Monday, June 30, 2008

Efrain of the Sonoran Desert: A Lizard's Life among the Seri Indians

Author: Amalia Astorga as told to Gary Paul Nabhan

First line: As I pulled my kayak up onto the beach below the Seri village--before any of the girls and boys ran up to greet me--I spotted a zebra-tailed lizard lounging in the sun.

Why you should read this book: A brilliant lens on an endangered indigenous culture, this book is broken into three rough parts: Nabhan's two experiences as a visitor to the Seri people; Astorga's story about the intelligent sand-dwelling lizard who became her friend; and supplemental information about the Seri, other endangered cultures, Sonoran lizards, and conservation. Each section is delightful, but the central story about Efraim, who is as faithful to Astorga "as any husband could be," is a true gem. This book functions on many levels and is appropriate for very young children (provided they are capable of surviving the death of a beloved creature in a story) as well as older children and adults.

Why you shouldn't read this book: You don't get the big deal about some endangered reptiles dying in the desert.

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