Monday, January 1, 2018

Beauty and the Beak: How science, technology, and a 3D-printed beak rescued a bald eagle by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp

This unique story begins with the early days of an eaglet. Readers follow her through her first flight and leaving the nest to live on her own. Then tragedy strikes and she is shot by a hunter, shattering the upper part of her beak and damaging the side of her face. Rescued and taken to an animal rehab center, she was unable to drink, eat, or preen with her damaged beak.

Then science and technology stepped in to help. Working together, scientists managed to 3D print a beak and replace her damaged beak, enabling her to care for herself for the first time since she was shot. Beauty's story wasn't over though; she continues to live at the rehab center and requires some care but scientists are studying her slowly regenerating beak and continue to work on prosthesis for both animals and humans.

There is extensive back matter on the history of the eagle, a note from biologist Janie Veltkamp who helped write the book and works with Beauty the eagle, additional information about bald eagles, and their past endangered status and current risks and dangers. There is also a section for readers on what to do if they find an injured eagle or raptor and sources. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a spread with multiple QR apps to learn more as well as activities and ways to help birds in your own yard.

Although there is extensive text, I'd consider this in the picture book area as the story is told simply and clearly enough for a young child to read or listen to and understand. It includes enough science and technology to interest older readers as well, especially those who have an additional interest in working with wild animals. Really, you could buy two copies and put them in both places!

Verdict: An unusual subject told well and in an interesting way. A great addition to any library collection and sure to interest readers (I've already checked out a copy to my fifth graders doing nonfiction research!). Recommended.

ISBN: 9781943978281; Published 2017 by Persnickety Press; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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