If Elephants Disappeared

Roaring Brook. (If Animals Disappeared). Sept. 2019. 40p. bibliog. glossary. websites. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250143204.
K-Gr 2–After examining apex predators in two earlier entries, Williams explores a keystone species in this book. The author demonstrates the significance of the African forest elephant in relation to its environment in the Congo Basin Forest. The simplest actions of the elephants impact their ecosystem dramatically; elephant dung has never seemed so important. The elephant’s dung is essential for the forest’s plant life, and the plant life is essential to the forest itself. Williams communicates the various roles of elephants and the resulting chain reaction from their loss in an additive structure that is both simple and effective while deftly including scientific terms. Vibrant illustrations and engaging infographics complement and balance the text; information is conveyed in an impactful way through a time line of elephants’ history and a graph depicting their decline. Back matter includes a glossary, author’s note, bibliography, and more to explore for budding researchers.
VERDICT Readers will learn the important roles that elephants play in their ecosystem, while also becoming more aware of the need for the protection and conservation of one of the largest land mammals. A solid, resonating addition to Williams’s series.

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