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The Buffalo Are Back

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  162 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The buffalo, an American icon once nearly extinct, has made a comeback. This stirring picture book tells the dramatic story, following bison from the Plains Indians to the cowboys, Teddy Roosevelt to the Dust Bowl, and from the brink of extinction to the majestic herds that now roam our national parks. Paired with gorgeous paintings by landscape artist Wendell Minor, Jean ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 13th 2010 by Dutton Books for Young Readers (first published 2010)
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Kristin ❋extols death with luminescent brilliance❋
My budding environmentalist/animal activist picked this out from the library last week. Along the same lines of They Came from the Bronx: How the Buffalo Were Saved from Extinction that he picked out from the school library earlier this year, The Buffalo Are Back is a great educational, environmental, ecological, and historical book for children.

"In a time long ago, an orange buffalo calf was born. He wobbled to his feet and blinked. A lark flew to the top of a six-foot blade of grass and sang
Steve Clark
May 09, 2012 Steve Clark rated it it was amazing
I don't usually "post" the books I read with my six-year old daughter, but then, they don't usually move her to tears. When we reached the part that detailed how the U.S. government finally decimated the great herds of buffalo NOT for meat, hides, or even a depraved sense of "sport", but as a tactic to drive the Native American Indians from their lands onto the reservation, she was crying, asking "Why don't people THINK about other people before they do things?". She was distraught when she lea ...more
Richie Partington
Jul 17, 2013 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
21 January 2010 THE BUFFALO ARE BACK by Jean Craighead George and Wendell Minor, ill. Dutton, May 2010, 32p., ISBN: 978-0525422150

"Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam..."
-- song I learned in 1959 as a four year-old at Carousel Day School in buffalo-less Hicksville, LI

"In a time long ago, an orange buffalo calf was born. He wobbled to his feet and blinked. A lark flew to the top of a six-foot blade of grass and sang as sweet as a panpipe. A town of prairie dogs barked. The green-gold grasse
Dec 15, 2016 Alice rated it liked it
Shelves: 3-50-stars
3.50 stars Another interesting book in this series about conservation. It is amazing to me to thin that 75 Million Buffalo were living on the US plains in the 1850's and were killed for sport and to starve the Native Americans as a war tactic. A WAR TACTIC..ICK! Take out a species and it trickles down to affect every creature in the ecosystem! Then in the early 1900s they found 300 head of wild buffalo. Thanks Uncle Teddy (Teddy Roosevelt) for enacting legislation for conservation. Now today th ...more
Lisa Vegan
Feb 08, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in ecosystems and/or buffalo and/or American history
I recently read The Wolves Are Back (by this same author and illustrator team) and I really enjoyed it, so I decided to read this book too. I love wolves but I am interested in buffalo. My local park has a buffalo paddock and some tame buffalo, and I’m always amazed at how much time they spend lounging around; in the movies I always saw them stampeding, but that was always in response to being hunted and trying to stay alive was why they always seemed to be running, although this book indicates ...more
Robyn J
Apr 25, 2014 Robyn J rated it it was amazing
Shelves: multicultural
George, Jean Craighead. (2010). The Buffalo are Back. New York, NY. Dutton Children’s Books.

Text to Text: My students and I are big fans of Jean Craighead George. I featured her story The Eagles are Back in the bird text set and the kids loved it. Similar to this text, she gives a background information, tells the historical story and ends by weaving in modern details. This text also connects to details in Black Elk’s Vision in that it mentions how the “soldiers and settlers were encouraged to
Melissa Dwyer
Dec 03, 2015 Melissa Dwyer rated it liked it
Originally rated G by Arleen McCafferty
As with Jean Craighead George’s The Wolves are Back, the reader gains an appreciation for an animal that is not often thought about. The Buffalo, in danger of extinction, is now being saved in nature preserves. With the classical, beautiful style this author is well-known for, we once again can experience the detailed history of how this animal was so important to the American Indians, providing food and warmth, as well as a care-giver of the plains as they
Jul 14, 2013 Malinda rated it really liked it
I thought this book was pretty interesting. I think the beauty of this book really came from the illustrations of paintings by Wendell Minor; they were so beautiful! I just loved looking at them. This book is a good detailed history about the buffalo. The book is simply written and would be great for an juvenile history lesson.

What resonated with me with this story and I found so powerful was the lesson I got from reading this story; how human behaviors can knock off the balance of nature and i
A Tisbear
Oct 30, 2015 A Tisbear rated it it was amazing
This is a book that does not pull any punches as far as the nonexistent environmental management practices in America during the Westward Expansion/Manifest Destiny era.

It calmly & lyrically attributes fault, but then it goes further - not only explaining WHAT happened, but also HOW and WHY it happened extraordinary detail without getting too technical. I have never seen a popular/children's-book account of the Dust Bowl that include the role of grass root depth and the shape of cows hooves
Dec 11, 2011 Bdalton rated it it was amazing
The buffalo faced extinction but have been restored to the western states through the efforts of conservationists such as Theodore Roosevelt. This book tells the story of the plains from the times when massive herds of buffalo roamed to the time when only 300 buffalo remained. It links events like the Dust Bowl to the disappearance of the buffalo. It also talks about how the efforts of a school and her father helped to create native grassland preserve in Kansas. This short, informative book is v ...more
Sandy Brehl
The second in a series of species recovery books by Jean Craighead George. Full disclaimer- I can't imagine any of George's books that wouldn't earn five stars from me. In this series she describes the cascade of decisions and events that triggered the elimination of buffalo from the North American landscape, as well as the devastation to the habitat and Native American lives at ensued. The celebratory news that buffalo are being restored to the plains in selected settings is tempered by the rea ...more
Oct 04, 2013 Emily rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I loved this book. The story and illustrations are both beautifully done. I loved learning from a clear presentation about the ecology associated with Great Plains Native Americans and buffalo, and how "settling the west" interfered with it. What's even better than that is the beautiful way Jean Craighead George tells about the buffalo "coming back." Who knew this picture book would be poetic and moving. :)

