Kirk (the Library Mouse series) unspools the heartwarming true story of how one conservationist rescued and reared an abandoned rhinoceros calf at a wildlife sanctuary in Kenya in 1985. Digitally colored pencil drawings depict the relationship that grows between sanctuary founder Anna Merz and the rhino she names Samia. Against pastel-hued backgrounds,Kirk presents scenes of the two bonding, as when Anna reads to Samia to calm her down and takes her for long walks: “As she grew bigger, Samia would often be the leader, offering her tail for Anna to hold.” Soft graphite lines and shading set a peaceful tone, the upturned edges of various animals’ mouths almost seeming to smile. Throughout, Kirk highlights the humorous side of welcoming a wild creature in the house (at one point, Anna uses cooking oil to free a stuck Samia from a doorway). An author’s note mentions that Anna died in 2013, though Samia’s earlier accidental death isn’t discussed. This story of a loving friendship between human and wild animal should spark curiosity in conservation efforts for endangered species. Ages 4–8. Agent: Barry Goldblatt, Barry Goldblatt Literary. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/13/2017 Release date: 04/04/2017 Genre: Children's
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