THE PRAIRIE BUILDERS

RECONSTRUCTING AMERICA’S LOST GRASSLANDS

Butterflies, buffalo, coneflowers, grasses and more once flourished on the Iowa tallgrass prairie, but soon gave way to farms and towns until little of the prairie remained. In 1960, Iowa Congressman Neal Smith, working with conservationists, determined to save the unique ecosystem by purchasing 2,500 acres of farmland and reconstructing a tallgrass prairie to serve as a nature preserve and teaching center. This title documents the efforts of volunteers, community activists and dozens of field scientists working together to resurrect just such a prairie in Iowa, and reintroduce native plants and animals like prairie violet, upland sandpipers and Regal Fritillary butterfly. The author uses interviews with working scientists to give a human face to agronomists, biologists, botanists and more. Striking photographs on every page capture the drama, excitement and beauty of the prairie. A welcome addition to the Scientists in the Field series. (further readings, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: May 30, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-39687-X

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2005

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WEATHER

Remarking that ``nothing about the weather is very simple,'' Simon goes on to describe how the sun, atmosphere, earth's rotation, ground cover, altitude, pollution, and other factors influence it; briefly, he also tells how weather balloons gather information. Even for this outstanding author, it's a tough, complex topic, and he's not entirely successful in simplifying it; moreover, the import of the striking uncaptioned color photos here isn't always clear. One passage—``Cumulus clouds sometimes build up into towering masses called cumulus congestus, or swelling cumulus, which may turn into cumulonimbus clouds''—is superimposed on a blue-gray, cloud-covered landscape. But which kind of clouds are these? Another photo, in blue-black and white, shows what might be precipitation in the upper atmosphere, or rain falling on a darkened landscape, or...? Generally competent and certainly attractive, but not Simon's best. (Nonfiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-688-10546-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1993

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DORY STORY

Who is next in the ocean food chain? Pallotta has a surprising answer in this picture book glimpse of one curious boy. Danny, fascinated by plankton, takes his dory and rows out into the ocean, where he sees shrimp eating those plankton, fish sand eels eating shrimp, mackerel eating fish sand eels, bluefish chasing mackerel, tuna after bluefish, and killer whales after tuna. When an enormous humpbacked whale arrives on the scene, Danny’s dory tips over and he has to swim for a large rock or become—he worries’someone’s lunch. Surreal acrylic illustrations in vivid blues and red extend the story of a small boy, a small boat, and a vast ocean, in which the laws of the food chain are paramount. That the boy has been bathtub-bound during this entire imaginative foray doesn’t diminish the suspense, and the facts Pallotta presents are solidly researched. A charming fish tale about the one—the boy—that got away. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-88106-075-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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