by Sy Montgomery
School Library Journal (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780618494170 Gr 5-8-Take a parrot. Color it green. Give it soft, fluffy feathers, and whiskers. Give it sumo proportions and take away its power of flight. Make it nocturnal, and have it nest underground. Aha! A kakapo! Once millions of these rather affable birds waddled all over New Zealand. Reduced (at present) to fewer than 90, the kakapo have been isolated on Codfish Island (free of feral cats, weasels, and stoats-all introduced species) and are now under the strict, careful guardianship of the New Zealand National Kakapo Recovery Team. Montgomery and Bishop were granted 10 days in which to accompany members of the team (many volunteering their time and efforts) as they radio-tracked the birds night and day in their forest habitat, weighed chicks, watched nesting behavior through hidden cameras, and plowed through gale-force winds and torrential rain to monitor the well-being of their charges. Excellent photos and a readable, conversational text provide an intimate look at a concerted effort to save a drastically endangered species unfamiliar to most of the world outside Down Under. Readers who enjoyed this author/photographer team's The Tarantula Scientist (2007) or Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (2006, both Houghton) will gobble up this tribute to ecological science in action.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780618494170 *Starred Review* Montgomery and Bishop, whose highly lauded titles include two Sibert Honor Books, offer yet another winning entry in the Scientists in the Field series. This time, the intrepid duo heads to a remote island off the southern tip of New Zealand, where they join a local government-sponsored research team that is working to save the Kakapo parrot from extinction. Weighing in at nearly nine pounds, these beautiful, honey-scented, once-ubiquitous creatures, named the most wonderful of all living birds by a nineteenth-century naturalist, have become a symbol of human civilization's devastating effects on indigenous life, and the New Zealand government is directing significant resources to try to ensure the species' survival. As usual, Montgomery's delight in her subject is contagious, and throughout her enthusiastic text, she nimbly blends scientific and historical facts with immediate, sensory descriptions of fieldwork. Young readers will be fascinated by the incredible measures that the passionate workers follow to help the new birds hatch, and many will share the team's heartbreak when some chicks die. Bishop's photos of the creatures and their habitat are stunning; an awe-inspiring, closing image of the world's eighty-seventh known Kakapo emerging from its shell captures the miracle of birth, for any species. Like many of the team's previous titles, this offers excellent support for units about animal conservation.--Engberg, Gillian Copyright 2010 Booklist