A compelling account of the solution of a scientific mystery.

THE SEARCH FOR OLINGUITO

DISCOVERING A NEW SPECIES

A species of mammal newly identified through museum research is found in the wild in Ecuador.

Comparing olingo pelts and skulls at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Kristofer Helgen found a set that didn't match. Continuing his museum investigations around the world, he found similar specimens in four other collections. DNA testing showed that it was, indeed, a different species, which he named olinguito, "little olingo." One such animal had lived and died in captivity in the 1970s, but did they still exist in the wild? In this latest title, science educator Markle provides a stellar description of a long-term scientific investigation involving research in museums, in laboratories, and in the field. Her clear, well-organized text introduces the scientific question, describes the research, and introduces the newest member of the raccoon family. A two-page spread describes other family members, and there are numerous well-captioned photographs of this appealing new addition as well as American (mostly white) and Ecuadorian scientists at work. She makes clear that these animals were known to local people all along; it was scientists who were surprised. Attractive design and thoughtful backmatter complete the package, a nice complement to Lulu Delacre’s description of the olinguito’s native cloud forest, ¡Olinguito, de la A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z!

A compelling account of the solution of a scientific mystery. (source notes, glossary, resources, index) (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5124-1015-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life.

ODDER

A Monterey Bay sea otter comes of age.

Odder’s mom told her to stay away from sharks, humans, and anything else she didn’t understand, but after saving her friend Kairi from a shark attack, she encounters all three. Injured herself during the rescue, Odder ends up recuperating at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or Highwater as the otters call it, where she once lived as a young orphaned pup. Last time, the humans helped her reintegrate into the wild, but because of her injuries this time the outcome might be different. Soon Kairi is there too, stricken with “the shaking sickness” and having lost her newborn pup. Now Kairi is fostering a new pup, and soon one is introduced to an initially reluctant Odder in hopes that she will help raise it so it can return to the wild. The free verse effortlessly weaves in scientific information, giving Odder a voice without overly anthropomorphizing any of the animals. The natural appeal of sea otters will draw readers in, but the book doesn’t shy away from real-world threats such as predators, disease, and pollution. Loosely based on the stories of real sea otters rehabilitated at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, this novel will give readers lots to talk about, but uneven pacing and a rushed ending may leave some unsatisfied. Charming black-and-white spot art captures the world and life of the sea.

Rich, naturalistic details will delight lovers of marine life. (glossary, author’s note, bibliography, resources) (Verse novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-14742-4

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven.

CLUES TO THE UNIVERSE

An aspiring scientist and a budding artist become friends and help each other with dream projects.

Unfolding in mid-1980s Sacramento, California, this story stars 12-year-olds Rosalind and Benjamin as first-person narrators in alternating chapters. Ro’s father, a fellow space buff, was killed by a drunk driver; the rocket they were working on together lies unfinished in her closet. As for Benji, not only has his best friend, Amir, moved away, but the comic book holding the clue for locating his dad is also missing. Along with their profound personal losses, the protagonists share a fixation with the universe’s intriguing potential: Ro decides to complete the rocket and hopes to launch mementos of her father into outer space while Benji’s conviction that aliens and UFOs are real compels his imagination and creativity as an artist. An accident in science class triggers a chain of events forcing Benji and Ro, who is new to the school, to interact and unintentionally learn each other’s secrets. They resolve to find Benji’s dad—a famous comic-book artist—and partner to finish Ro’s rocket for the science fair. Together, they overcome technical, scheduling, and geographical challenges. Readers will be drawn in by amusing and fantastical elements in the comic book theme, high emotional stakes that arouse sympathy, and well-drawn character development as the protagonists navigate life lessons around grief, patience, self-advocacy, and standing up for others. Ro is biracial (Chinese/White); Benji is White.

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-300888-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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