Little Big Ears: The Story of Ely

Cynthia Moss, Author, Martyn Colbeck, Photographer
Cynthia Moss, Author, Martyn Colbeck, Photographer Simon & Schuster $17 (40p) ISBN 978-0-689-80031-3
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
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Below the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro stretch the warm grasses and abundant swamps of Amboseli-East Africa's most-visited wildlife park. Its grand scenery frames this photo-essay derived from the PBS documentary Echo of the Elephants. Echo is among the more than 800 elephants protected here from ivory hunters, and an established matriarch-""the most beautiful and gentle of the grandmother elephants"" with ""lovely, curved tusks."" When she gives birth to Ely, a deformity threatens the young calf's life. With his front legs severely bent, Ely cannot reach his mother's breast to nurse; he cannot get to the shade that would save him from the sun's needling heat. In this true account of Ely's persistence and his family's encouragement, the youngster triumphs and embarks on a normal (though sometimes uncertain) life. Internationally renowned for her elephant research, Moss tells a potentially heart-rending tale with authoritative devotion. Her first-hand knowledge of wildlife relationships and intelligence shines through focused, clean prose. Colbeck's luminous photographs reflect the light, heat and texture of Amboseli as well as the power and tenderness of its compelling inhabitants. A warm tale that rides on the hard edge of reality. Ages 5-10. (Dec.)
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