Animal Rescue Picture Books

BookendsLynn and Cindy: There isn’t much more moving than a wonderful animal rescue story. Today, we bring you two picture books that are guaranteed to elicit a little moisture in even the driest of eyes.

Orangutan Orphanage by Suzi EszterhasPrepare yourself for a cuteness surge! The latest entry in Suzi Eszterhas’ Wildlife Rescue series, Orangutan Orphanage (2016), features one heart-melting photograph after another. Eszterhas traveled to Borneo to tell the inspiring story of Dr. Birute Mary Galdikas and her lifelong effort to study, protect and rescue orangutans. Dr. Galdikas arrived in Borneo 40 years ago and soon recognized the need to start rescuing orangutans orphaned by habitat destruction. She founded the Orangutan Foundation International and still works to rescue and raise orphaned orangutans and return them to the jungle, while working to conserve and protect their rain forest habitat.

Along with her outstanding photographs, Eszterhas provides excellent information about orangutans, as well as conservation facts and things kids can do to help. I especially liked a section called Kids Ask Suzi, which includes questions and answers of high interest to most kids. And no one will be able to resist that face on the cover!

elephant journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity by Rob LaidlawAt the other end of the measuring tape are the animals in our second rescue book, Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and Their Rescue from Captivity (2016), by Rob Laidlaw. Three female elephants at the Toronto Zoo were clearly suffering because of the cold climate and a restricted environment. Activists pushed for a move to the PAW sanctuary in California. It took two years, but the Toronto City Council eventually agreed. But how do you move three adult elephants 2,500 miles?

Laidlaw, an animal protection activist, tells the story in this fascinating picture book. It took enormous effort, careful planning, the construction of special crates, a flotilla of semi trucks, and a summit of animal experts. The long journey was packed with tension.

Illustrator Brian Deines based his lovely oil paintings on photographs of the elephants’ journey and new life in California. They provide a dynamic sense of being on the journey. I freely admit to having tears in my eyes when I l encountered scenes of the elephants enjoying their new, wide-open home.

Back matter includes photographs of the elephants’ journey, general information about elephants,  and a nice index.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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