I so eagerly anticipated the publication of Katherine Roy's second book that I worried I might be disappointed. Why? I had been absolutely fascinated by Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands (David Macaulay Studio, 2014). So, when I heard How To Be An Elephant: Growing Up in the African Wild was to be published this past September, I could hardly wait to see it. Thanks to Fernanda at Raincoast, I received a copy. I have had it for a while, and have read it a number of times. I am., in no way, disappointed! I am sorry that I didn't tell you about it sooner. It is a book to savor.
It is an incredible book to share with kids, as it gives a close-up look at how a baby elephant finds its way from complete dependence on the herd to being a mature, contributing member. In breathtaking illustrations Ms. Roy provides a clear look at that baby's journey. Her birth is highly anticipated by female members of her herd, and her growth and development are watched over carefully. It is a steep learning curve, but guidance is given every step of the way ... with a perfect family of teachers.
The author looks at multiple topics as they pertain to the calf ... birth, family, travel, senses, anatomy, and the process of maturation. It is an intriguing and informative design, and allows readers to see that every member of the herd helps to raise the newcomer. Her stunning and detailed artwork is incredibly appealing. She switches perspective from daily life with the herd to diagrams that show the way an elephant's body works. She leaves nothing out as she chronicles, through scrupulous research and gorgeous art, the many aspects of newborn's life from birth until she is ready to take on all aspects of being a contributing member of her family.
What remarkable animals these giant pachyderms are! Their survival in the wild is paramount if we are to continue learning more about them. Ba