My thoughts: I tend to think of elephants as large animals that roam Africa and as gentle giants of the animal world. I've seen them in zoos and in the circus. Recently, their plight in captivity has been recognized and many have been rescued and located where they can live out the remainder of their lives.
But I recently learned that elephants are a crucial part of survival of other animals and species in the wild. They are what is considered a keystone species.
As they roam they leave deep impressions where their feet impact the earth. In these impressions, small puddles of water remain from which birds and small mammals can drink. They uproot and eat small trees that sprout in the grasslands enabling the grasslands to remain intact for those species that need such.
They use their tusks to dig and then eat the soil for nutrients and in so doing expose salts that other animals need to survive. They also dig down into the dry, hard earth and expose reservoirs of water so other animals can have water to survive.
All this and more is explained in the Arbordale picture book Once Upon An Elephant. Beautiful illustrations show how the elephant is so crucial to survival of other animals. At the end of the book are a couple of pages of additional information and activities for the Creative Mind. This is a trait of Arbordale Publishing's book and one I always look forward to seeing.
Once Upon An Elephant shows us that the elephant is important for other specices to survive and the way the elephant's life impacts these animals. Just another reason for us to help protect these magnificient creatures. The book is written as an enjoyable learning tool for preschoolers through early elementary.
About the book: From stopping wildfires to planting seeds, one animal is the true superhero that keeps the African savanna in balance. Elephants dig to find salt for animals to lick, their deep footprints collect water for everyone to drink, and they eat young trees to keep the forest from overtaking the grasslands. In every season, the elephants are there to protect the savanna and its residents but what would happen if the elephants were only "once upon a time"? Read along to discover the important role this keystone species plays in the savanna and explore what would happen if the elephants vanished.
Begins March 20
Ends April 17 @ 12:01 a.m. EDT
Open to USA Addresses Only.