The American Bison: The Buffalo's Survival Tale (History Comics)

by Andy Hirsch (Author)

The American Bison: The Buffalo's Survival Tale (History Comics)
Reading Level: 4th − 5th Grade
Series: History Comics

An American Library Association 2021 Best Graphic Novel for ChildrenTurn back the clock with History Comics, First Second's new nonfiction graphic novel series!

In this volume, learn how millions of buffalo once roamed the American prairie--until they were nearly driven to extinction. In the early 18th century the American prairies shook under the hooves of nearly 30 million bison. Fast as a horse, tall as a person, and heavier than both combined, they roamed from coast to coast. A century later, people struggled to find a single one left alive. How did the great herds disappear, and what will it take to bring them back?

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School Library Journal

Gr 4-6--In tribute to conservationists and others who "bent history away from the worst," Hirsch extends his sad tale of the near disappearance of bison from the North American continent to describe in some detail how private ranchers, organizations like the American Bison Society and the InterTribal Buffalo Council, and one zoo preserved remnants of the once-mighty herds into the 20th and 21st centuries. The artist adds immediacy to his account with graphic (sometimes in both senses of the term) cartoon scenes of prehistoric and later hunters, massacres leaving rolling hills covered in skinned carcasses, historical figures who played significant roles in the saga, and throughout, great woolly beasts with, more often than not, friendly or confused expressions. Pointing out that since today more than 90 percent of all bison are "market bison," commercially raised for food, their wild cousins are still vulnerable, Hirsch ends with the 2005 release of a small herd in Montana by the American Prairie Reserve and the conclusion that "It's a good start." Readers inspired to dive more deeply into the causes and course of this dramatic rescue should consult the short list of contemporary documents at the end, or seek out Albert Marrin's Saving the Buffalo, which features period illustrations. VERDICT Young animal lovers and eco-activists alike will be moved by this wrenching but ultimately hopeful case study.--John Peters, Children's Literature Consultant, NY

Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes


Andy Hirsch
Andy Hirsch is a cartoonist living in Dallas, Texas. He is the author and illustrator of several entries in First Second's Science Comics series including Dogs, Trees, Cats, and Rocks and Minerals
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
First Second
Publication date
June 20, 2021
History Comics
BISAC categories
JNF025200 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/19th Century
JNF051150 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Zoology
JNF003270 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Endangered
JNF051050 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Biology
JNF062020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | History
JNF062030 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Comics & Graphic Novels | Science & Nature
Library of Congress categories
Graphic novels
Endangered species
Wildlife conservation
North America
Cartoons and comics
Comics (Graphic works)
Historical comics

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