Friday, May 18, 2012

Mysteries of the Komodo Dragon by Marty Crump

This review could be subtitled: Why backlists are cool! I discovered this book over a year after it had been published, and then it sat in my to review pile for another year after that - but it is still AMAZING. The giant grotesque lizards! The dead rats! Fifteen year olds playing with giant lizards!

There are several threads woven into this nonfiction title. There are the facts and life of Komodo dragons, there is the research of the Auffenberg family in 1969, and there is the current study of these fascinating reptiles.

From 1969 to 1970, the Auffenbergs, including their fifteen year old son Kurt and a university student from Bali, Putra Sastrawan, studied Komodo dragons. The story leads up to the Auffenbergs' research with the history of dragon study until they became endangered in the  1960s. But the study of Komodo dragons isn't finished; new, amazing facts and abilities came to light in the 1990s and in 2006 and scientists and zookeepers are learning more every day about these strange reptiles.

Additional information includes brief facts about Indonesia, the Komodo dragon life cycle, sense of smell, conservation status, and the Komodo Survival Program. There is an extensive bibliography, glossary, further reading, and index.

Verdict: This book may be a few years old, but it's fresh and new! Kids will be awed by the amazing facts and photos and the text is simple enough for most middle grade readers. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781590787571; Published October 2010 by Boyds Mills Press; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library

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