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Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication Library Binding – March 1, 2011


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Elephant Talk: The Surprising Science of Elephant Communication + The Elephant Whisperer: My Life with the Herd in the African Wild
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 1220L (What's this?)
  • Library Binding: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Twenty First Century Books (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761357661
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761357667
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,037,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ann Downer was born in Virginia but spent part of her childhood in the Philippines and in Thailand, where she journeyed to Chiang Mai to see an elephant roundup for her twelfth birthday. She is the author of five fantasy novels for young readers and two previous books about science, including Spring Pool: The Ecology of Temporary Ponds. For many years she worked as a science editor at a university press. The best part of that job was getting to meet and work with a lot of scientists, but she also got to spend five minutes in a playpen with a litter of tiger cubs and kayak up the Susquehanna River with eighty arachnologists. More recently she has been looking for ways to combine her love of science and story through blogs, podcasts, and graphic novels. She lives outside Boston with her husband and son and one guinea pig.

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Customer Reviews

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If you have any interest in elephants at all, I highly recommend this book.
Book-Loving Mom of Two
For many years scientists have been hard at work gathering information on the way elephants communicate with one another.
D. Fowler
The information is presented in an interesting way that will keep kids interested.
S. Power

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Maurer on April 9, 2011
Format: Library Binding
For some reason I heard about this book and I instantly became fascinated in elephants. Just ask my wife as she was so tired of me rambling on about elephants. The book finally arrived in our library and I was so excited to read it. I skipped ahead of all my other reading tasks and books and late fees to read.

I loved it. What a cool book. Actually, what a cool animal! This massive beast of a creature is so intelligent. I learned so many things and more than anything else I have a new respect for this animal. the skills of elephants are amazing. I kept learning and learning while reading I have not done this in quite some time.

I never knew that elephants gather a cluster of long, thick grass to clean their ear canals.

I never knew about all the vocalizations and communication methods of elephants. Quite amazing.

I never knew they pooped over 300 lbs a day.

I never knew you could make paper from their poop.

I never knew that there are around 150,000 muscles in their trunk while the human body has around 8000.

I just never knew. And now I do and I feel so much better about.

Read this book. Great for anyone, even reluctant readers because the pictures are amazing and it is not saturated in a lot of scientific talk.

Off to watching animal shows with my kids. I need more books like this.
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Format: Library Binding
An elephant calf walks closely behind his mother, already closely observing her and others in the herd as he begins to learn their language. Elephant language, or "elephant talk," can be expressed in many ways from body language, a wide array of calls, and even infrasound communication. As young calves mature they continue to glean behavioral cues from their "close-knit family" in order to survive and thrive in their herds. For many years scientists have been hard at work gathering information on the way elephants communicate with one another. In this book you will be able to "listen" and look at the African savanna elephant, the African forest elephant, and the Asian elephant, and walk right along beside scientists as they attempt to uncover the complex ways that elephants communicate with one another. You'll be able to get a glimpse at elephants who remain in captivity such as Daisy, and others who remain in the wild.

Elephants have been by our side for thousands of years as they joined us "in religious festivals, guarded temples, and presided over weddings." They have gone to battle with us and have assisted us in building, but now are facing a battle of their own. With approximately 600,000 elephants remaining in the world, they now face extinction in the wild if poaching continues at its rapid pace. The more we can learn about "elephant talk," the more we may be able to help them help themselves. Observation has shown the different life stages of the elephant from its helpless beginning to toddlerhood, teens, and adulthood and how they absorb and learn language. Learning about elephants and their social networking has also helped scientists learn about language development.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Book-Loving Mom of Two on March 11, 2011
Format: Library Binding
Elephants are amazing creatures. Truly amazing. And after reading Elephant Talk by Ann Downer, I am even more convinced of this fact. Downer focuses on the way elephants communicate with one another, through trumpets, rumbles, growls, squeaks and chirps, as well as body language and some infrasounds that humans can't even hear.

She describes how elephants are social creatures who are able to recognize family and communicate with one another from miles away. She talks of the way family members interact with one another, and the way the females care for their young calves. She also looks at how elephants compare to other social creatures, including humans.

The book delves into some of the research that is being conducted on elephants in Africa and in captivity to better understand the way they communicate. Downer explains some of the specific science that is being done, such as examining scat (yuck!) and the inner ear, and using recording collars and microphones in trees to hear the elephants "speak." It's quite interesting ~ not at all dry reading. And the pages are filled with vibrant pictures to illustrate the points.

Elephant Talk is written for the young adult audience; it was a bit too much for my kids who are preschool and early elementary age, but it would be great for those in middle school or even high school who are interested in learning about elephant communication either for a school project or just because it's so fascinating! And I will definitely pull some of the information out to talk about with my kids. If you have any interest in elephants at all, I highly recommend this book.
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