by Jean Craighead George


Beginning with the symbiotic relationship that the buffalo had with the American Indians and the land itself, George explains how westward expansion and poor decision-making on the part of the American government led to the animals’ near extinction. As a result of those actions, the land became barren and inhospitable to any real crop growth, which contributed to the dust storms of the 1930s.  Eloquent and affecting, the writing transports readers onto the plains and into the past, making the devastation sobering and real. And when the resurgence of both the buffalo and the land is described, it is with jubilation and relief. Accompanied by beautiful, single- or double-page watercolor illustrations that are rich with detail, the prairie comes to life. Excellent for sharing aloud with a group, this title provides a unique perspective on an integral time in American history. A must-have for most libraries.

The Buffalo Are Back, the latest ecodrama from veteran nature writer Jean Craighead George, focuses on how the buffalo went from numerous, to near extinction, and, eventually, to recovery. George’s book touches on a lot of topics (e.g., settler and Indian relationships, the Dust Bowl, President Theodore Roosevelt’s preservation efforts, etc.), with the plight of buffalo remaining the backbone of her compelling narration. Wendell Minor’s rich paintings evoke time and place with measured nostalgia. Back matter includes suggestions for “Places You Can Visit Where Buffalo Roam” as well as a bibliography. 

Beginning and ending with the joyous birth of a calf, George describes the eradication of bison from the American plains, subsequent ecosystem damage, return of the species and restoration of the tall grass prairie in this companion to The Wolves Are Back (2008). … Minor's expressive and lushly detailed paintings have texture and depth, supporting and enhancing the text. Environmental good news. (sources, websites) (Informational picture book. 5-10)

From the creators of The Wolves Are Back, this graceful story explores how the American buffalo almost became extinct. Minor’s striking naturalistic paintings of buffalo and a dust bowl landscape mirror George’s sturdy, reflective prose… A tribute to an American icon and to the power of preservation.

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