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Buffalo Music by Tracey Fern

ISBN  0618723412
32 Pages · Hardcover · $16.00

Available Now from Clarion Books

Once, long, long ago, vast herds of buffalo roamed the West, filling the plains and canyons with the music of their thundering hooves and huffing breath.  Then hunters came and destroyed nearly all of them. 
But buffalo are stubborn, ornery creatures, and though the herds were long gone, a few lone calves lingered.  If the buffalo were to survive as a species, however, they needed the help of someone just as feisty as they were.
Inspired by the work of Mary Ann Goodnight, a pioneer credited with forming one of the first captive buffalo herds in the 1800s, this is the beautifully told and illustrated tale of one woman’s quest to save what otherwise would have been lost forever.

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Alabama Camellia Children's Choice Book Award Nominee 2009-2010
American Library Association 2009 Notable Children's Book
School Library Journal Best Book of 2008 Selection
Winner of the 2008 June Franklin Naylor Award for the Best Book for Children on Texas History.  More information is available here.
A Best Picture Book of 2008 by Children's Book Examiner
Junior Library Guild Selection
2009-2010 West Virginia Children's Choice Book Award Nominee
2009-2010 Georgia Picture Storybook Award Nominee
Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review----
When Molly first settled in West Texas, she did her chores to "buffalo music," the noises made by massive herds of buffalo grazing nearby. Soon, however, buffalo hunters arrived to slaughter the animals they thought would last forever. "Forever came fast." In six years the buffalo were gone. Molly's grief over their loss abates when a fellow settler brings her two orphaned buffalo calves to raise. They thrive and word spreads: Soon Molly's herd numbers 100. When Yellowstone National Park decides to rebuild its herd, some of Molly's buffalo become founding members. Molly's story, though fictional, is based on the real life of pioneer Mary Ann Goodnight, whose homebred buffalo eventually populated not only Yellowstone but other wildlife refuges and several zoos. Fern's debut is auspicious. Her homespun expressions ("fending off wolves and poachers with the long end of my rifle") allow Molly's straightforward sentiment to shine. Castillo's smudgy illustrations recall Glen Rounds and invest both Molly and the buffalo calves with enormous personality. Together they make this story one with widespread appeal.
School Library Journal, Starred Review (July 2008 issue)----
Fern's lyrical text and Castillo's folk-style artwork beautifully capture the era and events...Buffalo Music is perfectly suited to a young audience...
Just One More Book! ----
A wonderful podcast review and discussion of Buffalo Music, available here.
High Plains Public Radio ----
Listen to a great review and interpretive reading of Buffalo Music
from High Plains in Words available here.
Cool Buffalo Links:
There are many interesting websites related to the buffalo, the Goodnights,
and the Texas Panhandle and its history. Here are links to some of my favorite sites:
Texas Websites:
The Handbook of Texas Online www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/about.html This searchable database is full of fascinating information about all things Texas.
Challenge at Caprock: Saving the Bison www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/webcasts/bison/index.phtml This webcast, and its resources page, contain a wealth of information about the buffalo, the Goodnights and Texas.
Palo Duro Canyon State Park www.palodurocanyon.com
This site contains spectacular photographs of the Palo Duro Canyon.
Buffalo Websites:
How Many Ways Can You Use a Buffalo www.texasbeyondhistory.net/kids/buffalo.html
Learn how Native Americans used every part of the buffalo, including its brains, beard and poop!
American Buffalo: Spirit of a Nation www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/buffalo/index.html.
This website contains general information about the history of the buffalo, their relationship to Native Americans, and an excellent resources page.
Yellowstone National Park www.yellowstone.net/wildlife/bison.htm
This site contains a short video about buffalo in Yellowstone today, as well as a brief history of buffalo in Yellowstone.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation www.wildlifedepartment.com/americanbison.htm
This site contains information about the habits and ecology of buffalo.
Montana State University-Bozeman Center for Bison and Wildlife Health www.montana.edu/~wwwcbs/
This is a great clearinghouse for articles, bibliographies and photos of buffalo.
Smithsonian National Zoological Park nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/NorthAmerica/Facts/fact-bison.cfm
This site contains more natural history of the buffalo.
Buffalo Brainteasers!
Take the following true or false quiz.
Click the "+" and "-" signs to view and/or hide the answer.
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Question 1: True or false: buffalo are an endangered species?
False. Buffalo are now considered ‘vulnerable’ but no longer endangered. Scientists estimate there were once 60 to 75 million buffalo in North America. By 1900, there were fewer than 1,000 left. But efforts by ranchers like Mary Ann and Charles Goodnight and organizations like the New York Zoological Society saved the buffalo from extinction. Today, there are an estimated 150,000-350,000 buffalo in public and private herds in the United States.
Question 2: True or false: buffalo and bison are the same thing?
False. Scientifically, the term ‘buffalo’ is incorrect for the North American animal. Its proper Latin name is Bison bison. In the 1600’s, French explorers in North America called the new species they found “les boeufs,” meaning oxen or beef. Later, English-speaking people changed the pronunciation to “la buff”, “buffle” “buffler “buffillo” and finally “buffalo”. Today, the term buffalo has been used for so long that most people considered it an acceptable name for the American bison.
Question 3: True or false: buffalo are the largest land mammal in North America?
True. Buffalo are huge. A mature bull weighs approximately 2000 pounds, is 10-12 feet long and 5-6 feet tall at the shoulders. Female buffalo are smaller than males, but they’re still giants! 
Question 4: True or false: Native Americans hunted the buffalo only for its meat?
False. Native Americans used nearly every part of the buffalo, from its horns to its tail. They ate the meat, tanned the hide to use in clothing, braided the hair into harnesses and ropes, used the horns for cups, and even burned buffalo poop as fuel!
Question 5: True or false: Yellowstone National Park has the largest free-roaming buffalo herd in the world?
True. he Yellowstone herd currently has approximately 3,500 wild, free-roaming buffalo.
Question 6: True or false: Buffalo are slow moving creatures?
False. Bison may look big and slow, but they are actually quite speedy, especially when they are startled. They can run at top speeds up to 30 miles per hour.
Question 7: True or false: Buffalo have no natural predators other than humans?
False. The gray wolf, coyote, mountain lion, and grizzly bear are some of the predators of the buffalo.