What Elephants Know by Eric Dinerstein

This was another one for the throne room…this does not mean that books in the bathroom are any less interesting than ones on my bedside table or ones next to the red couch, it just means that I choose a different genre and always something a little less cerebral than my preferred reading, fiction or non-fiction.

Another second-hand-book-find, What Elephants Know ended up next to my other books about elephants.  I liked that Jane Goodall wrote a quick recommendation.  “You will be fascinated, angered, and charmed in turn by this beautifully written story.”

Dr. Eric Dinerstein is the Director of the Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions Program at RESOLVE and so I was very interested in the fact that he wrote a novel and I anticipated that the book would be written from a unique and knowledgeable perspective.

This was a lovely book that I’d recommend for students grade five to grade seven.  It was a quick read that left me thinking about the vulnerability of our wildlife and ecosystems.  The protagonist, Nandu, is a beautiful character who, through his young life, teaches about the numerous impacts made upon these, while exposing the reader to the vulnerability of humanity, as well.

I think this would be a wonderful book to read aloud to students.  It is refreshing to find a book that is culturally diverse and can open eyes and hearts to a different human experience.  Grade three students, in their study of India, may really benefit from this story.  Nandu’s relationships with his female elephant, Devi Kali and with the plants and other animals of the Borderlands are described beautifully.

This is a two evening (10 potty visits) read for an adult.  I recommend doing a quick review of the book before sharing with your students/children so that you know the sensitive topics that will come along.  Give it a go.

What Elephants Know

 

 

Saturday Morning Sketch

Baby skunk in nest.  Deemed a nuisance species, the skunk doesn’t have a great (as in positive) reputation for anything.  Regardless, I see all species as connected and requiring management.  The link I’ve provided gives sound advice, I think.

Just deliberating about how to paint a baby leather back turtle in a nest.  It seems to me that turtles make more sense in multiples, so I’m deciding if I’m going to paint more than one in a nest.  I’m suffering a bit of a back injury recently due to a hard fall on ice two weeks ago, so my days are quiet days, but very fulfilling.  My cousin Margy has headed south to Arizona, so this is a bit of a retreat…quiet…Rita Macneil Christmas music…toast in the toaster…hot coffee…and more quiet.

P1140508 P1140509For those of you who are watching for these wee guys…this.

skunktracks

Gorilla House LIVE ART: May 8, 2013

Western Black Rhino Declared Extinct! CNN November 2011
WWF states the following….

“European hunters are responsible for the early decline of black rhino populations. It was not uncommon for five or six rhinos to be killed in a day for food or simply for amusement. European settlers that arrived in Africa in the early 20th century to colonize and establish farms and plantations continued this senseless slaughter. Most people regarded rhinos as vermin and exterminated them at all costs.

“DOOMED.” That was the front page headline of the UK newspaper, the Daily Mirror, in 1961, accompanied by a full-page photo of two African rhinos. The article said that rhinos were “doomed to disappear from the face of the earth due to man’s folly, greed, neglect” and encouraged readers to support a new conservation organization: WWF. We’ve been fighting to protect African rhinos ever since. Recent success in black rhino conservation is heartening, but a lot of work remains to bring the population up to even a fraction of what it once was – and ensure that it stays there.”

Earth First News May 7, 2013

I wanted to paint a tribute piece on my birthday…this, to the Western Black Rhino.  As I contemplate covenant, I wonder what it is that we can do as a global community to care more diligently for our planet.  We are the keepers.

Two hours of focused work and this piece was gratefully purchased at auction by a young lady who is training to be a vet, Carrie.  Surprise!  Her birthday also falls on May 8!  This connection was meant to be!

Thanks to daughter, Erin and son, Douglas, for attending my birthday battle!

P1100949

Carrie and Me

Carrie and Me

 

 

Referring to Pelicans

While at home I found, tucked in Dad’s leather photo album, a couple of articles from newspapers about the capture of a one-winged pelican…an act that got me thinking about art as a vehicle of remembrance and Covenant.

Based on this narrative, I began to paint endangered species.  To some extent, humanity is riding the rough seas…in the pouring rain…still in a fragile ark.  What is it that we do about any of that?

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Pelican 1 Pelican 2