Buffalo Music

Tracey E. Fern, Illustrated by Lauren Castillo, Clarion Books, $16, Hardcover.
Tracey E. Fern, Illustrated by Lauren Castillo, Clarion Books, $16, Hardcover.

Ages 3 to 10: This picture book was inspired by the real Mary Ann Goodnight, a settler in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas, during the senseless massacres of buffalo herds in the 1880s. She is a woman as “tough as old beef jerky,” who has a soft spot for the buffalo orphans left behind. She takes two scrawny little calves into her dugout to revive them near the hearth. Cowpokes bring her orphans from all over, until she has a herd of 100 buffalo. She later lures a few of her animals into a train car with a cake of molasses so they can help rebuild fledgling herds on public land in Wyoming, Oklahoma and Montana. Thanks to Goodnight’s compassion and vision, buffalo can still be found from coast to coast.

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