Monday, November 30, 2015

"Larry Saves the Prairie" by Matt Bergles

Larry Saves the Prairie:
The Story of Larry Haverfield,
A True Wildlife Hero
by Matt Bergles

Larry Saves the Prairie is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and my review. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

"Hi! I'm Annabelle. And I'm Angus. We are black-tailed prairie dogs who live in Kansas. We want to tell you a story about a real wildlife hero, our friend Larry Haverfield."
Through the voices of Annabelle and Angus, discover what almost happened to wildlife on the Kansas prairie. When Larry receives a letter that says he must destroy the prairie dogs on his land, he and some of his neighbors join together to make certain that all wildlife remain unharmed. Not only were black-tailed prairie dogs at risk of destruction but the already-endangered black-footed ferrets were at risk of becoming extinct.
In Larry Saves the Prairie, with the help of Annabelle and Angus, you'll discover what it means to be a true hero, and most especially, what it took to save prairie wildlife in Kansas.


Praise for the Book
"This book is a truly inspirational children's book. It tells the story of Larry and how he fought to save the prairie dogs on his prairie. It's educational in its descriptions of the ecosystem and why the animals are important. The book shows kids that everyday folks can be heroes and teaches them to stand up for what is right. Every child should read this book!" ~ Ms. Loves To Read
"Love this book! The text and illustrations are fun! The storytellers are two prairie dogs, Annabelle and Angus, telling about their wildlife challenges. It is a true story about Larry Haverfield and how he helped protect prairie dogs and other wildlife on his ranch. This book is for children but adults can enjoy it as well. It's a great lesson about how just one person can make a real difference." ~ Amazon Customer
"This true story is an inspiration. Two prairie dogs tell the story of rancher Larry Haverfield who protected native wildlife. It shows how one person can truly make a difference. I gave a copy to each of my four grandchildren. They love this book! Adults will also find the book informative and compelling." ~ Amazon Customer
"Great book! Very creative way to tell the story of a conservation hero." ~ dmodvm
"This book is both informative and inspirational." ~ Amazon Customer

My Review

By Lynda Dickson
Larry Saves the Prairie is the story of how one man, Larry Haverfield,  took on "the system" to conserve native prairie wildlife. The book dispels common misconceptions and explains how prairie dogs, while considered pests by some, are actually integral to the life of the prairie. Everything must be kept in balance in order to maintain a healthy ecosystem. In fact, the endangered black-footed ferrets actually rely on the prairie dogs for their survival.
This book shows children how even everyday people can be considered heroes. With its use of standard text as well as cartoon images, the author explains complex matters in a simple manner, easily understood by children. I would love to see him take on other causes and produce a series of books using the same format. This is a brilliant concept: to target children, whose thoughts can influence adults now and who will themselves be the leaders of tomorrow.
The book is illustrated by Rob Peters and is recommended for children ages 4 to 8. It includes two coloring pages, information on how you can contribute to the cause, and the author's story behind the story.

Meet Larry Haverfield (originally featured on Matt Bergles' website)
Larry Haverfield was a common man, as American as apple pie. He grew up loving Kansas and the prairie ranchland he worked his cattle on. But Larry had an innate sense that poisoning wildlife - especially prairie dogs - because of the myths that they ruin pastures, spread plague to humans, and cause livestock to break their legs, just wasn’t part of the natural order of things. So, he educated himself in the history of the prairie and better ranching techniques that allowed him to remain a successful businessman while doing right by nature. This won him few friends among his neighbors and Kansas county and state government. But he never cowered and he never gave up.
In 2005, with the help of Ron Klataske, Executive Director of Audubon of Kansas, the Haverfields and their neighbors, the Barnhardts, wrote a letter to the Fish and Wildlife Service, inviting it to assess their property for black-footed ferret reintroduction. Determining that the Haverfield Ranch was perfect habitat for the ferrets, in 2007 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released about fifty of this endangered species onto their land. Having the ferrets on the land helped Larry and his family, along with Audubon of Kansas and attorney Randy Rathbun, stand tall and win every battle they engaged in on behalf of Kansas Wildlife, all the way up to, and including, the Kansas Supreme Court. Larry Saves the Prairie is the story of how he became a true wildlife hero.

Illustration of Larry Haverfield by Rob Peters

Watch a tribute to a hero of the Great Plains, Larry Haverfield. Meet Larry and hear his story, in his own words.

About the Author
Matt Bergles is a Colorado native who grew up in Pueblo, Colorado. He earned a bachelor's degree in social science from CSU-Pueblo, his master's degree in U.S. history, and a Ph.D. in public affairs at CU Denver, as well as a certificate in alternative dispute resolution.
Matt currently teaches at a K-8 private school in Denver, where he has witnessed firsthand young, inner-city kids' curiosity and love of animals and nature, observing that every time they are asked what community service project or charitable cause they'd like to be involved with, most K-3 students pick something related to domestic animals or wildlife. This natural love and curiosity led Matt to write Larry Saves the Prairie for young children.
Matt is an independent researcher and advocate for wildlife conservation, especially conservation of prairie habitat. Matt lives in Denver with his wife, Kate, two children, Luke and Mary, and dog Samuel. He is a volunteer coach, a private pilot, and has helped teach his teenage son to fly.