"The Tale of Jacob Swift,” a newly released children’s photo fiction book by Jeff Kurrus about swift foxes has a tie to Chadron State College.
Dr. Teresa Frink, associate professor and chair of the applied sciences department, wrote the foreward for the book and also reviewed the scientific facts for accuracy.
Kurrus, editor of NEBRASKAland Magazine, said he is grateful Frink became involved with the project.
“I wanted accurate scientific information. She was a tremendous help throughout the entire process,” Kurrus said.
Frink has not worked with Kurrus previously. She is a major partner in a swift fox study by University of Nebraska-Lincoln doctoral candidate Lucia Corral in conjunction with CSC and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Corral’s adviser, Dr. Joseph “TJ” Fontaine, recommended Frink as a valuable resource for Kurrus’ project.
“I’m always looking for another idea and had researched the swift fox for NEBRASKAland Magazine,” Kurrus said. “I started wondering about the challenges and perils of raising a family on the shortgrass prairie, especially for an animal the size of house cat, with so many predators around.”
Since the species spends so much time below ground, many Nebraska residents have not seen them, especially the pups. He hopes that the book may increase interest in this at-risk animal and others.
Regarding the book’s photography, Kurrus employed the work of Colorado photographer Rob Palmer, whose photos help drive the story of Jacob and his family trying to survive on the Great Plains.
“The swift fox species is unique because mom and dad raise the pups together. The story, told from the third-person perspective, is anthropomorphic but grounded in scientific fact. Learning is a natural process for swift fox pups and I'm convinced there is a lot of communication going on within these families,” Kurrus said.
"The Tale of Jacob Swift," is his second children's photo fiction book and third book overall. In 2012, he wrote "Have You Seen Mary?" about sandhill cranes who became separated during migration using the photography of Michael Forsberg as visual support.
“Have You Seen Mary,” was a finalist for the Golden Sower award.
Kurrus is planning readings and a book signing in the Chadron area within the next year. For more information, including where to purchase signed copies, visit jeffkurrus.com.
—Tena L. Cook, Marketing Coordinator