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The Chiru of High Tibet

by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Book list With an urgent conservation message, this picture book about a threatened species is also a true adventure that will hold readers with its action and facts about science. In spare, free verse, Martin describes the chiru, which look like antelope / but are related to wild goats and sheep and are at risk from poachers for their special wool, shahtoosh, the warmest and finest in the world. Conservationist George Schaller knows he has to protect the remote, secret place where chiru females give birth, so he follows them, helped by four mountain-climbing trekkers, who travel 200 miles to the birthing ground. The mixed-media spreads illustrate the wonder of the arduous journey that ends when the trekkers find the calving ground, which is now a protected secret place. The threat to the amazing species will move young readers: Wearing a shahtoosh shawl is the same as wearing three to five dead chiru. A spread of color photos from the expedition and a short bibliography conclude.--Rochman, Hazel Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

School Library Journal Gr 1-3-Chiru are small, antelope-type animals that live in the mountains of Tibet. Although their wool is prized for its warmth, super-softness, and strength, the animals cannot be sheared like sheep. Obtaining their expensive skins means killing them, a practice that has resulted in the herds becoming endangered. This book takes a potentially horrifying topic and turns it into a heroic adventure tale. George B. Schaller studied wildlife all over the world, but became particularly interested in Tibet. He knew the chiru needed protection and began a quest to find their hidden breeding grounds. In order to save them, he thought that their land should be protected from hunters. Although he was unable to find the right area, four other men took up the cause. Experienced mountain climbers, they set out on a 200-mile journey through rough terrain following the animals. Their success in discovering the calving grounds gave Schaller the information he needed to lobby the Chinese government to protect the area and give the chiru a chance to survive. This story is told in elegant yet conversational language. Set-off boxes provide important factual information without interrupting the artistic flow of the main text. The acrylic paintings and book design are devised for high effect. The opening pictures employ an icy blue palette, introducing the cold atmosphere of the Tibetan plain. Photographs of the treacherous terrain and the men involved in the project are appended.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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