More science than adventure, this is a challenging addition to the Science in the Field series.

CALL OF THE OSPREY

Ospreys, severely affected by DDT in the 1960s, now serve as indicators for the success of pollution remediation on a Superfund cleanup site.

Scientists from the Montana Osprey Project invite the public to share their enthusiasm for these amazing raptors, bringing young people to visit the nests and maintaining two webcams while carrying on the work of collecting and analyzing samples of blood and feathers from osprey chicks along the Clark Fork River. Patent introduces the birds and the project, explaining environmental issues resulting from mining in the Clark Fork area, various dangers for ospreys, and the research. A chapter of osprey observations done through Web cameras, watching two pairs raise their chicks, is followed by an explanation of the problem of mercury and then a description of the attachment of transmitters to these birds to research migration patterns. There’s a great deal of information crammed into this title; many sidebars and special sections interrupt the exposition. Readers without a solid science background may have difficulty following the steps of data analysis. Libraries still holding Patent and Muñoz’s Ospreys (1993) will find that simpler title a helpful overview of the species, but this one demonstrates how studying these birds may help address some knottier scientific problems.

More science than adventure, this is a challenging addition to the Science in the Field series. (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: June 2, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-23268-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2015

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For middle and high school readers, an encouraging example of earth scientists working to understand and deal with climate...

INSIDE BIOSPHERE 2

EARTH SCIENCE UNDER GLASS

From the Scientists in the Field series

A 1990s science experiment aimed at space exploration finds a new purpose in the 21st century.

Built to test long-term human survival in a closed ecological system like a potential Mars colony, the 3.14-acre glass-enclosed structure called Biosphere 2 is now being used for investigations of climate change here on Earth. Framing her narrative as a tour of the facility, now open to and welcoming visitors, Carson’s information-packed text introduces the original experiment, in which eight people survived for 2 years, and then, chapter by chapter, describes new studies. In the rain forest, biogeochemist Joost van Haren investigates how much carbon dioxide a forest can hold and the effects of drought. An “ocean” with a no-longer-viable coral reef is being repurposed into a model of the nearby Gulf of California, under the supervision of marine biologist Rafe Sagarin. What was once a farm is now a Landscape Evolution Observatory, with replicas of a nearby hillside where hydrologist Luke Pangle studies how water, energy, and carbon move through landscapes. Sustainability coordinator Nate Allen works underneath in the Technosphere, where power and plumbing systems support the entire structure. Well-chosen, clearly captioned photographs support the text, while flashback boxes inform readers of what came before.

For middle and high school readers, an encouraging example of earth scientists working to understand and deal with climate change in new and amazing ways. (glossary, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-544-41664-2

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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A mixed bag for epilepsy representation; satisfying as a friendship tale.

TALKING TO ALASKA

Two very different kids who need the same dog realize they both sometimes feel like they’re walking around on Mars.

Parker and Sven, two White 13-year-olds, are both nervous starting a new year at their school in the Netherlands. Parker’s recovering from a traumatic experience, and Sven hasn’t adapted to his epilepsy diagnosis. The first day of school begins badly for both of them: Sven, trying to impress people, gives Parker a mean nickname, then closes the day with a very public seizure. He frequently experiences generalized tonic-clonic seizures and can no longer bike or swim, and he has a service dog, Alaska, whom he resents. But only four months ago, Alaska was Parker’s pet. In alternating perspectives, Parker and Sven confront trauma, grief, and how they feel like aliens at school. The premise that Parker’s former house pet is now Sven’s skilled seizure dog after only one month of training bends credulity to the breaking point in a novel packed with little informational lessons about epilepsy and service animals. The book was translated from the original Dutch into British English, and although the text has been largely Americanized, it frequently uses the word fit for seizure—considered ableist and pejorative phrasing in the U.S. (though not in the U.K.). On the other hand, it’s wonderful to see a helmet normalized for a disabled protagonist who’s prone to falls.

A mixed bag for epilepsy representation; satisfying as a friendship tale. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78607-880-3

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Rock the Boat/Oneworld

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2021

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