Elephant Book: For the Elefriends Campaign by Ian Redmond

'Elephant Book: For the Elefriends Campaign by Ian Redmond

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Biologist Ian Redmond pays tribute to the pachyderm in The Elephant Book, with breathtaking photos of the African landscape. Divided into sections such as "The Architect of Africa," "Trunks and Tusks" and "Peaceful Coexistence," and peppered with quotes from the likes of David Attenborough and Jane Goodall, the book seeks to stop the ivory trade and eliminate poaching. Half the royalties go to the Elefriends Campaign, an elephant protection group based in London. Quotations from prominent scientists and students of elephant life are interspersed with a clear and entertaining text that takes up various basic aspects of the animal's life in roughly chronological order. Each spread deals with one topic and is accompanied by spectacular full-color photos; both text and pictures are large and set on white or occasional black pages with striking effect. The book's emphasis is on the animals' endangered status, and scientists' increasing realization that their life is very complex and very human in some aspects. For instance, they have a matriarchal society and extended family groups, they grieve for their dead for months, and they greet family members after long separations with "elephantine joy." There are many books on these creatures already on library shelves, and most of the information presented here is readily available elsewhere. However, this book is special because of its striking format and absorbing text, both of which immediately engage readers. As one of the quotations points out: "We can replant forests, and even reclaim deserts in time, but no one, when the last elephant has gone, can make another." Make room on the shelves for this one-it's a fine choice for recreational reading as well as for reports.

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