A message of hope from Scientists in the Field.

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SAVING THE TASMANIAN DEVIL

HOW SCIENCE IS HELPING THE WORLD’S LARGEST MARSUPIAL CARNIVORE SURVIVE

From the Scientists in the Field series

Scientists from different disciplines, career stages, and parts of the world work toward saving the Tasmanian devil, an Australian carnivore threatened with extinction due to the devil facial tumor disease.

When Patent began working on her investigation of the story of this rapidly advancing, apparently communicable cancer, scientists feared it was soon going to wipe out the species except in captivity. But progress in several fields, the work of both caretakers of captive populations and those who reintroduce some to the wild, and the adaptations and evolution of the animals themselves give hope for a different outcome. The author’s long experience writing for young readers is evident. She organizes this complex account in ways that make it clear and provides background that middle school readers will need: introducing this secretive and often maligned mammal; explaining the disease and its effects on the animals’ genes; describing rescue efforts in the field; and showing lab work toward developing an effective vaccine. She interviews and accompanies four featured white scientists, male and female, as well as others involved in this work, and ends each chapter with a short summary note headed “What I learned.” Photographs show the Tasmanian landscape, other wildlife, researchers at work, spacious areas for captive devils, and the animals themselves, which are dog-sized, furry, and reasonably appealing when their mouths are closed and their threatening teeth are hidden.

A message of hope from Scientists in the Field. (acknowledgments, glossary, further information, sources, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 11-15)

Pub Date: Aug. 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-99148-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike.

ULTIMATE OCEANPEDIA

THE MOST COMPLETE OCEAN REFERENCE EVER

A compendium of all things oceanic, from surface to depths, covering biology, geology, coasts, climatic phenomena, and human use and abuse.

Considering the size of the general topic, the coverage isn’t as shallow as it might be. Hundreds of crisply professional nature photos and big, easy-to-follow charts and diagrams anchor waves of densely packed but often breezy commentary (“Many parrotfish species also make their own sleeping bags at night—out of mucus!”) that Wilsdon pours in beneath such headers as “It’s a Shore Thing” and “Belize It or Not!” Overviews of each ocean, of plate tectonics, the action and effects of ocean currents, worldwide climate change, and physical features from islands to abyssal plains sail by in succession, but marine biology takes pride of place with page after page of photogenic sea life from tiny krill on up to whales and polar bears. The author profiles a marine ecologist and interviews an oceanographer to cap chapters on modern research, exploration, and industries, then closes with generous lists of sites to visit physically or virtually.

A stimulating plunge for casual browsers and serious students alike. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4263-2550-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING RESCUE OF HORSES KIDNAPPED DURING WORLD WAR II

Letts adapts her bestselling 2016 work of the same title for young readers.

As World War II sweeps across Europe, the fates of several master horsemen become entwined. In Poland, Andrzej Kristalovich, head of the national stud farm, sees his life’s work disappear when Russian soldiers capture his horses. Nazi Germans, invading next, restore some of the animals in order to breed them for the Third Reich. Meanwhile, in Vienna, Olympic medalist Alois Podhajsky is desperately trying to care for the Lipizzan stallions at the famed Spanish Riding School even as the invading Germans capture the Lipizzan stud farms and move most of the horses to Czechoslovakia. Meanwhile, at an American Army base in Kansas, Maj. Hank Reed is overseeing the cavalry’s transition from horses, no longer useful in warfare, to mechanized vehicles. These threads come together at the end of the war when Reed orchestrates a complex rescue of both sets of horses. This is not a particularly successful adaptation. It’s shorter than the original, but both the storyline and timeline are fragmented, making it difficult for the putative audience of 8- to 12-year-olds to follow, and extraneous details fail to advance the main narrative. Aside from a map and archival images (both not seen), there is no timeline or other visual aid to help organize the narrative. Characters are all white.

If readers can make sense of this story, they’re likely able to tackle the original instead. (author’s note, characters, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-64474-3

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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