Monday, February 23, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Chasing Cheetahs by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop

Scientists in the Field has many awesome authors and illustrators, but when you see a new collaboration from Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop you know it's going to be especially great.

This book chronicles the efforts of Laurie Marker and the Cheetah Conservation Fund to save the endangered cheetahs of Namibia. The book begins with a map locating Namibia, then introduces Laurie and several of her students as well as the ambassadors, a set of cheetahs who cannot be released into the wild and so serve as ambassadors for the CCF. After the introduction, and a page of facts about cheetahs, the book goes into more detail about Laurie Marker's life and how she came to be in charge of the CCF. Interspersed with more facts about cheetahs and history of Namibia, the book then branches into two main themes; Laurie Marker's unique efforts to conserve the cheetahs be working with local farmers, and the scientific study of cheetahs that goes on at the center.

Back matter includes a bibliography and resources, acknowledgements and index.

Of course, the book is packed with photos of adorable, awe-inspiring, and active cheetahs. There are also photos of the various people involved in the center, activities in the laboratory, and pictures of the stunning landscape and other wildlife that inhabits the area.

Verdict: This is one of the best entries in the Scientists in the Field series and one that I strongly recommend. It's a perfect blend of inspiration and science, and encourages kids to dig deeper and think about a popular topic (cheetahs). Like all the books in this series, it does a great job of showing the viewpoint of the local inhabitants and their involvement in the project. I'm sometimes sad that, although they're such great books, this series doesn't circulate as much as I wish it would - that will be no issue with this title. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9780547815497; Published 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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