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EXTREME SCIENTISTS

EXPLORING NATURE’S MYSTERIES FROM PERILOUS PLACES

Scientific fieldwork takes Paul Flaherty, Hazel Barton and Steve Sillett to dangerous heights and depths in this latest entry in the Scientists in the Field series, which presents three biographies connected by their format. In turn Jackson introduces the researchers, alludes to their childhood scientific interest (including a snapshot of the budding scientist in earlier years) and training and focuses on their dangerous work today. Meteorologist Flaherty serves as flight director for planes venturing into the eyes of tropical storms. Microbiologist Barton collects her specimens in caves under land and glacial ice crevasses. Botanist Sillett explores tree canopies, especially in redwood forests. Readers will encounter fascinating facts about weather forecasting, cave bacteria and fungi and life in the treetops. Each section ends with a series of quick questions to these courageous scientists. The index would be more useful if all the pages were numbered. Though this lacks the sparkle of some earlier titles in this consistently interesting series, the subject is bound to appeal to middle-school extremophiles. (further explorations, glossary, sources) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-618-77706-8

Page Count: 80

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2009

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HOOT

The straight-arrow son of a maybe-federal agent (he’s not quite sure) turns eco-terrorist in this first offering for kids from one of detective fiction’s funniest novelists. Fans of Hiaasen’s (Basket Case, 2001, etc.) novels for adults may wonder how well his profane and frequently kinky writing will adapt to a child’s audience; the answer is, remarkably well. Roy Eberhardt has recently arrived in Florida; accustomed to being the new kid after several family moves, he is more of an observer than a participant. When he observes a bare-footed boy running through the subdivisions of Coconut Grove, however, he finds himself compelled to follow and, later, to ally himself with the strange boy called Mullet Fingers. Meanwhile, the dimwitted but appealingly dogged Officer Delinko finds himself compelled to crack the case of the mysterious vandals at the construction site of a new Mother Paula’s All-American Pancake House—it couldn’t have anything to do with those cute burrowing owls, could it? The plot doesn’t overwhelm with surprises; even the densest readers will soon suss out the connections between Mullet Fingers, the owls, and Mother Paula’s steadfast denial of the owls’ existence. The fun lies in Hiaasen’s trademark twisted characters, including Dana Matherson, the class bully who regularly beats up on Roy and whose unwitting help Roy wickedly enlists; Beatrice Leep, Mullet Fingers’s fiercely loyal sister and co-conspirator; Curly, Mother Paula’s hilariously inept foreman; and Roy’s equally straight-arrow parents, who encourage him to do the right thing without exactly telling him how. Roy is rather surprisingly engaging, given his utter and somewhat unnatural wholesomeness; it’s his kind of determined innocence that sees through the corruption and compromises of the adult world to understand what must be done to make things right. If the ending is somewhat predictable, it is also entirely satisfying—Hoot is, indeed, a hoot. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2002

ISBN: 0-375-82181-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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MUSIC FOR TIGERS

A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters.

Unlike the rest of her nature-obsessed family, Louisa wants to be a musician, not a biologist.

But when Louisa’s mother finds out that the Australian government is about to destroy the Tasmanian rainforest camp their family has managed for decades, she insists that Louisa leave Toronto and spend the summer on the strange, small island with her even stranger uncle Ruff. But when Uncle Ruff gives Louisa a copy of her great-grandmother’s journal, Louisa becomes fascinated with her family’s history of secretly protecting endangered species, including the mysterious Tasmanian tiger, widely regarded as extinct. With the help of her new friend and neighbor Colin—a boy who has autism spectrum disorder—Louisa deepens her connection with her family’s land, with history, and with her love of music. Kadarusman masterfully creates a lush, magical world where issues associated with conservation, neurodiversity, and history intersect in surprising and authentic ways. The book’s small cast of characters (principals seem all White) is well drawn and endearing. Crucially, the author acknowledges the original, Indigenous inhabitants of the land as experts, something rarely seen in books about environmental degradation. Louisa’s narratorial voice strikes the right balance of curiosity, timidity, and growing confidence, and her character’s transformation feels both incredibly natural and incredibly rewarding to behold.

A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 28, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77278-054-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Pajama Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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