The first title, Cougar: A cat with many names, focuses mainly on the habitat and behavior of cougars with some stories of encounters and discussion of conservation efforts. It discusses the problems with their need for extensive territories and increased building in what used to be wilderness areas. There are also comparisons with similar animals, like bobcats, and details on how they raise their cubs.
Back matter includes facts about cougars, organizations that help them, a glossary, bibliography of web sources, additional titles to read, and a link to Bearport's "learn more online" feature.
I would have liked to see a little more discussion of the humans vs. cougars issues and perhaps a little more history, but this was a very interesting title with lots of photographs and age-appropriate text.
Roseate Spoonbill: Pretty in Pink has a similar format, with features on the spoonbill's life cycle, habitat, threatened status, and the scientists who study them. I felt that this one was a little better in organization. It still touches very briefly on different topics, but gives enough information that a young reader could do additional research. I also like the feature of the narrative sections being about the scientists studying the spoonbills. The chapters include biologist Jerry Lorenz' study of spoonbills, the birds' habitat, food, similar species, mating and reproduction, hatchlings, and more. There are two full-page spreads dedicated to the spoonbill's history with humans and those who have tried to protect them. The discussion of threats they face was very clear and simple, but didn't make the issues too simplistic. This book contains the same set of back matter information as the cougar title does.
Verdict: Bearport has another strong series here featuring a unique set of animals and interesting viewpoints. There's enough information for homework but also plenty of photographs and interesting facts. An excellent selection to fill in or update your animal section.
ISBN: 9781617725692; Published fall 2012 by Bearport; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to library (and other titles in series purchased for the library)
Roseate Spoonbill: Pretty in pink by Stephen Person
ISBN: 9781617725708; Published fall 2012 by Bearport; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to library (and other titles in series purchased for the library)