Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot

Montgomery, Sy. 2010. KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRANGEST PARROT. Photographs by Nic Bishop. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618494170 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]

Imagine a flightless parrot that is active only at night when it leaves its underground nest to forage for food on the forest floor. This parrot also weighs around 8 pounds (most parrots weigh less than 1 pound), and happens to smell like honey. These are the kakapos, the endangered birds that author Sy Montgomery traveled to a small New Zealand island to see and learn about. These once prolific birds have been reduced, at present, to fewer than 90 and are closely guarded by a team of scientists trying to save the species from extinction.

Sy Montgomery is one of the best writers of narrative nonfiction for young readers with a compelling voice that is enhanced by her passion and hands-on research. Photographs by wizard Nic Bishop document the pair’s 10-day trip to meet these whimsical birds and capture such moments as the birth of the 87th known kakapo in the world. The result is a captivating account of what scientific fieldwork looks like. Animal fans and young scientists will be drawn to the love and care poured into this book. This is the 2011 Sibert Medal winner for most distinguished informational book for children.

Include this title in a study of endangered species or a lesson on environmental conservation. Have readers devise their own methods of studying and protecting local species they find in their backyard.

Other great titles from the “Scientists in the Field” series:
Jackson, Donna M. EXTREME SCIENTISTS. ISBN 9780618777068
Montgomery, Sy. QUEST FOR THE TREE KANGAROO. ISBN 9780547248929
Turner, Pamela S. THE FROG SCIENTIST. ISBN 9780618717163

By Cecily Ponce de Leon

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