ELEPHANTS! STRANGE AND WONDERFUL
The Story Behind the Book
Like many people I've long felt the appeal of elephants. And, in 1996 I was fortunate to have a contract to write about a wonderful woman who does research on them. That book, published in 1997, was Elephant Woman: Cynthia Moss Explores the World of Elephants. Alas, I never went to Africa to interview her, but was able to do so when she came to the United States in the spring of 1996. I learned a lot about her life, including her childhood, and her many years of research. My book about her is mostly illustrated with Cynthia's photos. I urge readers to track down a copy, probably still on the shelves of many libraries.
It was a great treat to write another kind of book in 2019, particularly because of new findings about elephant intelligence, their communications, and sadly--the growing threats to their survival in the wild. As usual in the "strange and wonderful" series, artist Meryl Henderson shows the wonderfulness of elephants, as well as fine details about teeth and trunk tips. Cynthia Moss agreed to be the expert, checking the accuracy of both text and art. I like the way the text starts, inviting readers to imagine life as an elephant--so tall, with huge ears that can cover your shoulders, and your nose. "It is a muscular trunk, long enough to reach your toes. Use it to squirt water, lift logs, or grab fruit from trees high overhead!"
In its July 2021 STARRED review, School Library Journal concluded, "This is an important and detailed inclusion for any library collection emphasizing conservation and the study of elephants."