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A Passion for Elephants: The Real Life Adventure of Field Scientist Cynthia Moss

by by Toni Buzzeo

Book list Even as a small girl, Cynthia Moss never shied away from big things. She rode large horses and observed the wildlife near her home in New York. Her keen eyes and curious nature served her well when she grew up to become a scientist, then a reporter, and later, when she was selected to photograph elephants in the wilds of Africa. For 40 years, Moss would spend her days in Amboseli National Park observing elephant behavior and family dynamics and advocating for a global ban on ivory sales. Buzzeo's text is dense but enthusiastic and will hold strong readers' interest, especially alongside Berry's vibrant art. The illustrations make use of African motifs rendered in bold reds, yellows, and greens and capture the joys and sorrows of Moss' work with the African elephants. The enormous scale of her courageous, continued work is summed up in the biography at the end of the title and in the final lines of her story: Cynthia Moss is not afraid of BIG things. --Jones, Courtney Copyright 2015 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal K-Gr 3-This engaging and descriptive narrative chronicles the life of animal researcher and elephant advocate Cynthia Moss, who has lived alongside and studied these creatures for 40 years. The book begins with Moss developing a love of nature as a child while riding her horse through the woods of Ossining, NY. A few years later, the adventurous teen went away to school in Virginia, where she continued to hone her equestrian skills. After college, she embarked on her biggest adventure of all: moving to Africa. Immediately, she felt at home and found a job photographing elephants for a renowned zoologist. Together, they established the Amboseli Elephant Research Project. Moss fell in love with the "enormous, gentle animals" and devoted her life to studying their behavior and relationships. She took on the monumental task of educating the world about her beloved elephants and spoke out against poachers who kill them for their ivory tusks. Buzzeo points out through a refrain, "Cynthia Moss is not afraid of BIG things." Each spread features a particular episode in the activist's life, recounted in illuminating verse and illustrated with Berry's atmospheric mixed-media illustrations, which evoke the splendor of Africa. The rich colors, interesting textures, and patterns and vast landscapes draw readers into Moss's world. An addendum provides a brief biography of Moss along with back matter. VERDICT This well-executed narrative biography will pique the curiosity of animal lovers and young scientists alike.-Linda L. Walkins, Saint Joseph Preparatory High School, Boston, MA Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus A childhood love of horses translates into an adult career devoted to learning about and promoting protection for African elephants. For 40 years, field scientist Cynthia Moss has lived with and studied the elephants of Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Buzzeo, who focused on a fictional elephant calf in My Bibi Always Remembers, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka (2014), here introduces a real-life elephant scientist who has combined her passion for studying these big animals with activism around the world for a big cause: banning the sale of ivory. Choosing details young readers will understand, the author moves quickly from a description of Moss' early life to an explanation of how she came to live in Kenya. She goes on to give examples of the kinds of questions the scientist wondered about and what she learned about elephant family behavior. Colorful illustrations, done with colored pencils, acrylic paint, watercolor, ink, and collage and bordered with appropriate designs, add interesting details. There are wide-angled scenes and close-ups of elephants in the wild. But this narrative has a dark side. Many, many elephants have been killed for the ivory in their tusks. The image of an elephant "lying lifeless in the beating sun" and men loading its bloody tusk into a truck filled with other bloody tusks will distress readers of any age. The simplicity of the narrative and its playful emphasis on and repetition of what is "BIG" seem at odds with the grim reality of ivory poaching, making this a book that may have a hard time finding an audience. (endnote, further reading, additional sources) (Picture book/biography. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly Buzzeo offers a glowing biography of Cynthia Moss, a field scientist and activist who has been studying and advocating for Africa's elephants for more than 40 years. Moving briskly through Moss's childhood love of animals, Buzzeo focuses on Moss's long, hard work of studying elephants as well as her efforts to fight ivory poaching. Variations on a refrain ("It was a big challenge, but Cynthia Moss wasn't afraid of big things") strike an oddly juvenile note, given the harsh realities of the ivory trade and the book's scientific focus, but it still drives home the message about taking on important, difficult tasks and causes. Berry's mixed-media illustrations do an admirable job of capturing the African landscape-and animals-that have captivated Moss. Ages 5-8. Author's agent: Stefanie Von Borstel, Full Circle Literary. Illustrator's agency: Studio Goodwin Sturges. (Sept.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book For forty years, Cynthia Moss has studied the elephants in Amboseli National Park, Kenya, and has fought against ivory poaching through lectures and fundraising. The seriousness of the realities of poaching and Moss's work and activism is undermined by the book's jarring refrain ("Cynthia Moss was not afraid of BIG things"). Colorful mixed-media illustrations are naive and charming. Reading list, websites. (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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