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POLES APART by Elaine Scott


Why Penguins and Polar Bears Will Never Be Neighbors

by Elaine Scott

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-670-05925-0
Publisher: Viking

Mid-level readers still a bit hazy on what our planet’s poles, both geographic and magnetic, are all about will benefit from Scott’s painstaking review of their nature, origins, differences, and human discovery. Along with explanations of rotation, orbits, seasons, magnetism, auroras, continental drift, and a plethora of related topics, she contrasts the climates and wildlife of the Arctic and Antarctic, chronicles the arrival of Inuit and Norse settlers, as well as the exploits of explorers from Captain Cook to Roald Amundsen. She closes with a glimpse of modern research and a discussion of the likely effects of global warming. She does miss a few things, such as the Antarctic’s microbial community and evidence that the Earth’s magnetic poles occasionally switch places. Still, this wide-angled survey, enhanced by plenty of bright color photos and graphics, makes a sturdy overview to accompany the more narrowly focused work of Jennifer Owens Dewey’s Antarctic Journal (2001) or Carmen Bredeson’s After the Last Dog Died (2003). (index, bibliography, web sites) (Nonfiction. 10-12)