Title: Buffalo Music
Author: Tracey E. Fern
Illustrator: Lauren Castillo
Publisher: Clarion Books
Concepts: natural resources, conservation, economic incentives
Review: Among the early settlers along the rim of Texas’s Palo Duro Canyon in the 1800s, Molly and her husband Charlie worked hard on their homestead. As she worked, Molly found comfort in the sounds of the buffalo that roamed abundantly in the surrounding prairie. Life changed drastically, however, when buffalo hunters decimated the local herd, leaving but a few orphaned calves to fend for themselves. Determined to nurse the calves back to health, Molly soon found herself caring for more calves that cowhands had rounded up all over the Panhandle. The captive herd that she and Charlie tended grew, and they wound up shipping four buffalo to Yellowstone National Park as it rebuilt its own buffalo herd.
Based on the true story of Mary Ann and Charles Goodnight, this informative work of historical fiction makes an excellent vehicle for teaching children about wildlife preservation. Books such as Buffalo Music can teach young children about the economic rationale behind buffalo hunting and some of the key individuals who saved the buffalo from extinction.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children