The Manatee Scientists
by Peter Lourie

Price at time of review: $18.99
80 pp.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston, MA
ISBN: 9780547152547

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

This outstanding series from Houghton Mifflin has earned a number of awards in the NSTA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book competition and this volume is no exception. Like other books in the series, it offers a cutting edge description of field research by interesting, real life researchers. The information on endangered animals provides both content and methodology to inspire tomorrow's researchers.

Manatees defy the evolutionary odds in Florida. These lumbering mammals dodge humans and their machines in the rivers and canals, clearing heavy vegetation as they contribute to the habitat of other animals.

The text and huge, detailed photographs help readers understand their life cycle, habitat, and the threats to their future survival. The strength of the "Scientists in the Field" series is its inclusion of the most modern scientific practice, related in a personal way by featured scientists. Notes about their reactions, successes, and even frustrations enhance the appeal of books in this series.

These scientists use not only traditional tracking devices but modern technologies. Detailed descriptions of species, locations, and resources add to this text. The level of reading is secondary, but the photographs and graphic layout will make the book accessible to younger readers who might browse the text first. Multicultural links make it clear that saving the manatee involves international partnerships.

Review posted on 2/15/2012

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