Rewilding: Bringing Wildlife Back Where It Belongs

Neon Squid. Jul. 2022. 80p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781684492220.
Gr 3-8–Herpetologist Steen (Secrets of Snakes) is known as an effective science communicator, especially via his Twitter account (@AlongsideWild). This book demonstrates his skill at presenting the concept of rewilding while detailing the challenges, successes, and failures of these efforts. Information is presented in short vignettes that offer broad details related to animals reintroduced into what had formerly been their own habitats. Especially interesting are explanations of entire ecosystems that support a species such as the Channel Island foxes that needed non-native pigs removed so predatory golden eagles could be eliminated as well. The fact that ecosystems are interconnected and require extraordinary efforts and creativity to be reestablished is clear. Steen calls out companies that “treat their workers poorly” or “use slaves to catch fish” without providing more context or specific sources. Some of this messaging around food industry labor ethics may come across as confusing given the audience, most of whom don’t usually purchase their own food (but may be prompted to do further research or talk with their caregiver about ethical food choices). Known for combining watercolor, colored pencil, and tempera, gifted illustrator, Fedele clearly depicts the animals with layouts that represent their environmental challenges creating visually fascinating spreads for each. Text appears as insets around the images. Included is a short list of what kids can do, an index, and a glossary.
VERDICT This is a worthy book that clearly links animals to their environment and the impact humans have on their survival. It is well-crafted, accessible, and important for all library collections.

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