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Here Is the African Savanna (Web of Life)

Press:Transition Vendor Web of Life Children's Books (March 13, 2006)
Publication Date:2006-3
Author Name:Leonard, Tom (ILT)


Exotic environments like the African savanna have long held a fascination for young readers. 
This colorful picture book beautifully evokes that realm with images of giraffes, lions, hippos, elephants, and many more animals of the plains.
Through cumulative, singsong verse, young readers learn how all living things in this important ecological community rely on one another for their existence.
The book brings home the important lesson that when one of these animals or plants is killed off or goes extinct, the web of life is broken.
Luminous paintings by Tom Leonard capture the untamed beauty of this timeless, endangered realm.

From Kirkus Reviews

PLB 0-7868-2134-5 A lovely circular, cumulative tale evokes the landscape and animals of the African savanna. 
Dunphy noses around the food chain as she introduces such creatures as zebras, lions, impalas, baboons, and elephants, against a backdrop of grass and acacia trees.
Most of the animals, tick birds to hippos, make unobtrusive yet effective eye contact with readers, drawing them into the scene.
Dunphy's wording is a pleasure to read, and her this-is-the-house-that-Jack-built structure is musical: ``who eat the grass/that grows on the plain/which turns green or brown/depending on rain:/Here is the African savanna.'' Leonard's artwork is equally engaging; he zooms in to catch the hippo's whiskers, pulls back to command the savanna's sweep, and maintains a steady flow of characters to keep the pacing crisp.
A brief overview of the plants and animals mentioned in the book appears at the end.
(Picture book.
3-8) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP.
All rights reserved.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Children's Books,Animals,Elephants,Geography & Cultures,Explore the World,Africa,Education & Reference,Science Studies,Environment & Ecology

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Comment List (Total:9)

  •     Our toddler *loves* this book. It didn't take him long to understand the cumulative pattern the book was using, and it didn't take much longer before he was able to finish sentences and later narrate pages to us. Fun for him, fun for us. Nice (I like the way the Kirkus review calls it "handsome") artwork too.

  •     "Here is the African Savanna" is an engaging picture book that is also educational. The cumulative style along the lines of This is the House that Jack Built makes this a perfect book for reading aloud to young children ( ages 4-8) or for motivating beginning and intermediate readers. My daughter, who is five-and-a-half was able to read the text about the wildlife in the African savanna with some help from me. She loved the vivid colors of the illustrations, especially the bold depiction of the various wildlife such as the zebras, lions, giraffes, baboons, impalas, tick birds, hippos, and elephants portrayed in their natural surroundings.This is an informative and educational book, great for introducing young children to creatures of the African savanna. There is also a useful glossary at the back of the book which provides more details on the various inhabitants of the savanna. A wonderful resource for school and home libraries.

  •     My 5 year old great granddaughter loved it and had it memorized in a few days.

  •     In the style of "The House That Jack Built", this book employs delightful repetitions and stunning illustrations to give children a picture of the animals who inhabit the African savanna. I read this book on a regular basis to children of all ages (and lots of adults), and they all enjoy it. In fact, I have worn out my initial copy, and have had to order another!

  •     This will be an excellent addition to my various aged classroom library. My students always love to hear new read-alouds.

  •     As other reviewers have noted, the story progresses to show the the relationship of the animals and the environment. Great. The illustrations are nice and flow nicely with the story. Our son really likes the book, BUT... The author, editor and publisher all need to review Stunk and White (or any other style manual) to distinguish when to use "that" and when to use "which."

  •     This is a wonderful example of a circular story with excellent repeated lines and incredible pictures. It shows the connections of the various animals and plants of the Savanna.A must for teachers and parents!

  •     This is a great book to teach about the African savannah, then have the class act it out. They will never forget what animals and vegetation are found there. I bought the rest of Dunphy's ecosystem books for the same purpose.

  •     This is a book patterned on "the house that Jack built", so the text is limited. The illustrations are gorgeous.One note for future editions: Animals should not be referred to as "who"... People are "who."


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