Nonfiction Monday: The Manatee Scientists by Peter Lourie
The Manatee Scientists follows the work of two groups of scientists; one tracing the movements and numbers of manatees in Florida, the others researching the elusive manatees in the Amazon river. As Lourie discusses the scientist's work and interviews them on their progress and goals, he includes their thoughts and his own researches on conservation and the efforts needed to preserve an endangered species.
This addition to the Scientists in the Field series contains a lot of interesting information and is nicely put together, but it doesn't quite come up to the high standard of some of the other titles. I think the problem is there are too many topics - the more easily studied Florida manatees, the Amazonian manatees where research is just beginning, and the vast topic of conservation and the fight to save endangered species.
I think the book would have been improved if it had focused on the Amazonian manatees, which was the bulk of the book anyways. The connection between preservation of endangered species and working with native populations is one of the things I find fascinating about many titles in the series and I would have liked to see this explored further.
Verdict: Although not the best of the series, still a strong entry and manatees are a popular topic. I would recommend having this title for older kids and Nat'l Geographic's Face to Face with Manatees for younger readers.
ISBN: 9780547152547; Published April 2011 by Houghton Mifflin; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library