass prairie preserve in Kansas where the Buffalo roamed so this book hit home too. The story of destruction and sad lack of vision is told, but the book stays away from useless finger pointing or a hopeless, gloomy message. Indeed, much the opposite way, after reading it to your child you feel as if there is much hope for us and for the natural world as we learn about it! Kudos to the author and to the illustrator who did more than justice to the text. Absolutely gorgeous paintings!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By N. S. VINE VOICE on May 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A few years ago, the dynamic duo of Jean Craighead George and Wendell Minor wrote THE WOLVES ARE BACK. It is an absolutely must-have picture book science and history story about the disruption of the ecosystem at Yellowstone National Park triggered by the misguided eradication of the wolves more than eight decades ago, and how recent reintroduction of wolves into that system and elsewhere have led -- in dominoes-falling fashion -- to the reestablishment of a newly-invigorated and balanced ecosystem. What the pair show so vividly in text and illustration -- that there can be unintended and far-reaching consequences to the removal of a link in the ecological chain -- is a lesson that young (and old) people must assuredly learn if our planet is to remain a viable place for the generations yet to come.

In some ways, THE BUFFALO ARE BACK feels like an even more important story. Perhaps, to me, such feelings come from those unforgettable Dorothea Lange images stuck in my head that put such a human face on the tragedy of the Dust Bowl. Perhaps it's the savage accounts I've read about the government-led genocide. Whatever the case, the history story that the dynamic duo share this time around reveals how the destruction of the balanced prairie ecosystem involving the buffalo, the native grasses, and the American Indians led to billions of grasshoppers and the Dust Bowl.

Beyond showing how 'the great plow-up' had been such an ecological disaster, THE BUFFALO ARE BACK goes on to explain how the buffalo were eventually brought back from the brink of extinction, how contour plowing has made a difference, and how a search for tiny stands of native grasses in places like graveyards, old railroad beds, and the like, has provided the opportunity to gather their seed and reintroduce the native specie into the prairie ecosystem.

Again, the failure to learn such lessons of science and history could leave us planet-less.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Buffalo Butch on May 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great chlidrens book. Excellent illustrations. Good read even for a 50+ Buffalo expert. I encourage anyone to purchase it.
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Format: Hardcover
The little orange calf stood near his mother in the prairie grass. The lark and the prairie dogs stood by as they welcomed him to the world, a world where the grasses grew tall under the blue skies of North America. In the "mid-1800s seventy-five million buffalo roamed" the continent, but something happened to bring them almost to the brink of extinction. The prairie was once a welcoming place for little orange calves and the plains Indians tended it so it would be a healthy place. They set fire to the fields to create the ash that would put "nutrients in the soil." The Indian gave back what it took from the Earth and in return the buffalo provided for them.

There were hints of disaster when the "white fur hunters" came to the plains to needlessly attack the buffalo. The Indians were forced to leave and would no longer be nourishing the soils and the "sharp hooves [that] helped rainwater reach into the soil" were gone. The natural cycle of the Great Plains had been disturbed and misfortune would soon visit the land. The grasses were exchanged for shallow rooted crops and by the 1930s the land rebelled and catastrophe in the form of locust plagues and drought arrived. The little orange calves were all but gone. Could anyone help the land? Would the buffalo ever return to the Great Plains or would they be lost forever?

This is a heartwarming story of how the buffalo returned to the Great Plains. Part of the strength of this story is that it is presented in a picture book format which made it very accessible and appealing. The story is well written and the research is excellent. The tale flows very nicely and the artwork meshes perfectly as it swirls through these pages telling us the tale in pictures.
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