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The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story Hardcover – September 27, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 900L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Black-Eyed Susan Book Awards - Picture Books 2013
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (September 27, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618581308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618581306
  • Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,608,398 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 1-3–Chiru are small, antelope-type animals that live in the mountains of Tibet. Although their wool is prized for its warmth, super-softness, and strength, the animals cannot be sheared like sheep. Obtaining their expensive skins means killing them, a practice that has resulted in the herds becoming endangered. This book takes a potentially horrifying topic and turns it into a heroic adventure tale. George B. Schaller studied wildlife all over the world, but became particularly interested in Tibet. He knew the chiru needed protection and began a quest to find their hidden breeding grounds. In order to save them, he thought that their land should be protected from hunters. Although he was unable to find the right area, four other men took up the cause. Experienced mountain climbers, they set out on a 200-mile journey through rough terrain following the animals. Their success in discovering the calving grounds gave Schaller the information he needed to lobby the Chinese government to protect the area and give the chiru a chance to survive. This story is told in elegant yet conversational language. Set-off boxes provide important factual information without interrupting the artistic flow of the main text. The acrylic paintings and book design are devised for high effect. The opening pictures employ an icy blue palette, introducing the cold atmosphere of the Tibetan plain. Photographs of the treacherous terrain and the men involved in the project are appended.Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

With an urgent conservation message, this picture book about a threatened species is also a true adventure that will hold readers with its action and facts about science. In spare, free verse, Martin describes the chiru, which look like antelope / but are related to wild goats and sheep and are at risk from poachers for their special wool, shahtoosh, the warmest and finest in the world. Conservationist George Schaller knows he has to protect the remote, secret place where chiru females give birth, so he follows them, helped by four mountain-climbing trekkers, who travel 200 miles to the birthing ground. The mixed-media spreads illustrate the wonder of the arduous journey that ends when the trekkers find the calving ground, which is now a protected secret place. The threat to the amazing species will move young readers: Wearing a shahtoosh shawl is the same as wearing three to five dead chiru. A spread of color photos from the expedition and a short bibliography conclude. Grades 1-3. --Hazel Rochman

More About the Author

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of Snowflake Bentley, winner of the 1999 Caldecott Medal. She grew up on a farm in Maine and now she lives in Mt. Vernon, Iowa.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Carey Hagan on December 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I'm always on the lookout for children's nonfiction that is beautiful, unique, and off the beaten track. This fits the bill perfectly. The pictures and text work in harmony to tell a really amazing tale. The illustrations by Linda Wingerter are both detailed and ethereal, showcasing the almost-otherworldly nature of the beautiful chiru. I adored this book,and I would consider buying it as a birthday present or special gift for a child [depending on the child, anywhere from 2nd grade to 6th grade] who loves animals and/or non-fiction and/or Tibet. It's also a fun, quick read for adults who [like me] have never heard of the chiru and want to know more about them. Highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kendal A. Rautzhan on February 24, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Visit Greatest Books for Kids ([...]) for more great book recommendations.

Read aloud: age 7 and older.
Read yourself: age 8 - 9 and older.

In the northern plains of Tibet, in a place called the Chang Tang, live the chiru - the only animals of their kind. Wool made from chiru is the warmest and finest wool in the world. But to make that wool, the chiru must be killed. Greed for chiru wool resulted in the chiru population rapidly diminishing. George B. Schaller knew he must do something to protect the chiru, but in order to do that he must find the secret place where the Chang Tang chiru gave birth. After Schaller made several failed attempts to find the secret place, four mountain-climbing men offered to help.
This is the true, amazing story of a compassionate scientist and the team of brave men who risked their lives to discover the unknown place chiru give birth, have the Chinese government protect that place from hunters, and keep its exact location a secret to help the chiru stay hidden and safe forever.
Meticulously researched, beautifully written and dramatically illustrated, this marvelous book is outstanding in every regard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Worthy on November 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
George Schaller happens to be an all-time hero of mine, along with Theodore Roosevelt. His work has helped win preservation of vast tracts of wild lands all over the world, thereby saving countless rare animals.

This picture book tells the tale of a grueling task: finding the important habitat of the endangered chiru, or Tibetan antelope, so that it could be protected, in the vast, harsh, cold Tibetan Plateau. These animals were slaughtered for their fine hair, much more valuable than cashmere, to make pashmina scarves. Children ought to have exposure to real-life heroes who work to preserve Earth's biological diversity, and this book will start them down that road. Delightful drawings accompany the text.
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