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The Buffalo Are Back

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  52 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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Average rating 4.11  · 
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A Great book for history buffs and those interested in history or eco-warriors and those that care about the world. This is an account of the Buffalo and how they almost became extinct and how they came back.

The kids were not very into this. They enjoyed the pictures of the Buffalo but they were very squirmy during the story. It did not hold their interest.

I thought is was interesting. We were very close to wiping them out - how sad would that be. I also found the part on the tall prairie grasse
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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 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
Angela Barta
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
An American icon, the buffalo, were once nearly extinct. Jean Craighead George's historical fiction story, follows the bison from the Plains Indians to the cowboys, to near extinction. Today, these majestic animals are protected in our national parks and are beginning to make a comeback as Jean relays to her readers.

The Buffalo are Back, is a well-illustrated book with full page bleeds and double-page spreads. The orientation of the front cover invites the reader to open the book. As you contin
Richie Partington
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picturebooks
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 gras
Lisa Vegan
Feb 08, 2011 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 Reece
Apr 25, 2014 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
Jul 14, 2013 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
Oct 30, 2015 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 vs t
Dec 11, 2011 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
Dec 15, 2016 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
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
Rebecca Tversky
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
The wisdom and history imparted by this book are worthwhile and the images well drawn. It is not a typical children's book - as the history of the plains people, buffalo and grasses are entwined with a lot of carelessness and cruelty hard for a child to absorb - however it was a worthwhile and ultimately satisfying journey from beauty to senseless destruction to sensible recovery. I don't think I ever routed for grasses and responsible farming before the way I do after reading this book. And oh, ...more
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.
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!
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.
W.H. Beck
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: genre-info
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)
Jun 08, 2012 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?

Cindy Janett
Dec 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
As an narrative nonfiction, this was a difficult text. Students struggled to understand the concepts of the prairie and how there is a relationship between the buffalo, indians, and the land. It mentions how the whites came in and took out all the buffalo to drive out the indians which was a viewpoint I had never heard before. Overall, many of my students lost interest as it was a longer read.
Jun 07, 2010 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.
Oct 20, 2010 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.
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.
Anthony Kline
Oct 18, 2013 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.
Robert Farmer
Nov 11, 2013 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 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.
Jan 18, 2014 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.
Debra McCracken
Jun 17, 2016 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.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pictures-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Maggie Wrobel
Nov 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Eco-history of the plains and the importance of the buffalo and 6 foot tall buffalo grass in the preservation of that landscape. Charming watercolors enhance the text. (grades 3-7)
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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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