After the Kill by Darrin Lunde, illustrated by Catherine Stock
Explore what happens after the lioness kills a zebra on the Serengeti Plain. While the hunt and the kill are part of the story, they are only the beginning. After the zebra is killed, the lion pride comes to eat and then other species start to gather. There are the vultures who share with the lions. Then the hyena clan that is able to drive the lions away and claim their share. Jackals use trickery to grab some food for themselves. The lions reclaim the carcass and continue to eat until they are sated. Other vultures arrive. The small scraps of flesh that remain are eaten by meat-eating beetles until the bones are white in the African sun.
Lunde, a mammalogist at the Smithsonian Institute, creates a compelling story here. There is no shying away from predator and prey, just a frank description of the food chain. Nicely, Lunde injects his narrative with plenty of detail, noises, and an obvious love of his subject. He paints a verbal picture of what is happening, helping young readers better understand what is actually happening. The pieces of the book in the smaller font have additional scientific information that readers will find fascinating.
Stock’s illustrations have a bright, hot quality to them thanks to the yellow tones throughout. The heat of Africa is built into every page. She also embraces the kill, the scavenging, and the story, creating a book filled with action-filled images.
An unflinching look at the battle for food on the Serengeti Plain, this book will be riveting for young readers. Appropriate for ages 5-8, though this is a book that some children may find upsetting, so it is important to be aware of the sensitivity of the child you are sharing it with.
Reviewed from copy received from Charlesbridge.