Smith starts with his own early experiences as a zookeeper and the curiousity this engendered then jumps into a working definition of invasive species, specifically the ones that will be included in the book. Each chapter examines a different invasive species or collection of species. Rats get their own chapter, but there are collective chapters on birds, snakes, reptiles, and insects. Smith includes the more "controversial" creatures like domestic cats and doesn't leave out the plants and aquatic species either. Each section talks about they got here ("here" being the United States or associated areas like Guam), the harm they do, and the efforts scientists and the government are making to eradicate them. The last chapters cover invasivorism (eating invasive species), whether or not humans themselves are an invasive species, the importance of biodiversity, and a final inspiration to readers to be curious and explore the world.
There is no table of contents or index, but there is a glossary, suggested reading list, and bibliography.
Smith is, primarily, a fiction writer and his skill at telling a good story is present throughout the book with humorous or interesting anecdotes, lively descriptions of scientists' efforts, and neat packets of information, including statistics, about the invasive species. While it would be completely unreasonable to suggest that kids can combat invasive species, especially when adults and large organizations have failed, this hasn't stopped a lot of authors from including similar suggestions that kids "make a difference" and I was pleased that Smith is realistic about what any one person - or even group - can do. This is primarily an informational book, offering facts and narratives to encourage readers to continue deeper and learn more about the subject.
Verdict: Fiction authors could take lessons from the accessible length and lively storytelling of Roland Smith in this book. A great choice for nonfiction lovers and those interested in animals and science. Recommended.ISBN: 9781250762375; Published May 2023 by Laura Godwin Books; Borrowed from another library in my consortium