Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's LiteratureAliens are not just people from other countries or creatures from outer space. They are plants and animals that come into an ecosystem from outside to upset the balance of nature. Although there have always been such changes on earth, the speed and ease of travel today makes such invasions much more frequent and likely. Batten clearly outlines several of the more drastic destructions that have occurred either by accident or on purpose in Australia, Hawaii, and here in the United States, including starlings, the gypsy moth, fire ants, killer bees, zebra mussels, caulerpa algae, kudzu, and cane toads. Plants and animals depicted are delineated along the bottoms of the pages. The final page is an appeal to readers to help protect the local habitat from invaders. Doyle's concern for natural history is made attractive in her detailed, naturalistic double-page scenes, which incorporate the alien forms into native environment. Sometimes three or more species interact, although never graphically, while kudzu is just shown inundating the landscape. The wealth of information is completed in the Glossary. 2003, Peachtree Publishers,
Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-5-This book explains the devastating effects of nonnative plant and animal species on local ecosystems. Batten covers the many different ways that alien invasions can occur, telling the stories of gypsy moths, kudzu, starlings, fire ants, zebra mussels, and many other aggressive invaders. The text ends with steps that readers can take to stop the encroachment of nonnative species. The spreads are beautifully illustrated with animals and plants that almost seem to jump off the pages. Everything depicted is labeled, and a helpful key designates which ones are native, endangered or threatened, alien, or extinct. Because it lacks the navigational tools necessary for locating information such as page numbers or an index, this book will be of limited use to researchers. Visually appealing, it should capture the interest of browsers.-Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Parma, OH Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsThe familiar starling, gypsy moth, and kudzu vine are all alien to North America, wreaking havoc on established plant and animal ecosystems and threatening biodiversity. This visually striking and readable title describes what happens to ecosystems when alien plants or animals are introduced by accident or intention. The author explains why island environments are especially vulnerable, with examples from Australia, overwhelmed with 500 million rabbits, and Hawaii, where domestic pigs damaged fern ponds producing breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Young readers may be surprised to learn that the gypsy moth was brought to North America to develop a local silk industry and Brazilian beekeepers imported African bees to improve local honeybee stock; both with disastrous results. Some species come as tagalongs: the zebra mussel, clogging the Great Lakes; fire ant, damaging crops and injuring livestock in ten southern states; and caulerpa algae, destroying sea life in the Mediterranean seabed. The examples throughout are thought-provoking, the illustrations outstanding, and the concluding words on steps to take to keep aliens out are helpful and practical. Doyle, who specializes in environmental art, provides handsome, double-paged portraits of animals both native and new to their natural habitat, using a footnote to clue readers into which are which. Fascinating. (Nonfiction. 8-12)
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