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Cristina Kessler

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Member Since: Aug, 2000

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Category: 

Children

Publisher:  Simon&Schuster ISBN-10:  0689818955
Pages: 

32

Copyright:  Septemeber, 2001

An illustrated children's book, set in Swaziland, that documents the survival of a baby rhino whose mother was killed by poachers. He survived after being adopted by an old matriarch rhino..

Amazon
Cristina Kessler


"What makes this book both exquisite and heartbreaking is the combination of beautifully, but simply expressed poetic prose that demonstrates a deep understanding of the orphaned calf and sensitive, skillful illustrations that show the poignancy of Jubela's sorrow and bewilderment and the vibrancy of African plains life...All people who care about their fellow creatures will find a powerful lesson here." (Starred review, School Library Journal)

A "Pick of the List" American Booksellers Association

A Nest Literary Classic Selection

A Junior Library Guild Selection

A "Gold Medal Award Winner" 2001, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio

"Favorite 10 Titles, 1991 - 2001" Audubon Society Magazine

Winner of the ASPCA' s Henry Bergh Honor Book Award for 2002 in the category of Fiction: Ecology and Environment.

Finalist for the Children's Choice Picture Book Award 2003 in Washington state, to be announced next year.
  




Professional Reviews

Publisher's Weekly
Mali-based writer and photographer Kessler takes the bare bones of a true story--based on an occurrence in Swaziland, as she explains in an afterword--and fleshes them out beautifully. Orphaned after a poacher shoots his mother, a baby rhino must survive alone on the African savanna until an older female adopts him. From lyrical descriptions ("sunlight surrendered to darkness") to vigorous passages ("his clumsy feet kicked stones aside as he thrashed through the thicket"), Kessler's prose effectively distills the drama of the events for a picture book audience and wins sympathy for the baby's plight without anthropomorphizing the animals involved. Stammen (If You Were Born a Kitten) bathes her spare but expansive pastel vistas in luxurious light, from the intense African noon that bleaches the color from the landscape, to the long, slanting rays of twilight and the purple and orange glory of a sunset. Her effective use of silhouetted images--the baby rhino alone in the darkness, for instance--underscores the poignancy of his situation. Ages 4-8.



Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.











School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-The bare bones of this Swaziland story are the experiences of a baby rhino whose mother is shot, as he suffers fear, hunger, thirst, and exhaustion until he chances upon an elderly lone female that adopts him. What makes the book both exquisite and heartbreaking is the combination of beautifully, but simply expressed, poetic prose that demonstrates a deep understanding of the orphaned calf and sensitive, skillful illustrations that show both the poignancy of little Jubela's sorrow and bewilderment and the vibrancy of African plains life. Using color and a variety of perspectives creatively, the page-and-a-half spreads enhance the text and reflect its moods. In a soft but realistic technique, the artist pictures the baby lolling happily in a mud hole on a sunny grassland while his mother watches benignly and then their mad flight through a dark blue night to escape the hunters. A pale blue dawn follows and finds the orphan crouching by his dead mother's side. Jubela then wanders alone, passing herds of zebras, impalas, and elephants, until he finds a foster mother. The message is clear but presented tenderly, not stridently. All people who care about their fellow creatures will find a powerful lesson here.-Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA



Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.



Review

Library Talk, starred review Magnificent. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.







Booklist
From Booklist

Ages 4-8. Based on a true story of a baby rhinoceros in Swaziland, southern Africa, this picture book makes a plea for conservation of an endangered species. The baby rhino sees his mother collapse and die after they run from shots in the night. For days he survives, hot and very hungry, alone and afraid, running from the smell of humans. Passing elephants ignore him. Galloping zebra leave him behind. Then he smells something familiar, and he finds an old mother rhino. She adopts him and teaches him to graze and to run from the scent of humans. The plain, physical words ("Old mother rhino's breathing / filled the darkness, and her huge body, nestled so close") stay true to the baby rhino's viewpoint, and so do the large, handsome pastel illustrations, which capture the sweep of the savanna from dawn to dusk with realistic close-ups of the rhinos and other animals that live there. Hazel Rochman

Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved





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