The Elephant Scientist
by Caitlin O'Connell and Donna Jackson

Price at time of review: $17.99
70 pp.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Boston, MA
ISBN: 9780547053448

Grade Level: 3-5

Reviewed by CBC Reviewer

This latest entry into the "Scientists in the Field" series follows others in earning recognition as an NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Book. 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 scientists.

The secondary–level text combines detailed information about elephant structure, habitat, and behavior with fascinating information about the methods that modern scientists use to study them. The researchers use special sensing equipment, including night sensors to follow nocturnal gatherings at watering holes. Spectrograms analyze their vocalizations. As scientists discover how elephants sense others of their species from great distances through vibrations in their feet, the reader begins to appreciate the complexity of this endangered species.

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, including their successes and even frustrations. These personal stories enhance the appeal of books in this series. 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.

Review posted on 2/15/2012

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