Nature and Galapagos Tortoises
of the 2004 Giverny Book Award forBest Science Children's Book, the book tells
us about Lonesome George, the last living Pinta Island giant tortoise.
island was thought for decades to have no giant tortoises left at all,
until game wardens who were attempting to rid the island of goats stumbled
across George. To protect George, the wardens placed him into a hammock-type
carrier and took him to Santa Cruz Island.
at the Charles Darwin Research Station, he was placed into a large and
pleasant exhibit pen, cared for well, and the world's news media dubbed
him "the loneliest creature on Earth." Follow his story and
learn how conserving the Galapagos and the giant tortoises go hand in hand.
2004 Giverny Award for Best Children's Science Picture Book
of Lonesome George The Giant Tortoise
makes this book "work" visually? The book's end papers show
a set of carefully designed and colored maps that zoom-in on the Galapagos
Islands (which belong to Ecuador in South America) to show where the story
takes place. Most of the pages are full-page spreads with sparse text,
ideal for children's visual-verbal cognition. There are lots of close-up
views to personalize the story and highlight anatomical features. The
close-up of George eating an Opuntia cactus pad shows him swallowing it,
sharp spines and all! Later we learn that's how he gets his fresh water
when there are no rain puddles present. These
two story-tellers have made this tortoise's life exciting and personal.
They have taught us some principles of plant disturbance ecology, plant-animal
interactions, introduction of non-native species, wildlife management,
animal behavior, adaptation, animal locomotion, thermoregulation, plant
and animal conservation, and extinction. It also lays the groundwork for
the child's later need to understand reproductive genetics. The last sentence
is a sentence of hope: "With luck, George won't be lonesome anymore."
book ends with a fact page about the Galapagos giant tortoises, and it
offers two web sites that the reader can visit to learn more about George
and the giant tortoises ... This
book helps to insure that they will. Jacobs and Cassels have
made an important contribution to children's literature, visual-verbal
communication, and to biology education with this book. This is a book
that children will want to read and look at again and again."
--2004 Giverny Book Award
this poignant, true account, Jacobs introduces a saddleback tortoise,
George, who beat long odds to survve as possibly the last memeber of the
distinctive species of tortoise found only on the Galapagos island
. Its ecology
devastated by the descendants of goats brought in by fishermen, Pintas
had been thought for decades to have no tortoises left — until game wardens
trying to clear the island of its interlopers discovered George. The tortoise
now lives in a large compound on Santa
Cruz Island ,
and the search is on — so far without success — for a compatible female.
In painted illustrations Cassels depicts George from various angles, plodding
about rocky desert landcscapes with wrinkled, appealing dignity. The author
caps her simply written account with further resources for children who
want to know more about George, or about the Galapagos in general."
"Jacobs offers a story based on the true story of George, a giant
land tortoise from Pinta
in the Galapagos.
George spends his day eating spiny cactus, snoozing to avoid the hot sun,
and searching for a mate. Unfortunately, the island, once a haven for
these slow-moving reptiles, has become overrun with wild goats that eat
everything, stripping the island bare; George is the only remaining tortoise.
Wardens come to shoot the goats and upon finding George, capture him,
taking him to a preserve, where he becomes an instant celebrity. Zoos
around the world continue to search for a female tortoise from Pinta.
An afterword provides a capsule history of saddleback tortoises and an
explanation of how people and alien animals destroy fragile habitats.
The illustrator uses the double-page layout to good advantage and a soft-colored
palette of green, gold, and tan to depict the austere island landscape.
An appealing picture book introduction to ecology — and an unusual animal."
— Kirkus Reviews
"George, a giant tortoise, lives on Pinta
in the Galapagos
and spends his days foraging for food, finding shelter, and, most importantly,
searching for a mate. When a fisherman brings a few goats to the island
to ensure a supply of fresh meat, they soon overwhelm the habitat and
consume the plants that tortoises need to survive. Before long, George
is the only one of his kind left on Pinta. Park wardens discover his presence
and relocate him to the Charles Darwin Research Station on nearby Santa
Cruz . To
date, George has been unwilling to mate with females from other islands,
and scientists have not yet been successful in locating a female Pinta
tortoise in a zoo, but the search continues. Using short sentences and
simple vocabulary, Jacobs explains the potentially devastating effects
of introducing nonindigenous animals into a habitat. Realistic, full-spread
paintings and a text that flows like a story give this offering the look
and tone of a picture book. Additional details about Galapagos tortoises
and contact information for resource organizations are included. An attractive
addition with an important message." — School Library