Stimulating reading for young naturalists and eco-activists.



From the Scientists in the Field series

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 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals.



Finely detailed cutaway views of spacecraft and satellites launch a broad account of space exploration’s past, present, and near future.

Jenkins begins with the journey of Voyager I, currently the “most distant man-made object ever,” then goes back to recap the history of astronomy, the space race, and the space-shuttle program. He goes on to survey major interplanetary probes and the proliferating swarm of near-Earth satellites, then closes with reflections on our current revived interest in visiting Mars and a brief mention of a proposed “space elevator.” This is all familiar territory, at least to well-read young skywatchers and would-be astronauts, and despite occasional wry observations (“For longer stays [in space], things to consider include staying fit and healthy, keeping clean, and not going insane”) it reads more like a digest than a vivid, ongoing story. Biesty’s eye for exact, precise detail is well in evidence in the illustrations, though, and if one spread of generic residents of the International Space Station is the only place his human figures aren’t all white and male, at least he offers riveting depictions of space gear and craft with every last scientific instrument and structural element visible and labeled.

A coherent if unexceptional overview of the subject given a solid boost by the visuals. (index, timeline, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: June 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8931-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark.



Reflections on the ways that artificial light upsets patterns and behaviors in the natural world.

Galat (Stories of the Aurora,2016, etc.) spins childhood memories into semifictive reminiscences. Between recalling lying on her back in the snow at 10 to trace the Big Dipper and describing links between light pollution and several environmental issues as a grown-up naturalist, the author recalls camping trips and other excursions at various ages. These offer, at least tangentially, insights into how artificial lighting could affect nocturnal insects, sea turtle hatchlings, bats, and migratory birds, as well as the general hunting, mating, and nesting behaviors of animals. She closes, after a quick mention of scotobiology (the study of life in darkness), with a plea to turn off the lights whenever possible. Though she does not support this general appeal with specific practices or, for that matter, source notes for her information, she does offer a list of internet search terms for readers who want to explore the topic further. Despite illustrations that range from a close-up of a road-kill raccoon to pointless filler and passages that, paradoxically, are hard to read except in bright light because they’re printed over speckled fields of stars, this outing covers a topic that should be of interest to young stargazers and scotobiologists alike.

Enlightening, if not always easily legible, ruminations on the value of being in the dark. (Nonfiction. 10-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-88995-515-8

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Red Deer Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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