Bound To Stay Bound

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 Saving H'Non : Chang and the elephant
 Author: Nguyen, Trang

 Publisher:  Dial Books for Young Readers (2023)

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 128 p., col. ill., col. map, 20 x 27 cm

 BTSB No: 675601 ISBN: 9780593406731
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Human-animal relationship -- Fiction
 Elephants -- Fiction
 Vietnam -- Fiction

Price: $19.78

While volunteering at a wildlife rescue center near Yok Don National Park in Vietnam, Chang and the program's manager, Dionne, rescue an injured and abused Asian elephant named H'Non. While they nurse him back to health, Dionne asks Chang to help her find a kind mahout--an elephant trainer--who will teach H'Non how to fend for herself in the wild. Some pages in graphic novel format.

 Illustrator: Zdung, Jeet

   Kirkus Reviews (+) (08/01/23)
   School Library Journal (+) (08/01/23)
   Booklist (+) (12/01/23)
 The Hornbook (00/11/23)

Full Text Reviews:

School Library Journal - 08/01/2023 Gr 4–8—Young conservationist Chang is ready to try her hand at rescuing Asian elephants in Vietnam after finding success in helping sun bears (notably a sun bear named Sorya) escape the mistreatment of humans. In addition to being poached for their ivory tusks, Asian elephants are also captured by locals who use them to earn a living by offering elephant rides to tourists. In order to subdue the elephants enough for them to perform this harmful labor, their handlers, or mahouts, break their spirit through abuse that starts when the elephants are very young and separated from their mothers. Chang and her fellow team members at Yok Dôn National Park work diligently to free as many elephants as they can, including 60-year-old H'non, from these harmful conditions so the elephants may live out the rest of their lives as wild animals untethered from humans. Based on the story of real life elephant H'non, this fastidiously made visual narrative offers optimism for the plight of Asian elephants alongside the stark reality of conditions they face. The story eschews traditional paneling for much of its content, offering a snapshot of journal pages that supply numerous intriguing facts about elephants and their habitat, as well as pages jam-packed with a medley of images in muted earth tones. These provide a striking contrast to ornate spreads and bursts of lively color that are distributed throughout. An author's note is included in the preface. VERDICT An exceptionally well-done story that is informative, intricately and delightfully detailed, and brimming with jaw-dropping art. Highly recommended.—Alea Perez - Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 10/15/2023 *Starred Review* Open any page here and be instantly transported to another world in which the elephant-and-human relationship is vividly presented. The titular H’non was a real Asian elephant in Vietnam: at 4, she was stolen from her mother to perform hard labor, pulling timber at 8 and then concrete electric poles by 20. At 50, she was too old and weak to work at construction sites but was further brutalized as a tourist attraction. At 60, she was emaciated with a damaged spine and a broken tail and leg—until she was finally saved by Animals Asia Foundation and spent her last few years peacefully at Yok Ðôn National Park before she died in 2021. H’non’s story arrives on the page, wondrously produced by the same award-winning author-artist team for Saving Sorya (2021). Nguy?n is a young globe-trotting conservationist who volunteered at Yok Ðôn and, with the help of other conservationists, assisted in Saving H’non—as in Sorya, Nguy?n’s stand-in is again feisty, tenacious Chang. Zdung is a stupendous creative partner, his golden-hued, intricately detailed panels underscoring the plight of the elephants. Most notably, Zdung’s anthropomorphized expressions of the beleaguered pachyderms are an empathic, desperate plea for humans to reengage our humanity and help all wild animals live free. Elucidated and enhanced with inspiring facts and sobering figures, this is a must-have acquisition for all libraries. - Copyright 2023 Booklist.

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