Monday, January 18, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: Australia's Cane Toads Overrun! by Sneed B. Collard III

Bearport publishes a lot of animal-focused nonfiction, but it's not the typical research-one-animal series. This new series focuses on invasive species and brings a new perspective, even though it addresses some animals already included in previous series.

The series includes titles on cane toads, Burmese pythons, fire ants, feral pigs, and brown tree snakes. I was sent a sample of the title focusing on cane toads. The book opens with a dramatic story of a dog poisoned by a cane toad. The story then explains how cane toads came to Australia; they were imported to feed on destructive cane beetles who were eating the sugar cane crop. Unfortunately, the toads not only didn't eat the cane beetles, they rapidly spread across Australia and became a serious issue, threatening native wildlife, poisoning domesticated animals, and generally just being gross (seriously, have you SEEN a cane toad? yech.)

The book discusses how the toads came to spread, why they're difficult to stop, and what people are trying to do to eradicate this invasive species. Back matter includes information on other invasive species of amphibians, a glossary, index, and brief bibliography and reading suggestions. Like all Bearport's high-interest titles, there is limited text at an accessible reading level, plentiful photographs, and a strong narrative that grabs the reader's interest without excessive drama.

Verdict: I'm currently looking for more basic titles on specific animals to update my animal section, so this isn't a series I'm in need of right now. However, if you're looking to update your invasive species titles or just fun animal titles, this is a good selection. Collard is a strong science writer and Bearport has put together an excellent layout of information and photographs.

ISBN: 9781627248280; Published 2015 by Bearport; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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