Anyways, I really like the way Markle frames her scientific nonfiction as mystery investigations. It definitely catches kids' attention and makes them easier to booktalk too!
The story focuses on the research led by Kristofer Helgen. Beginning with his studies of olingos in the Smithsonian National Museum of National History, Helgen noticed that not all the stuffed specimens matched. This led to many years of research, in museums around the world, in zoos, and in the wild in Central and South America. The initial paper of his team's discovery of a new species, the olinguito, was prepared in 2006 - and rejected for lack of evidence. But Helgen wasn't discouraged - he continued to research the olinguito along with his team of scientists. Finally, in 2013, the discovery of the olinguito was officially announced. A new species had been discovered!
Throughout the book Markle includes information about the raccoon family, to which the olinguito belongs, as well as information about the scientific process and how researchers work to identify new species. There's also the history of earlier expeditions to Central and South America and how researchers use that evidence and the knowledge of local inhabitants in their research. Back matter includes questions to inspire readers to be "science detectives", source notes, glossary, and further information.
Verdict: Another excellent science mystery from Sandra Markle. A great resource for classrooms and a fun read for kids interested in science and animals.
ISBN: 9781512410150; Published 2017 by Millbrook Press/Lerner; Borrowed from another library in my consortium