Dear Wandering Wildebeest

And Other Poems from the Water Hole

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Welcome wildebeest / and beetle, / Oxpecker and lion. / This water hole is yours. / It offers you oasis / beside its shrinking shores.

Spend a day at a water hole on the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Fact sidebars support the poems about the animals and their environment. Imaginative illustrations from Anna Wadham complete this delightful collection.

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Interest Level Grade 3 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 4
Category Animals
Copyright 2014
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2014-08-01
Text Type Poetry
BISACS JNF042000, JNF003000, JNF051150
Dewey 811'.6
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
Guided Reading Level S
ATOS Reading Level 5.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 166401
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Original artwork, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

Author: Irene Latham

Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming works of poetry, fiction, and picture books. Her work includes Charlotte Huck Honor Book and ALA Notable Children's Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (co-written with Charles Waters) and the Caldecott Honor Book The Cat Man of Aleppo(co-written by Karim Shamsi-Basha). In 2016 she won the ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. Visit her at

Illustrator: Anna Wadham

Anna Wadham is the illustrator of several picture books and has an MA in children's book illustration. She lives in Norwich, England, where she enjoys the rooftop views from her flat and the city cafes.


  • SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book, Commended, 2016
  • ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, Winner, 2016
  • Cybils Finalist, Nominated, 2015
  • NCTE Notable Poetry List, Winner, 2015
  • Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year, Winner, 2015



African animals gather at a watering hole in this collection of pithy, informative poems that revel in wordplay. Large, expressive illustrations complement the text, making this ideal for both classroom use and independent reading.

Library Media Connection

“[F]un, descriptive poems about intriguing animals…presented in an entertaining, light manner with playful illustrations.”―Library Media Connection

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Fifteen poems capture the denizens of the African water hole, from impalas and elephants to oxpecker birds and dung beetles. Entries vary between rhymed and unrhymed, but all are compact, rhythmic, and short-lined, with frequent tasty soundplay (‘white tackles/ in a rugby tangle’) that will enhance readaloud pleasure.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“A fine volume of verse for independent reading or sharing with a class.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly

“An assured and often amusing grouping of verse that informs as it entertains.” —Publishers Weekly

Kirkus Reviews

“Latham’s finely crafted verse, at once humorous and serious, dazzlingly opens the imagination to the wilds of the world. Enlightening and engaging, a thrilling panorama of the diversity to be found throughout the animal kingdom.” —starred, Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

“This will be a much-sought-after book for teaching reading and inquiry skills…. A strong choice.” —starred, School Library Journal