This lively blend of science and history is an outstanding example of narrative nonfiction.

A DOG IN THE CAVE

THE WOLVES WHO MADE US HUMAN

A compelling look at the origins of and the ongoing unique relationship between humans and dogs.

In what’s at once a clear presentation of the science that explains the special connection between two species and a history of that science, Frydenborg puts forth information that should appeal to readers of all persuasions. She looks at both the evolution of wolves and humankind’s earliest ancestors for the clues that helped scientists understand how the highly social wolves came to be domesticated by humans, who began as solitary predators. By explaining various branches of science, including paleontology and genetics, and techniques such as radiocarbon dating and MRI scans, the author guides readers to an understanding of this unfolding story. She even includes the role of psychology for both. There are interesting sidelights, such as superstitions about wolves and Darwin’s love of dogs, which fueled his interests and the development of the British and American kennel clubs. The tale never flags and is enriched by photographs and sidebar information that very rarely disrupts the telling. One such insert is a highly useful description of the scientific method and what the author calls “the value of what-if.” Backmatter includes a glossary, chapter notes, selected bibliography, internet resources, and index (not seen).

This lively blend of science and history is an outstanding example of narrative nonfiction. (Nonfiction 12 & up)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-28656-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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Immediately actionable: use less, think more, and do something.

CHALLENGE EVERYTHING

THE EXTINCTION REBELLION YOUTH GUIDE TO SAVING THE PLANET

A youth activist’s blueprint for mitigating climate catastrophe.

Although Sandford, a 17-year-old Extinction Rebellion Youth London coordinator, knows the relevant research, she isn’t concerned with making the case for anthropogenic climate change in her authorial debut. Per scientific consensus, ecological collapse is a pressing reality that demands action, and writing—or reading—a manifesto isn’t akin to activism. Indeed, it’s a form of greenwashing: making a superficial improvement (taking a reusable tote to the grocer) while perpetuating systemic issues (purchasing unsustainable products). To make meaningful change, one must acknowledge complicity and take ultimate responsibility for individual decisions. This concise, personable, and unpretentious book contains three illustrated sections, each concluding with a self-questionnaire to aid readers in gauging their own engagement. The first, on combatting big business, shares primers on boycotting, petitioning, and conscientious consumption relative to agriculture, beauty, fast fashion, and travel. The second, on inadequate governmental responses, urges civic participation and outlines procedures for protesting, striking, and taking nonviolent direct action. The third models self-sufficiency through reclamation and rewilding; scavenging for food and goods; community-building; and consuming art, the natural world, and human experiences rather than commodities. Throughout, Sandford implores readers to constantly interrogate and amend their own beliefs: question what you’re told, choose your own morals, and know that your opinions matter. All merits aside, a bibliography is sorely lacking.

Immediately actionable: use less, think more, and do something. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-84365-464-3

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Pavilion Children's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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