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From the Scientists in the Field series

Stimulating reading for young naturalists and eco-activists.

A visit to a remote national park that is the site of the longest uninterrupted predator-prey study in history.

Following the pattern of other entries in the much-honored Scientists in the Field series, Castaldo and Heim introduce several biologists and other researchers working at Isle Royale, a group of islands on Lake Superior, with portraits and short descriptions of their work and interests. Castaldo adds historical context and observations gleaned from a decadeslong study of how rising and falling populations of local wolves and their main prey, moose, affect the unusually isolated area’s entire ecosystem. She also offers an evenhanded view of a controversial recent project: After the wolf population nearly went extinct, in an attempt to restore the predator-prey balance artificially, scientists imported wolves from outside in the hopes that they would breed. Castaldo leaves it for reflective readers to decide whether that is responsible conservation or unscientific meddling with natural patterns. As in other titles in the series, the big, bright color photos are a strong point, and even though the closest Castaldo or Heim gets to a wolf or a moose on their expedition is some piles of scat, stock wildlife close-ups are seamlessly mixed in with views of rugged woodlands, rocky shores, and outdoorsy workspaces, notably, a large and neatly arranged moose boneyard. The researchers portrayed appear to be White.

Stimulating reading for young naturalists and eco-activists. (maps, glossary, further reading, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 9, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-27423-0

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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“In 1875 there were perhaps fifty million of them. Just twenty-five years later nearly every one of them was gone.” The author of many nonfiction books for young people (Bridges; Truck; Giants of the Highways, etc.) tells the story of the American bison, from prehistory, when Bison latifrons walked North America along with the dinosaurs, to the recent past when the Sioux and other plains Indians hunted the familiar bison. Robbins uses historic photographs, etchings, and paintings to show their sad history. To the Native Americans of the plains, the buffalo was central to their way of life. Arriving Europeans, however, hunted for sport, slaughtering thousands for their hides, or to clear the land for the railroad, or farmers. One telling photo shows a man atop a mountain of buffalo skulls. At the very last moment, enough individuals “came to their senses,” and worked to protect the remaining few. Thanks to their efforts, this animal is no longer endangered, but the author sounds a somber note as he concludes: “the millions are gone, and they will never come back.” A familiar story, well-told, and enhanced by the many well-chosen period photographs. (photo credits) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83025-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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Here is an adventure in a unique setting. The lively text and lovely watercolors document three and a half months of a summer the artist and author spent at the South Pole, as part of the National Science Foundation Antarctic Artists & Writers Program. Hooper describes everyday life aboard the research ship Laurence M. Gould, a sturdy orange icebreaker that scientists use to travel between the islands to study the wide variety of animals who come each year to breed and raise their young. An assortment of penguins, elephant seals, giant petrels, huge skuas, and leopard seals hold center stage. Scientists are less important than the serious business of successfully raising young in the short summer season. The author captures the drama of the ice-cold ocean, alive with life: “Swarms of barrel-shaped blue-tinged salps, stuck together in floating chains. Minute creatures with red eyes. Sliding through the water in a curving path like a ribbon.” The artist provides striking paintings of the landscape and the animals in soft washy colors, and quick pencil sketches. The ice is lemon gold with mauve shadows, and the sea a silver gray in the 24-hour day. Animals are expressive and individual. The krill, the tiny shrimp-like creatures that form the backbone of the ocean food chain, appear in luminous glory. The author concludes with a page on global warming, a map of the islands visited, and an index. From cover to cover a personal and informative journey. (Nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-7922-7188-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: National Geographic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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