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PIKA COUNTRY by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent


Climate Change at the Top of the World

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent & Marlo Garnsworthy ; photographed by Dan Hartman

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-970039-02-3
Publisher: Web of Life

Pikas, tiny rabbit relatives living in high altitudes, serve as an entry point toward understanding the consequences of a warming world.

Following At Home With the Beaver, with photos by Michael Runtz (2019), Patent, with co-author Garnsworthy, returns to the idea of the interconnectedness of species with this welcome new title. Hartman’s photographs dramatically illustrate a clear, well-organized text that opens with descriptions of the mountainous “pika country” near Yellowstone National Park and the feisty pikas. Readers first see a pika “scurry, scurry, hurry,” gathering food for the day and for its winter hay pile. There’s a helpful map and photos of the scenery in several seasons. The writers introduce the idea of climate change (printed in boldface and defined, like other important words, in a glossary) and other animals sharing this gradually warming habitat. Not only is the pika’s livable world shrinking as the snowline moves up the mountains, there’s less of an insulating snowpack in winter and fewer hours with appropriate temperatures for foraging in summer. Photos, diagrams (by Garnsworthy), and words work together to demonstrate the food web that includes this tiny mammal and other plants and animals, also threatened by the changing climate, whose lives connect with theirs. In conclusion, final essays explain today’s climate change causes and suggest some personal actions in the realms of transportation, living and eating habits, and sharing information, but no sources or further resources are offered.

An effective demonstration of the reverberations of climate change. (Nonfiction. 6-9)