Reviewed by Brenda Randolph
The setting for this picture book is generic “Africa,” a place “Many people might be afraid to go…all alone.”
Cynthia Moss an American scientist from Ossinging, New York “was not afraid of the BIG continent.” She settled in “the wide-open savannahs of East Africa” and got a job photographing elephants. Later she founded the Amboseli Elephants Research Project.
The rest of the book follows the typical story arc about Westerns saving animals in “Africa.” There are elephants aplenty pictured here but not a single African.
The back pages are specific about where in East Africa Cynthia Moss worked (Kenya) but no clues in the story for children.
A Passion for Elephants by Toni Buzzeo
Illustrator: Holly Berry
Published by Penguin Young Readers Group on 2015
Genres: Animals, Women, Africa, Environment, Nature
Reading Level: Grades 1-2
Review Source: Africa Access
SYNOPSIS: A science and nature biography of Cynthia Moss, the elephant expert, by the author of Caldecott Honor book One Cool Friend Cynthia Moss was never afraid of BIG things. As a kid, she loved to ride through the countryside on her tall horse. She loved to visit faraway places. And she especially loved to learn about nature and the world around her. So when Cynthia traveled to Africa and met the world s most ENORMOUS land animal, the African elephant, at Amboseli National Park in Kenya, she knew she had found her life s work. Cynthia has spent years learning everything she can about elephants and sharing these fascinating creatures with the world. She is a scientist, nature photographer, and animal-rights activist, fighting against the ivory poachers who kill so many elephants for their tusks. This lyrical and accessible picture book gives kids a glimpse of what scientists do in the real world and inspires them to dream of accomplishing BIG things."