Friday, January 25, 2019

Fact Friday: The Great Rhino Rescue: Saving the Southern White Rhinos by Sandra Markle

The Great Rhino Rescue: Saving the Southern White Rhinos by Sandra Markle. Sandra Markle's Science Discovery Series. 48 p. Millbrook Press/ Lerner Publishing Group, August, 2018. 9781541524729. (Review of finished purchased copy.)

Markle delivers another informative and outstanding entry in her "Discovery" series. She does have a flair for dramatic storytelling and getting readers invested immediately. As in The Great Penguin Rescue, the author tugs at the reader's heartstrings. In this case, we are introduced to a mama and baby white rhino calmly foraging until mama is darted by poachers seeking her horn. Her calf cries as mama collapses. The reader is left hanging as the next chapter talks about the species near extinction in the 1800s. She fluidly explains their loss of habitat to European settlers hunting them for sport and farming great expanses of the savanna. 

In case readers do not know what a savanna is, a blue text box explains. Readers also learn about rhino growth and development as well as the differences between white rhinos and black rhinos. Photos, charts and maps adorn every page.  They are crisp, clear and full-color depicting single rhinos, mothers and babies, males fighting, rhinos wallowing and groups of rhinos. All are well-captioned. A couple are quite disturbing though.

One that was particularly upsetting to me depicts a chain saw wielding man and a horn-less rhino starting bleakly and helplessly at him. Granted, this amputation was being done safely and proactively to make the rhino worthless to poachers but personally, I could've done without the image. And, readers learn later, that this "solution" was not a great one. Sobering and effective, to be sure.

The other was of a rhino suspended upside down from a helicopter. Yikes! The reason for this was the rescue was from a remote area inaccessible by truck. The photos of rhinos recovering from poacher attacks are not easy to see either. Not easy, but necessary. We must be educated about our wildlife and the importance of every animal to the ecosystems they inhabit. I particularly admire the dedication of anti-poacher workers and their canine companions. 

Young researchers will find the backmatter quite useful. It includes an author's note, timeline, source notes, a glossary and books and websites to learn more. High quality books about animal conservation are needed now more than ever. As protective laws are being relaxed, we need to instill a love and respect for the environment in our youth. The Great Rhino Rescue is a first-purchase. 

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