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NATURE OUT OF BALANCE by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox


How Invasive Species Are Changing the Planet

From the Orca Footprints series

by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox

Pub Date: Feb. 16th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-4598-2395-2
Publisher: Orca

Young readers are introduced to non-native invasive species: what they are and how they are affecting ecosystems around the world.

This nonfiction science title contains four chapters, leading readers from an understanding of what an invasive species is and how it overtakes new areas, through how systems work and are affected by newcomers, then the complications involved in efforts to control the spread of invasive species, and finally to a look at how humans can work with the reality of environmental change. Each chapter is divided into short sections that provide bursts of useful information, and spreads are enhanced with small “eco-facts,” well-captioned photographs, and frequent half-page featurettes on “invasive all-stars”: specific species, such as domestic cats, that have changed regions with their rapid spread and notable environmental effects. Making sure to include humans as one of the Earth’s most dramatic invasive species and greatest vectors of spreading others, Wilcox places the topic in historical context, including the spread of diseases such as smallpox during settler colonialism and mentioning the roles of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism on the human population and use of natural resources. The choice to include a photo of a White woman with a “build the wall” sign to illustrate xenophobia rather than, for instance, those who rally for immigrants’ rights, may have the effect of distressing young targets of xenophobia. The reasonably short sections are clear and engaging, and the balance of hope against the potentially stressful subject leaves readers informed and energized rather than defeated.

Handy and lucid, this slim volume makes an important topic digestible.

(resources, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)