Run for Your Life! Predators and Prey on the African Savanna

Lola M. Schaefer, illus. by Paul Meisel. Holiday House, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-3555-5
The creators of Swamp Chomp (2014) focus on animals indigenous to another ecosystem while offering a similar mix of staccato text and fluid art. After a hushed opening spread (“On the savanna, animals sleep”), the creatures leap to life. Schaefer deploys a wealth of fun-to-repeat verbs, which hint at the animals’ comparative speeds: “Hyenas bolt, and wildebeests gallop. Wild dogs rush, and zebras stampede.” Though unmentioned in the story itself, the predator-prey relationship is apparent (an eagle swoops at a rabbit, which hops away; an ostrich scurries from a leaping cheetah), building to an encounter with two lions, menacingly perched on a rock: “Run... for your life!” Schaefer writes as the animals scatter. Meisel punctuates the dusty savanna grasses with dollops of brightness, including the vivid oranges of monkey fur and the setting sun. Speed freaks will glom on to the final spread, which provides a brief overview of the “chase-and-flee scenes” common to the savanna and compares the animals’ average sprint speeds. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. Illustrator’s agent: Jennifer Mattson, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/09/2015
Release date: 02/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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