Kirkus Reviews QR Code
SECRETS OF SOUND by April Pulley Sayre


Studying the Calls and Songs of Whales, Elephants, and Birds

by April Pulley Sayre

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2002
ISBN: 0-618-01514-0
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

The Scientists in the Field series continues to fulfill its promise, as Sayre (Noodle Man, p. 265, etc.) takes science out of the lab by profiling several researchers on the cutting edge of “acoustic biology.” Having arrived at their outdoorsy areas of inquiry along various routes—Katy Payne, for instance, moved from studying whale song to the surprisingly complex subsonic communications of elephants, and Bill Evans admits that his ingenious efforts to track birds that migrate at night through their calls “was a hobby that got out of control”—these men and women are not only exploring uncharted scientific frontiers, but obviously having a wonderful time doing it. Children will respond to their enthusiasm, as well as the environmental concerns that lie behind their research projects—not to mention the eye-opening insight that important discoveries may require traveling to exotic wild places, but might also be waiting no further away than one’s back yard. Big, color photos of the scientists, their tools and the creatures they study reflect this multifaceted appeal; lists of recommended reading (and listening, of course) and Web sites will give interested readers a deeper understanding of what has been, and has yet to be, learned about animal communication. (Nonfiction. 10-13)