An informative, well-researched, and engagingly written look at global efforts to protect Earth’s largest mammals.

WHALE QUEST

WORKING TOGETHER TO SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES

Threats to whale populations are abundant, but there are many human allies working together around the world to protect their fragile populations.

Young explores how cetologists, researchers, and citizen scientists work individually and cooperatively to protect whales from such hazards as climate change, commercial fishing and shipping, water and noise pollution, and unregulated whale-watching tourism. Before going into specifics about conservation efforts, Young explains the evolution and nature of cetaceans, how the whaling industry brought many species to the brink of extinction, and early conservation efforts that resulted in the establishment of the International Whaling Commission. She also notes how popular films such as Free Willy and Whale Rider and award-winning documentaries like Blackfish and Dolphin Cove have helped spread appreciation for cetaceans and raised public consciousness about conservation issues. One chapter explores the controversy of whale captivity, with Sea World at the center of a widespread public backlash against the practice. For those with a taste for the icky and gross, Young explores how much researchers can learn from whale feces and snot. A closing guide to whale species offers a sobering reminder of the terrible toll taken on whales by humans. The blue whale population, for example, is estimated now at 5,000, down from a pre-hunting population of 200,000.

An informative, well-researched, and engagingly written look at global efforts to protect Earth’s largest mammals. (maps, photos, source notes, glossary, bibliography, further reading) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4677-9246-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: May 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010).

EXOPLANETS

WORLDS BEYOND OUR SOLAR SYSTEM

An enticing overview of tools, techniques, and discoveries in what the author rightly characterizes “a red-hot field in astronomy.”

Alas; it is perhaps too red-hot. Not only is Kenney’s count of accepted and potential exoplanets (as of May 2016) well out of date already, but her claim that “Wolf-1061” (sic: that’s actually the name of the star and its system) is the nearest Earthlike planet in the habitable “Goldilocks Zone” has been trumped by the recent discovery of a closer candidate orbiting Proxima Centauri. Still, along with describing in nontechnical terms each tool in the researcher’s kit—from space- and ground-based telescopes of various types to instruments that detect subtle stellar wobbles, spectrum changes, microlensing, and other telling signs—the author fills in the historical background of exoplanet research and profiles some of its weirder findings. She also casts side glances at extremophile life on Earth and other, at least tangentially related, topics. The small format gives the assortment of photos, artists’ renditions, diagrams, and generic star fields a cramped look, but readers curious about how researchers could possibly detect such dinky, distant objects as planets belonging to other star systems will come away satisfied and intrigued.

A concise companion and update to Vicki Oransky Wittenstein’s Planet Hunter (2010). (index, source notes, bibliography, websites) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0086-1

Page Count: 92

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2016

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ENDANGERED

From the Ape Quartet series , Vol. 1

Congolese-American Sophie makes a harrowing trek through a war-torn jungle to protect a young bonobo.

On her way to spend the summer at the bonobo sanctuary her mother runs, 14-year-old Sophie rescues a sickly baby bonobo from a trafficker. Though her Congolese mother is not pleased Sophie paid for the ape, she is proud that Sophie works to bond with Otto, the baby. A week before Sophie's to return home to her father in Miami, her mother must take advantage
of a charter flight to relocate some apes, and she leaves Sophie with Otto and the sanctuary workers. War breaks out, and after missing a U.N. flight out, Sophie must hide herself and Otto from violent militants and starving villagers. Unable to take Otto out of the country, she decides finding her mother hundreds of miles to the north is her only choice. Schrefer jumps from his usual teen suspense to craft this well-researched tale of jungle survival set during a fictional conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Realistic characters (ape and human) deal with disturbing situations described in graphic, but never gratuitous detail. The lessons Sophie learns about her childhood home, love and what it means to be endangered will resonate with readers.

Even if some hairbreadth escapes test credulity, this is a great next read for fans of our nearest ape cousins or survival adventure. (map, author's note, author Q&A) (Adventure. 12-16)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-545-16576-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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