Sat 12 Feb 2011
If that’s true, don’t feel badly. Chiru (chee-roo) are only found on the Tibetan plateau and surrounding areas. And because they have not survived in captivity, the only way to see them is to visit their natural habitat.
Jacqueline Briggs Martin traveled 7,000 miles from her home in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, to the Chang Tang Reserve in Tibet. The result is a nonfiction picture book, The Chiru of High Tibet (Houghton Mifflin, 2010).
The chiru are worth a book for several reasons. They’re rare. And, their wool can be made into warms shawls which people value because it’s very cold in that part of Tibet.
The chiru are also endangered. And although it’s illegal to kill them for their wool, people still do it. So every year, there are fewer and fewer chiru.
Briggs Martin tells the true story of George B. Schaller, a scientist who wanted to protect the Chiru by making the area they travel to each year to have their babies safe from poachers and development.
But first he had to find it. Four men helped him and followed the chiru through their long trek to the calving grounds. They walked for days, pulling food and supplies behind them through gorges, mountain passes, icy water and rugged terrain. Finally, they found the spot in the Kunlun Mountains.
Here’s what today’s reviewer had to say about the book.
Things I like to do: Go to art class, sing, help people and play computer games.
This book was about: Some men finding out where a mysterious breed of wild goats goes to have their babies. The men want to protect that spot because the breed is endangered.
The best part was when: The men found where the animals go.
I was worried when: The breed got to a fairly low population.
The book taught me: To be patient and persistent to achieve your goals.
Three words that describe this book: “Interesting.” “Tibet.” “Mountains.”
My favorite line: “Without the Chiru, there would be no story.”
Other kids reading this book should watch for: The interesting facts in the corner of many pages. (Editor’s note: And the cute picture of the baby chiru in the back of the book!)
You should read this book: To learn about the difference some men made.
The Children’s Book Council’s Outstanding Science Committee of the National Science Teachers Association has named the book to the “Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12” list for 2011.
Starting Feb. 14, you can see other Nonfiction Monday posts at this week’s host blog — Three Turtles and Their Pet Librarian – which is a very cute blog worth checking out at other times, too.