Monday, April 24, 2017
27th April World Tapir Day
What is a tapir? This is a question I was constantly asked in the late 1990s when my students were very keen on a series of books about Howard, a hippo and his friends that was written by Colin West. Howard has a 'special friend called Lucy. She's a tapir.' Back then I found it hard to find any books about tapirs and we couldn't just 'google' tapirs. We looked them up in an encyclopedia.
I hadn't given tapirs a lot of thought for quite a while but then Polly Faber's Mango and Bambang burst onto the scene. It was so popular and I began to get that question again...what is a tapir? How do I say this word? So I went looking again. Now I can google and quickly satisfy my readers' curiosity.
Imagine my surprise then when I read that there was a World Tapir Day. We had better celebrate it, especially now that there are four Mango and Bambang books in the series and they are so popular. Last week I picked up a new Phillip Gwynne picture book at the book shop called Brothers from a Different Mother and guess what it was about a tapir.
On the World Tapir Day website it said,
Despite their size, history and ecological importance, tapirs remain one of the least recognised species of animals. In comparison with other animals, tapirs feature little in the collective consciousness and are frequently misidentified by zoo visitors. Even in their home ranges, tapirs receive little attention, with exotic species featuring more prominently in zoos, children's books and the media.
So authors are doing something about it, it would appear. Will tapirs soon be as popular as sloths and lemurs have become in children's books? Here's what I found in my library to make a display for the first day back at school this term.