Swift as the Wind:
by Barbara Esbensen
illustrated by Jean Cassels
Jacket illustration copyright © Jean Cassels.
Kirkus says: "Another fine science title from the author of Tiger with Wings (1991), focusing on the cheetah, the swiftest animal on earth. Esbensen points out that, despite the cheetah's speed and expertise as a solitary hunter, its survival as a species is severely endangered due to large predators like lions (who both compete for prey and kill cheetah cubs), dwindling habitat, and its own impoverished gene pool. The author also describes the specialized anatomy the helps the cheetah's bursts of speed, including oversized internal organs, claws that never retract, long legs, and a springy backbone. The straightforward text follows the cheetah as it hunts on the African plains and cares for its young. Cassels employs a sandy palette, heightened by rich gold, tan, and black accents--the colors of the cheetahs themselves. Especially appealing are the many closeups of fuzzy cubs and the dramatic jacket painting of a cheetah at full gallop."
A Bank St. Child Study Committee Book of the Year.
For more information about Barbara and the
Barbara Juster Esbensen Teaching Award
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