Friday, January 29, 2010

Face to Face with Elephants by Beverly and Dereck Joubert

We have been watching Beverly and Dereck Joubert in African wildlife documentaries for decades. Articles by the dedicated couple of nature photographers also have appear in National Geographic and other periodicals. Bonnie discovered that they also wrote some wildlife books for children, including Face to Face with Elephants.

Being face to face with an elephant is not where you really want to be, unless you are a crazy wildlife photographer. While elephants will mostly ignore humans in vehicles, allowing for great photographs of these awesome animals, sounds and flashes will upset them. Being large and equipped with long sharp tusks, they can be very dangerous. They can easily turn over a Land Rover. The Jouberts are not crazy and try to respect the space of the elephants, but elephants are somewhat unpredictable. They tell about being charged and slammed by a matriarch at the beginning of Face to Face with Elephants. As you would expect, they got an amazing close-up photo out of the incident. See page 4. I like the caption: "When this elephant came at us out of nowhere, I knew we were going down!"

My favorite photo in the book is on page 7. A group of elephants is wading into a shallow pond on a sunny day. The fun for me is in trying to count them. If you count eyes, there are seven. Count tusks and there are nine, including the baby without tusks. Look for trunks, and you will find thirteen.

With beautiful photographs, stories about elephant encounters, and important information about elephant conservation, Face to Face with Elephants should be in all public and school libraries, along with the Jouberts' book Face to Face with Lions.

Joubert, Beverly. Face to Face with Elephants. National Geographic, 2008. ISBN 9781426303265.

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