minedition. Jun. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781662650406.
Gr 2-4–Boldly designed to alert younger readers to the plight of the world’s most trafficked mammal—or, as she posits in her factual afterword, species of any sort—Goodall has a young Chinese pangolin describe early days riding the tail of her termite-eating mother, her capture and rescue, and later life in a sanctuary. Other than adding unexpected nuance by claiming that the trafficker “just needs to make money so he can feed his children,” the author doesn’t expend much effort developing her scenario—trotting in a captured civet to explain to Pangolina in her cage that her scales are going to be pulled off for “Human medicine,” and then cranking up reader indignation with a human child who enacts a timely rescue: “Suppose it was me being sold for someone to eat. Someone who would pull off all my fingernails to use for no-good medicine. Please help me save the little pangolin.” Ma’s ground-level views of fuzzy-looking forest creatures with wide, expressive eyes add visual appeal to the narrative’s moral one, and along with notes on pangolin anatomy and behavior, the afterword includes an extensive list of multimedia resources and a set of suggested activities for motivated young eco-activists. There’s nothing subtle about the message here, but then why should there be?
VERDICT Children will respond strongly to this heartfelt appeal on behalf of a unique and rapidly disappearing wild creature.

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