A splendid wildlife adventure skillfully conveyed.

READ REVIEW

THE MAGNIFICENT MIGRATION

ON SAFARI WITH AFRICA’S LAST GREAT HERDS

Montgomery journeys into the heart of the wildebeest migration with a wildlife biologist who has been studying these African mammals for more than 50 years.

Eleven chapters and a reflective epilogue chronicle a two-week visit to Tanzania’s northern plains with a small group led by Richard Estes, “the guru of gnu.” Montgomery, who has described many remarkable scientific field trips for the Scientists in the Field series, aims this report at older readers who can take in and act on her underlying message: “Throughout the Serengeti, our kind threatens the very survival of the migration we’ve come so far to witness.” Tension heightens as the wildebeest hordes elude them for days. Finally, a dramatic car breakdown in the wilderness is followed by “immersion” in an ocean of migrating gnus—a climax that would be unbelievable in fiction. Setting this particular safari in a larger context, and heightening the suspense, are interspersed short segments about Serengeti wildlife, poachers’ snares, the role of fire, “other magnificent migrants,” and more. The overall design is inviting and appropriate to the subject. There are maps, plentiful photos of African animals, and pictures and minibiographies of Montgomery’s all-white safari companions, both American and Tanzanian. Montgomery touches on the white-directed nature of much scientific research in Africa as well as pressures from colonialism and climate change but keeps her focus tightly on the wildebeest.

A splendid wildlife adventure skillfully conveyed. (acknowledgments, selected bibliography, note on wildebeest conservation and tourism, photo credits, index) (Nonfiction. 11-adult)

Pub Date: June 11, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-76113-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2019

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Suggest to able teen readers who already have the appropriate background knowledge.

EYE OF THE STORM

NASA, DRONES, AND THE RACE TO CRACK THE HURRICANE CODE

From the Scientists in the Field series

A high-altitude drone built for the Air Force is repurposed to investigate hurricane behavior in a NASA–sponsored project headquartered at Wallops Island, Virginia.

This latest title in a long-running series looks at cutting-edge meteorological research with implications for the billions of people around the world who live in the paths of tropical cyclones. Opening with a chapter about the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, it goes on to explain hurricane formation and NASA’s Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel mission. Cherrix introduces the Global Hawk drone project and describes preparations for a sample flight over the intensifying Hurricane Edouard in 2014. Finally she shows how another tropical storm, the 1970 Bhola cyclone in the Indian Ocean, led to the creation of a new nation, Bangladesh. This is real science, which, as the author points out, takes time—time to amass and analyze data and then to submit and have it vetted before publication. But it doesn’t make for very compelling reading. Readers drawn in by the dramatic cover and opening description of a tragic teen death as a result of Hurricane Sandy may get bogged down in the scientific and engineering detail, which uses appropriate but unfamiliar technical terms and acronyms, defined in context but hard to remember. They may struggle to keep straight the many scientists involved.

Suggest to able teen readers who already have the appropriate background knowledge. (hurricane preparedness, glossary, chapter notes, index) (Nonfiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-544-41165-4

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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The author’s elegant narrative conveys how the love for these amazing creatures transcends national animosities.

THE PERFECT HORSE

THE DARING U.S. MISSION TO RESCUE THE PRICELESS STALLIONS KIDNAPPED BY THE NAZIS

A singular spotlight on the concerted World War II effort to save Lipizzaner stallions.

Letts (The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse that Inspired a Nation, 2011, etc.), a lifelong equestrienne, eloquently brings together the many facets of this unlikely, poignant story underscoring the love and respect of man for horses. The horses in question were rare Arabian thoroughbreds introduced to Europe by the Ottoman Turks in the late 17th century and subsequently bred in Poland. The Bolsheviks had slaughtered nearly the whole stock in 1917, deeming them the “playthings of princes,” though the Polish stud stable at Janów Podlaski was finally beginning to thrive again by the time of the Russian-Nazi invasion of Poland in late 1938. Two important equine sagas, handled well by the author, converge here: the German takeover of the Janów stud farm, led by German Olympic organizer Gustav Rau, in order to reassemble the Polish horse-breeding industry for the glory of the Third Reich, which desperately needed horses for mounted troops; and the attempts to save the working Lipizzaner stallions at the aristocratic Spanish Riding School in Vienna, led by Alois Podhajsky, who had won the bronze medal in dressage at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Under Rau, the stud farm was moved to Hostau, Czechoslovakia, by October 1942, and put under the care of Polish civil servant Hubert Rudofsky, who successfully increased the number of bred Lipizzaners by 1944. With Allied bombs falling on German cities, and eventually Vienna, Podhajsky determined that his horses had to be moved to safety, eventually housed in the village of St. Martin, Austria, yet the Nazi-controlled Austrian government was loathe to relinquish control of such a symbol of Austrian determination. Enter the Americans, specifically Maj. Hank Reed of the 2nd Calvary, which had traded in tanks for horses to fight the Nazis across France, and the exciting meeting of Gen. George Patton’s army at Hostau.

The author’s elegant narrative conveys how the love for these amazing creatures transcends national animosities.

Pub Date: Aug. 23, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-345-54480-3

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 25, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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