Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat’s Foster Mom by Suzi Eszterhas

moto and me

Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat’s Foster Mom by Suzi Eszterhas
ISBN-13: 978-1771472425
Publisher: Owlkids (April 11, 2017)
Age Range: 7 – 10 years
Grade Level: 1 – 5
Lexile Measure: 860
WorldCat Permalink:
Starred Reviews: Publishers Weekly and Kirkus

Summary and Thoughts

This book is adorable and I am sure that it will please most children!  What is there not to like about a sweet story about an animal rescue?  The author Suzi Eszterhas, wildlife photographer and author, was asked to be the foster mom to an abandoned serval, a type of African wildcat while on assignment at Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.  Moto was separated from his mother and siblings during a fire.  In fact, Moto’s name came from the Swahili word for “fire”.  This book chronicles through her amazing photography Eszterhas’ year raising this little orphan up until Moto is released back into the wild.

Moto and Me would make a wonderful addition to school or public library collections.  Animal books are always popular with children.  Kirkus’ Starred Review declares, “The inclusion of maps, a table of contents, and some general facts about servals make this far more than a sweet story; it’s a model of narrative nonfiction for the elementary-age audience. Not just for fans of cat pictures, this is an encouraging example of wildlife rescue and release with guaranteed child appeal” (Kirkus

Eszterhas is also giving a portion of the royalties from this book to the Mara Conservancy to protect Moto’s home lands.

moto and me 2

moto and me 4

The author, Suzi Eszterhas, with Moto


Read a-Likes:

Additional Resources:

Check out this video about the author’s experiences with wildlife photography!

Suzi Eszterhas: Wildlife Photographer from National Wildlife Federation on Vimeo.


2 thoughts on “Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat’s Foster Mom by Suzi Eszterhas

  1. True insight into Emily here: I love books like this and find myself super frustrated by them at the same time. Animal conservation is a huge passion in my life, and I find that I spend a lot of time reading books and stories that don’t clearly talk about the lines between wild animals and humans. For me, the saving grace of this book is that she was asked to do this by the rescue, as well as the fact that she’s continuing to support it through sales of the books.

    I do, however, feel like any discussion of books like these also needs to talk about the importance of making sure animals stay in their native lands, and about how these animals aren’t pets, but something to be admired and loved where they are (which I think this author does a good job of presenting).

    There is such power in creating early conservationists by ensuring that they love wild animals. I think the unit here (the read alongs, videos, etc) is a great balance of LOOK HOW AMAZING THE ANIMALS ARE and LET’S SAVE THEM.

    For a local (Indiana) sanctuary that can tie-in to these kinds of studies, I highly recommend Black Pine Animal Sanctuary up in Albion (


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