ALIENS FROM EARTH by Mary Batten

ALIENS FROM EARTH

When Animals and Plants Invade Other Ecosystems
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The familiar starling, gypsy moth, and kudzu vine are all alien to North America, wreaking havoc on established plant and animal ecosystems and threatening biodiversity. This visually striking and readable title describes what happens to ecosystems when alien plants or animals are introduced by accident or intention. The author explains why island environments are especially vulnerable, with examples from Australia, overwhelmed with 500 million rabbits, and Hawaii, where domestic pigs damaged fern ponds producing breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Young readers may be surprised to learn that the gypsy moth was brought to North America to develop a local silk industry and Brazilian beekeepers imported African bees to improve local honeybee stock; both with disastrous results. Some species come as tagalongs: the zebra mussel, clogging the Great Lakes; fire ant, damaging crops and injuring livestock in ten southern states; and caulerpa algae, destroying sea life in the Mediterranean seabed. The examples throughout are thought-provoking, the illustrations outstanding, and the concluding words on steps to take to keep aliens out are helpful and practical. Doyle, who specializes in environmental art, provides handsome, double-paged portraits of animals both native and new to their natural habitat, using a footnote to clue readers into which are which. Fascinating. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-56145-236-X
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Peachtree
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2003




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