These brief glimpses will whet the appetites of wannabe wanderers of all ages.

HOW TO BABYSIT A LEOPARD

AND OTHER TRUE STORIES FROM OUR TRAVELS ACROSS SIX CONTINENTS

A husband-and-wife team, seasoned travelers, artists, and children’s-book creators, offer readers a selection of highlights from 40 years of careful observation of the natural and human worlds in places near and far.

Since the publication of Gorilla Walk in 1999, the Lewins have produced numerous titles reflecting specific adventures, but this is the first joint compilation of their travel experiences. Working continent by continent and beginning with their first safari to the Serengeti, they recount their adventures as if they were conversing with readers; sometimes one talks, sometimes the other. Some anecdotes are humorous and others sobering, especially as they note the effects of 30 years of civil war in Uganda or contrast the experience of a sloth bear in the wild with that of a captive dancing on the street near Delhi. There are scary encounters with lions, elephants, snakes, leeches, and a sharp-billed macaw—not to mention soldiers. There are curious foods—mopani worms and mushrooms the size of pizzas. They travel by horse cart and reindeer sledge and atop an elephant. They admire French bullfighters and Mongolian wrestlers and horses everywhere. They marvel, too, at spectacles close to home: a cattle roundup in Nevada, horseshoe crabs massed on the Delaware shore.

These brief glimpses will whet the appetites of wannabe wanderers of all ages. (Nonfiction. 8 & up)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-59643-616-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2015

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An appealing, elegantly designed introduction to another much-maligned species.

THE HYENA SCIENTIST

From the Scientists in the Field series

A practiced and proficient team returns to the African plains to visit a field camp in Masai Mara, Kenya, where zoologist Kay Holekamp has been studying spotted hyenas for 30 years.

This surprisingly engaging title introduces a species whose bad reputation is nearly universal. Holekamp disagrees. Her study of eight generations of hyenas has revealed the spotted hyena to be “an unexpectedly brave, smart, and extremely social species” as well as the “most formidable carnivore in Africa.” During their 10-day visit, Montgomery and Bishop go with the researchers for morning and evening observations, watch one sedate a young male with a dart gun so all can take measurements and specimens, see a skirmish in a war between rival factions of the large Talek West hyena clan, and, during a downpour, when flood threatens, help evacuate precious specimens and equipment. Montgomery’s graceful prose draws readers into the experience with clear explanations and vivid description. Bishop’s striking photographs show off the doglike hyenas’ furry cuteness. He includes close-ups of cubs at play and rest, researchers at work, and adult hyenas interacting with one another, as well as tent scenes, other wildlife, and the always-impressive scenery. Readers may be inspired by the stories of the white scientist’s diverse team of assistants: a retired medical social worker, U.S. graduate students, and a young Kenyan who hopes to study in the U.S.

An appealing, elegantly designed introduction to another much-maligned species. (fast facts, bibliography, acknowledgements, index) (Nonfiction. 10-15)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-63511-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library.

FOLLOW THOSE ZEBRAS

SOLVING A MIGRATION MYSTERY

From the Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries series

Scientists solve the mystery of a disappearing zebra herd.

A herd of plains zebra regularly vanishes from the Chobe River flood plains in Namibia and Botswana during the dry season, but until Robin Naidoo and other scientists fitted some of these animals with GPS trackers, no one knew where they went or why. Markle (The Great Shark Rescue, 2019, etc.) ably describes the species, its habitat in the Serengeti Plain, the phenomenon of migration, the science research, and its surprising results: a “record-holding zebra migration” to the grasses in Botswana’s Nxai Pan National Park, which have extra nutrients for the mares and the foals they bear there. Her clear explanations are accompanied by well-chosen and informatively captioned photographs from a variety of sources. The lively design includes a striking zebra-coat background surrounding boxes with additional information and images. Maps help American readers locate this migration in southern Africa. One that includes the tracked migration routes of eight females demonstrates the astonishing directness of the 155-mile journey undertaken by seven (the meandering route taken by the eighth is unexplained). The author concludes with concerns about the possible effects of the changing climate and how conservation groups are planning to help the zebras so that they can continue to travel unimpeded and find water on their way.

A hopeful and helpful addition to any nature library. (author’s note, fast facts, glossary, source notes, further reading, index) (Nonfiction. 8-11)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-3837-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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