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The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk Hardcover – October 11, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 2–5—The auk was a northern penguin that lived and thrived in the cold waters of the Atlantic. This great bird "weighed as much as a sack of potatoes and stood as tall as a three-year-old," but it had one flaw: the bird had tiny wings that were excellent for water but terrible for flying. Though it was obviously humans who pushed the auk to extinction, the how and why make this a thrilling scientific page-turner. Stunning digitally created illustrations surround the text. The images have an etched and naturalistic quality that adds beauty and an emotional connection to the story of a long-extinct animal. Prose and science come together to highlight the loss of a species and then connect this extinction with modern conservation efforts. The narrative finishes with detailed back matter that includes bird comparisons and a list of extinct animals. VERDICT An excellent addition to a library or classroom collection for read-alouds and science lessons.—Karen Ginman, BookOps: The New York Public Library and Brooklyn Public Library
Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
ALA Notable Children's Books
Booklist Editors' Choice
SLJ's Best of 2016
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year
"This vivid, fascinating story emphasizes not only the importance of conservation but also how deeply intertwined the human and animal worlds can be. Eye-opening and tragic, to be sure, but surprisingly hopeful all the same." Booklist, starred review
"The images have an etched and naturalistic quality that adds beauty and an emotional connection to the story of a long-extinct animal. Prose and science come together to highlight the loss of a species and then connect this extinction with modern conservation efforts." School Library Journal, starred review
"Thornhill’s approach to this historical event is so advanced it’s simple: she tells the tale … And what a tale it is." ― Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
"Thornhill gracefully melds history and science, offering both detail and wit, as well as stirring illustrations that convey both the vast scale of oceans and the delicate patterns of an auk egg." ― New York Times
"Accompanied by exquisitely rendered drawings . . . the text will enthrall and sadden readers, perhaps reminding them that when a species is gone, it has disappeared forever." International Literacy Association
Top customer reviews
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The story is wonderfully complex, a mix of evolution (which shortened the bird's wings and made it vulnerable), climate change (which moved the auk away from safe waters), and human folly (which moved from viewing the auk as a resource to seeing it as a status symbol).
Thornhill's illustrations for the book are stunning. Groundwood Books, a Canadian publisher, deserves kudos for bringing this book to the public. It deserves wide recognition and should be in every school library (and not just for the youngest children).