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Water Hole Waiting


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About the Author

Jane Kurtz is a highly acclaimed author of books for young readers. Her picture books include Fire on the Mountain, an honor book for the Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award, and River Friendly, River Wild, winner of the Golden Kite Award for picture book text. Christopher Kurtz previously collaborated with his sister, Jane, on Only a Pigeon, which won a Parents' Choice Gold Award and an African Studies Association Award. Jane and Christopher spent part of their childhoods in a remote village in Ethiopia. Christopher returned to Ethiopia to teach as an adult and spent many hours with monkeys at the Awash National Park. Jane visited the water hole at Treetops, Kenya, while working on this story. Jane Kurtz lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Christopher Kurtz lives in Portland, Oregon. Lee Christiansen illustrated Water Hole Waiting by Jane Kurtz and Christopher Kurtz. School Library Journal called the illustrations "breathtaking" while Kirkus Reviews noted the "vivid artwork complements the elegant text, often extending it with additional details." Water Hole Waiting was named a School Library Journal Best Book and a National Science Teachers Association/Children's Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book. Lee Christiansen lives in Red Lodge, Montana, with his wife and sons.


PreS-Gr 3-Richly colored pastel drawings and precise, surprising word choices make this story a natural for sharing with a group. A young vervet monkey, carefully supervised by his mother, waits impatiently for a safe time to drink at a busy water hole as the day passes and other animals of the African savanna come to quench their thirst. The delightful language adds enjoyment: "The silence pokes Monkey's ear"; "Sun lands on the horizon and tucks away its lower half." The beat of the text is palpable, moving from fast to slow and back, sometimes rhyming, sometimes joltingly not. However, as in Lynne Cherry's The Great Kapok Tree (Harcourt, 1990), the plot is secondary to an appreciation of the environment. The realistic illustrations are often from a monkey's-eye view, showing the belly of a running zebra and the gaping mouth of a crocodile. This is a must for studies of African animals or the savanna biome, and a gem for writing teachers.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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