Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Bobcat Prowling - a review - 3.23.22

I bet you have some touchstone texts that you use year after year.  Those mentor texts that have more than just the story inside the cover in them.  One of mine is Coyote Moon by Maria Gianferrari.  We use it every year and I love how the story and the information draws in readers with every read.  Now the creators are back with another story that I'm sure will be a new favorite!

Bobcat Prowling by Maria Gianferrari
Bobcat Prowling
written by Maria Gianferrari
illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
published by Roaring Brook Press

This time we follow Yearling Bobcat.  He's just been pushed out of his territory by his mother because it's time for her to mate and raise a new litter.  Yearling must find his own territory now.  As he travels the area, multiple children get a view of Yearling as he hunts for food and searches for a new home.  Similar to Coyote Moon, we learn about an animal's hunting style, predators of the animal, and how the animal lives.  There is excitement as we hope Yearling finds something to eat, yet also hope the prey gets to see another day!  After some time, Yearling is now an adult Bobcat, and we eventually get to see him find his own territory (and a meal)!

I love Gianferrari's lyrical tone to these books.  While readers are gaining lots of information, you can't help but be enthralled with the way the words seem to dance as you read.

Ibatoulline's illustrations are just fantastic.  Readers always note the realistic drawings, and they really do feel like you can reach in and touch the animal's silky, soft fur!

I think one of my favorite parts of these books is in the backmatter.  Gianferrari adds an "All About" section that contains some fascinating facts and information!  Each fact adds to something Gianferrari has in the main text - for example, we know Yearling stays with his mom for a certain amount of time, but in this section Gianferrari tells us that yearlings (1-2 year old bobcats) typically leave their mother anywhere from nine months to two years old.  Of course my favorite fact is when Gianferrari asks us what a bobcat's favorite activity is?  It's inactivity!  Sometimes that doesn't seem like such a bad idea!

Within the first several pages, I thought we were going to learn more about the mother bobcat and her child.  But very quickly, we end up learning that we would be following Yearling's story.  I thought that was a great choice and asked Maria to tell us more about it.  Welcome, Maria!

A few years ago I gave a workshop on revision at my then local SCBWI chapter in Maryland. One of the ways I invited attendees to think about revising their projects was in terms of theme—what are the themes that they frequently explore, and how can amplifying those themes enrich their current WIPs? 

For me, the idea of home—as a place of comfort and safety, as a feeling of calm and community, is one which threads throughout all of my projects, both fiction and nonfiction. When I began to write the manuscript, I knew that having a young bobcat main character who’s searching for a home would blend drama, excitement, tension, and that finding that space would be the ultimate satisfying resolution, so it made sense to tell the story from the yearling’s perspective. In fact, the working title of the book was A Home for Bobcat, though during the revision process we decided to make it more active to emphasize the search for home, and prey, and to have it complement its companion predator books, Hawk Rising and Coyote Moon.

I love hearing more from an author.  It always gives me a new perspective of the story.  Framing it by the idea of home makes so much sense.  I need another read now to think about that theme that runs through the story!

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you pick up a copy of Bobcat Prowling for your readers!

More about author, Maria Gianferrari:
Maria Gianferrari is a community scientist, self-taught naturalist, and bird nerd who holds an M.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English. She is the author of narrative nonfiction picture books which celebrate urban ecosystems, the natural world and our wild neighbors. She also writes engaging expository nonfiction. And as a lover of dogs, Maria’s fiction picture books star dogs as main characters and explore the human-canine bond. She writes from her light-filled, book-lined study in Massachusetts with rescue dog, Maple at her side.

Would you like to win a copy of Bobcat Prowling?  Maria Gianferrari and Roaring Brook Press have generously offered a copy for giveaway (US Residents only).  Winner will be selected on Wednesday, March 30th.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the lovely post, Michele! So glad we connected all those years ago! Some day soon I hope to meet in person again <3.