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



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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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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Comprehensive, inclusive, and practical.



From the Women of Power series

Profiles of women engineers and coders who overcame obstacles to become leading voices in their fields.

Each profile presents the subject’s challenges and career path while exploring global themes of gender-based disenfranchisement—and empowerment—in STEM fields. The work presents itself as both a guide for girls who want to go into these areas as well as an appeal to those who don’t think they would find them interesting or who might feel discouraged from pursuing them. The chapters, each about 10 pages in length, are based on individual interviews conducted by the engineer author, highlight each woman’s story and accomplishments. The subjects come from a diverse range of backgrounds, highlighting marginalized identities within the field, such as race and disability. Numerous sidebars relating to the women’s backgrounds cover a range of content, some of it broadly useful beyond STEM careers, especially for teens from less privileged backgrounds, such as making a college education financially attainable, understanding the mentor-mentee relationship, escaping an abusive environment, attending college as a young parent, and business card etiquette. The closing chapters offer specific guidance, shepherding readers through preparing for college, different types of engineering and programming jobs, suggested books and movies, and the complexities of advanced degrees. The prose style is friendly, supportive, and informal, making potentially intimidating subject matter less so.

Comprehensive, inclusive, and practical. (Nonfiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64160-638-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Chicago Review Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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