I have been waiting with thinly-veiled impatience for the newest Scientists in the Field book to arrive in my library system. It's finally here!
This is not just the story of an Arctic whale scientist (who just happens to be Jean Craighead George's son) it's also the story of the Inuit people who live in Barrow, Alaska, and whose lives revolve around the bowhead whales.
Peter Lourie details the everyday life of the Inuit and of John Craighead George's life as a whale scientist. We learn about the life cycle of a bowhead whale and how Inuit culture and economics are centered on these huge and fascinating creatures. We learn how "Craig" became a scientist and how he came to study whales in Alaska; a job he's been doing for twenty years. We even discover something of the way whales were studied in the past and how scientists now listen to the native peoples' insights and knowledge of the whales, built over centuries of hunting and living with these giant creatures.
And for reluctant readers, I have only one final thing to say: bloody whale eyeball the size of a softball. What more do you need?
Verdict: Highly recommended
ISBN: 978-0618777099; Published November 2009 by Houghton Mifflin; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library