I think this book probably deserves 5 stars, but I'm not sure yet if it's memorable enough
Courtney Angelo
This book moved me, and I honestly think it would have that effect on a reader of any age. The story starts out with defeat; the buffalo are taken from the native Americans, like it's not a big deal at all. Teddy Roosevelt and his crew find more buffalo and suddenly the day is saved! I love the triumph displayed in this book- it shows young children that anything can be overcome and to always keep hope. I'm buying this book!
Caitlin Barclay
This is a history book about life on the Great Plains before and during the revolution. The story is told through the eyes of the animals that live on the Great Plains. Each story helps to explain what is happening to the land and the animals and the people that live on the land throughout the year and eventually when new people come to invade the land. This is a great perspective to introduce to students about the historical subject and the specific craft of writing.
Great story about the loss of prairie land and the buffalo, the subsequent devastation during the 1930s, and then trying to bring them both back. The illustrations are beautiful, some based on historical photos. It talks about the relationship between the prairie and Native Americans, the symbiotic relationship between the buffalo and the grasses, early settlers, detrimental government policies, the Dust Bowl and the depression, and restorative efforts. 800L. Good read-aloud for any grade.
This book could definitely be used to teach geography of North America, as well as the early history. This book tells pretty accurately of how the government wronged the Indians and manipulated them into moving off the land. On top of teaching history, this book could be used for a science unit as it talks about the land's surface and how the animals affected it. This tells the progression of the prairie in America and how people worked to fix the destruction of the land.
Jun 08, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it
A beautiful picture book. May be disturbing to young children. George describes perfectly how man's selfishness destroyed the balance of nature for the first people of the plains as well as those who took the plains from them. The six foot tall grasses are back, the buffalo are back, I wonder about the plains Indians?

W.H. Beck
Aug 09, 2010 W.H. Beck rated it really liked it
The buffalo, once nearly extinct, has made a comeback. This picture book tells the dramatic story, following bison from the Plains Indians to the cowboys, Teddy Roosevelt to the Dust Bowl, and from the brink of extinction to the majestic herds that now roam our national parks.


(32 pages)
Oct 20, 2010 Jen rated it it was amazing
This is a picture book that details the almost eradication of the buffalo and how that effected the plains Indians and the great plains. I loved the simple explanation for a very complicated topic. A wonderful book to read aloud.
Jun 07, 2010 Marianna rated it it was amazing
This book succintly captures the demise and return of the American buffalo to the prairie. Craighead George does an excellent job of driving home the point that man is not capable of conquering nature. We must work with her.
Robert Farmer
Nov 11, 2013 Robert Farmer rated it really liked it
Shelves: nsta
Although this book is more factual i think it would still be good to read to kids. The art in it is awesome and really impressed me. It is a very descriptive book of the buffalo's history but entertaining at the same time.
Zachary Alcorn
Dec 10, 2013 Zachary Alcorn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-nsta
Students should never give up and they could learn that from the buffalo. This is a great story about how the buffalo had made a return with a little help from the government. I liked stories like this cause it just gives you a little hope in humanity still.
Debra McCracken
Jun 17, 2016 Debra McCracken rated it it was amazing
A true story of man learning how to fix what he broke--the great plains. Wonderful art, and a truly enjoyable story illustrating that sometimes we actually learn from our mistakes, and are successful in fixing our environment.
Anthony Kline
Oct 18, 2013 Anthony Kline rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ch-02-nsta
I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations are great along with some historical photos. The fact that the author discusses the relationship between humans, the buffalo, and settling west is really good because children learn many historical facts from this book.
This book is full of beautiful painted illustrations. This book is about American Indians and the settlers that disputed over land and the buffalo. It's a long book but could be good to use parts of it for various lessons on America's history.
Jan 18, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing
This is a nonfictional book based on the history of the land talking about the buffalo and how they are important. I felt for it being nonfiction, the author did a great job for bringing it down to a child's level with it being fun, but also provides factual information to the reader.
Overall nicely done but perhaps a bit too Dance with Wolves with its portrayal of Plains Native Americans.
Apr 11, 2012 Tessa rated it liked it
Shelves: school-books
Interesting story with decent text. The pictures are truly lovely. You can't help but love a buffalo face!
Jacinda Drakulich
APA Citation: George, J. C., & Minor, W. (2010). The buffalo are back. New York, NY: Dutton Children's Books.
Text Identification:
Strategy Application:
Dec 10, 2012 Lindsey rated it really liked it
We loved the beauty of this book's illustrations and the detailed history of the buffalo. We learned a lot and it was written simply so it wasn't an overwhelming history lesson. Lovely.
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Jean Craighead George wrote over eighty popular books for young adults, including the Newbery Medal-winning Julie of the Wolves and the Newbery Honor book My Side of the Mountain. Most of her books deal with topics related to the environment and the natural world. While she mostly wrote children's fiction, she also wrote at least two guides to cooking with wild foods, and an autobiography, Journey ...more
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