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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
If you like “incredible journey” type tales, To Yellowstone: A Journey Home by Robert Scott McKinnon is for you. Originally published in hardback in 1975, it’s a dramatic animal adventure story sprinkled with humor which follows an elderly elk pair (monarch bull and cow) who adopt a Bactrian camel calf they encounter in the woods of northwest Montana. The rare twin calf, separated from his circus-performing mother and brother shortly after birth, suckles from the elk cow and follows the pair as they migrate towards the distant safety of their birthplace in Yellowstone National Park. Highway Patrolman Max Smith follows their sightings with the hope of rescuing the calf and seeing the elk pair to Yellowstone, especially as the danger of hunting season approaches.
As an animal adventure fan, I enjoyed To Yellowstone. This is a book that can engage both young and adult readers alike, with the caution that there is a description of the killing of animals with guns. McKinnon spends much of the story on the relationship that develops between the elk pair and the calf. However, the story’s true star is Max, who is in awe of the monarch bull from the start when he tranquilizes the animal and frees him from a barbed wire fence, for all that the bull subsequently damages his patrol car. Whether riding a camel for the first time, enlisting the help of his family, bantering with his dispatcher, or racing across rugged lands, Max goes above and beyond the call of duty for these animals and reveals a soft heart. An entertaining read.