Cover image for Lonesome George the giant tortoise
Lonesome George the giant tortoise
Jacobs, Francine.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Walker & Company, 2003.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Describes the life of Lonesome George, the last living Pinta Island giant tortoise, from his search for food on the Galapagos island to his days at the Charles Darwin Research Station, where scientists are encouraging him to mate.
Reading Level:
500 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.6 0.5 73212.

Reading Counts RC K-2 2.7 2 Quiz: 34441 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
PIC BK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



The remarkable true story of a one-of-a-kind survivor.

One lone tortoise lived a simple life on Pinta Island in the Gal#65533;pagos Islands of the Pacific Ocean. Then visiting fishermen introduced goats to the unique island, which completely disrupted the ecosystem.

One lone tortoise stubbornly clung to life, even after his fellow tortoises disappeared slowly. Then, years after it was believed that all Pinta Island tortoises were extinct, scientists discovered one lone tortoise among the rocky hills of the now barren land.

The scientists named this miraculous survivor "Lonesome George" and brought him to the Darwin Research Station, where they hoped to find him a mate. Even though George has remained a steadfast bachelor while waiting for a Pinta Island mate, he is an inspiration for survival as well as a living reminder of the terrible price of extinction.

Author Notes

Francine Jacobs is the author of 24 books for children, including the Reading Rainbow Feature Selection Sam the Sea Cow , illustrated by Laura Kelly and Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise , illustrated by Jean Cassels. The story of Lonesome George appealed to her because it describes the discovery and rescue of a truly unique creature. She lives with her husband, Jerome Jacobs, in Pleasantville, New York.

Jean Cassels has illustrated more than fifty natural history books for children, but she also has a talent for more whimsical images of birds and beasts and bugs wearing all the latest fashions, as seen in The Mysterious Collection of Dr. David Harleyson. The mother of two grown sons, she lives with her husband in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-3. In this poignant, true account,acobs introduces a saddleback tortoise, George, who beat long odds to survive as possibly the last member of the distinctive species of tortoise found only on the Galapagos island of Pintas. Its ecology devastated by the descendants of goats brought in by fishermen, Pintas had been thought for decades to have no tortoises left--until game wardens trying to clear the island of its interlopers discovered George. The tortoise now lives in a large compound on Santa Cruz Island, and the search is on--so far without success--for a compatible female. In painted illustrations Cassels depicts George from various angles, plodding about rocky desert landscapes with wrinkled, appealing dignity. The author caps her simply written account with further resources for children who want to know more about George, or about the Galapagos in general. --John Peters Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Like his Sam the Sea Cow, author Francine Jacobs investigates the life of another sea creature, Lonesome George the Giant Tortoise by Francine Jacobs, illus. by Jean Cassels. Here she tells the true story of a 50-year-old tortoise from the Gal pagos Islands. Even though goats have eaten most of the food on the island, and the other tortoises have died out, George has survived-the last known saddleback tortoise from Pinta Island. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 4-George, a giant tortoise, lives on Pinta Island in the Gal pagos and spends his days foraging for food, finding shelter, and, most importantly, searching for a mate. When a fisherman brings a few goats to the island to ensure a supply of fresh meat, they soon overwhelm the habitat and consume the plants that tortoises need to survive. Before long, George is the only one of his kind left on Pinta. Park wardens discover his presence and relocate him to the Charles Darwin Research Station on nearby Santa Cruz. To date, George has been unwilling to mate with females from other islands, and scientists have not yet been successful in locating a female Pinta tortoise in a zoo, but the search continues. Using short sentences and simple vocabulary, Jacobs explains the potentially devastating effects of introducing nonindigenous animals into a habitat. Realistic, full-spread paintings and a text that flows like a story give this offering the look and tone of a picture book. Additional details about Gal pagos tortoises and contact information for resource organizations are included. An attractive addition with an important message.-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough Public Library System, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.