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THE RACE TO SAVE THE LORD GOD BIRD by Phillip Hoose Kirkus Star


by Phillip Hoose

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 11th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-36173-8
Publisher: Melanie Kroupa/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Before 1800, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker's distinctive call and rap could be heard throughout the river and swamp forests of the southeastern US; the last documented sighting of the great black-and-white bird was in 1944, when an Audubon Society artist sadly painted the last remaining female in a Louisiana swamp. In the intervening years, humans wiped out both bird and habitat, forcing extinction. With power and humor, rage and sorrow, the narrative details the demise of the Lord God bird (so-called by some because of its awe-inspiring flight), braiding into its tale the stories of those who came into contact with it, from J.J. Audubon himself to James Tanner, the Cornell fellow whose pioneering study of the bird sparked conservationists' understanding that preservation of species requires preservation of habitat. Hoose packs just the right amount of information into his text, chronicling the rise of the Audubon Society out of the Plume Wars and the twin impacts of Reconstruction and WWII on southern forests with equal ease. Sidebars add engrossing details, and extensive back matter bespeaks exemplary nonfiction. But it's the author's passion that compels, till the reader is on the edge of the seat, hoping against history that the Ivory-bill will be saved. Outstanding in every way. (Timeline, glossary, chapter notes, index.) (Nonfiction. 10+)