Once A Wolf (Scientists in the Field (Paperback)) Paperback – 26 Mar 1999
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Jim Brandenburg's unparalleled wildlife photographs illustrate this cogently organized and skillfully designed account of the reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Beginning with a historical overview of wolf conservation, Swinburne and Brandenburg then take readers through the controversy that accompanied the reintroduction program and the methods used by biologists and wildlife managers to accustom the wolves, brought from Canada, to their new environment. "The number-one goal of the Yellowstone Wolf Project is to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list," and while the book is in full agreement with this intent, the approach is bracingly journalistic, not sentimental. The large color photos are well placed on the spacious pages, and the captions amplify as much as label. A list of adult and juvenile sources, a directory of websites, and an index are included.
In the Scientists in the Field series, a title that documents those who have championed the much-maligned wolf, and the science used to dispute claims of ranchers and farmers that wolves threaten cattle and sheep. Wolves, villainized in folklore and literature, were nearly eradicated from North America by early settlers who feared their cattle would be eaten and their children menaced. Farmers shot them, ranchers poisoned them, and bounty hunters killed mothers and cubs in their dens by the thousands. Swinburne chronicles how, in the 1930s, conservationists and ecologists began to study the food chain, and began to see the gray wolf's necessary and important role in the balance of nature. So ingrained is the hatred of wolves that even with the efforts of dedicated scientists, it has taken decades to return the gray wolf to small areas of Yellowstone National Park and to begin efforts to return them to New York state. Swinburne (Guess Whose Shadow?, p. 230, etc.) quotes men and women of the past and present involved in these efforts; some balance is provided by including the views of a rancher, but the author clearly favors the reintroduction of the wolf. Brandenburg's striking full-color photographs of wolves in the wild and in captivity turn an already informative work into a glossy tribute to a majestic animal.
About the Author
STEPHEN SWINBURNE is the author of numerous children's books about nature, including Safe, Warm, and Snug, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey, and Once a Wolf: How Wildlife Biologists Fought to Bring Back the Gray Wolf, with photographs by Jim Brandenburg. A lifelong naturalist, he lives in South Londonderry, Vermont.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I knew about reintroduction of wild wolves into Yellowstone but this book told the whole story. Get ready to be impressed with personal sagas of determination and bravery on the part of people who care about wild things.
In 1973, while on a field trip in Jasper Park, Alberta, I saw two wild wolves (a white and a black) bounding and romping in the snow. I will never forget the wildness of that sight. This book is richly illustrated with photographs of wolves that give you a glimpse of that wildness.
Get this book and read it with a child to share what Rachel Carson called that "sense of wonder" that children have. Be prepared to explain why we systematically exterminated the wolf from its range throughout the United States and why we paid people to kill wolf puppies.
This book is a moving, thoughtful lesson in ecology for children of all ages.
He brings in quotes and information from Leopold, Mech, Bangs, Askins, and many other notable figures in the wolf conservation movement to give correct facts and information. I wouldn't call this a book for younger children; it's written at perhaps a teenager's level, and younger children might find the statistics and assorted other information boring. However, Swinburne does cover the bittersweet story of wolves Numbers Nine and Ten, which personalizes the struggles wolves today face.
Swinburne manages to succinctly cover most of the important issues in this relatively brief book (about a half hour's read, perhaps 45 minutes,) and it's a great way to educate yourself or someone else on the basics of wolf conservation. Highly-recommended!
Once there was a war against wolves. Farmers hired people to kill wolves. But a biologist kind of convinced people to release the gray wolf from Yellow Stone National Park.
This book can give you a lot of information. It tells you that wolves are not dangerous. A negative is the author should describe the war against wolves or they should put more information. I will recommend it 5 stars.