Arctic A to Z


A beautifully illustrated dictionary of 26 key aspects of life in the Arctic.

World-class photographer and science writer Wayne Lynch takes readers to one of his favorite parts of the world: the Arctic.

Using a plant, an animal or a phenomenon for each letter of the alphabet, Lynch describes the unique ways in which systems for living differ where temperature and light can be amazingly extreme. But Lynch also dispels the myth of the Arctic as a...

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A beautifully illustrated dictionary of 26 key aspects of life in the Arctic.

World-class photographer and science writer Wayne Lynch takes readers to one of his favorite parts of the world: the Arctic.

Using a plant, an animal or a phenomenon for each letter of the alphabet, Lynch describes the unique ways in which systems for living differ where temperature and light can be amazingly extreme. But Lynch also dispels the myth of the Arctic as a perpetually frozen landscape by introducing us to the birds, mammals, insects and plant life that thrive in the short yet glorious sun-filled days of summer.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Award-winning author and documentarian Wayne Lynch romps down the entire alphabet to present young Alaskan readers with an A-to-Z appreciation of their state. The science writer who gifted us with Penguins of the World has now created a Last Frontier State primer that is both educational and entertaining.
Science Books and Film - Diane M. Calabrese
An eclectic collection of stories about some of the most interesting phenomena and organisms encompassed by the arctic, the slender volume adds up to a fascinating portrait of life beyond the tree line. Accounts include those of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, and animals such as the narwhal. From eagles that follow grizzly bears to share in or steal food finds to the beluga whale that does not let a few inches of ice impede its movement, one account is as interesting as the next. The book makes ideal cozy-chair reading for an adult in the company of young children of multiple ages or for an independent young reader.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—In all three titles, each page features a different animal (or, in Arctic, a plant, a person, or a natural phenomenon)—one for each letter of the alphabet—and is comprised of one or more paragraphs of text set against the background of a sharp, full-page color photograph. Birds (mostly North American species) and Insects (worldwide species) describe the key characteristics of 26 creatures in their respective classes. Both titles have boxed inserts with the animal's scientific name, vital statistics, diet, geographical range, etc., as well as smaller photos of different species or developmental stages. Arctic briefly explains some natural features of the region, discusses the characteristics of a few typical plants, and describes the distinctive characteristics of 20 animals, highlighting the physical and/or behavioral adaptations that help them survive in the far North. The photography in all three titles is well composed and sharply focused, with a nicely varied layout from page to page. While the texts are clearly written, the amount of information provided is, of necessity, limited. Wendy Pfeffer's Arctic Frozen Reaches (Benchmark, 2002), Steve Parker's Peacocks, Penguins & Other Birds (Compass Point, 2006), and Laurence Mound's Insect (DK, 2007) have a broader scope and offer more detail on animal physiology. Still, the alphabetical format is accessible, the subjects are well chosen, and the photography is first class.—Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
This entry in a limited series that offers surveys of various topics in abecedarian form focuses on the adaptations that allow the people, animals and plants that make their home in the Arctic to survive, as well as on the natural phenomena that make this such a special place, from the Aurora Borealis to zooplankton. The strongest of the three titles, it defines new words, explains concepts and provides word pronunciations within the text, accompanied by stunning photographs. The length of each gloss-two to three densely set paragraphs-skews the book to older elementary students, but adept caregivers can make the photos work with younger audiences. Birds A to Z, by Chris G. Earley and Robert McCaw (9781554075546; PB: 9781554075003), presents a variety of North American birds and information that ranges from their songs and plumage to the food they eat and their adaptations; Stephen A. Marshall's Insects A to Z (9781554075553; PB: 9781554075034), while the most visually striking, is textually the weakest of the three. (Nonfiction. 812)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554075782
  • Publisher: Firefly Books, Limited
  • Publication date: 9/10/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,013,126
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.64 (h) x 0.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Wayne Lynch is the author of award-winning books and television documentaries, a popular guest lecturer and a well-known and widely published professional wildlife photographer. He is also the author of Bear, Bears, Bears, Penguins!, A is for Arctic and Penguins of the World.

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Aurora Borealis
Beluga Whale
Polar Bear
Under The Ice

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Every year, I travel to the Arctic for a month or more to hike on the tundra and to observe and photograph the animals and birds that live there. People are surprised when I choose to visit a place where the weather can be so cold that even in the summer, it can snow on any day. There are very few hotels and restaurants in the Arctic, and I usually have only the wind and the wildlife to keep me company. Even so, my reason for returning year after year is simple: I have traveled to every continent on Earth, and the wildlife of the Arctic excites me more than any other. In the Arctic, the sky seems to stretch forever, the cool air is delicious to breathe, and the freedom of the wild animals is fascinating to watch. For me, coming back to the Arctic is like coming back to the home of an old friend.

Before we set out on our journey north, let me begin by explaining the three different ways people describe the Arctic. You may have already read about the Arctic Circle -- an invisible line that circles the Earth's northern pole at latitude 66 degrees 32 minutes. This line marks the Arctic's southern boundary. Everything north of the Arctic Circle is part of the Arctic. In the summer in this part of the world, the sun may not set for many days in a row, which is why people sometimes call the Arctic the Land of the Midnight Sun. In the small village of Grise Fiord in northern Canada, for instance, the summertime sun does not set for 77 days in a row.

Television weather people use another way to describe the Arctic. On a map, they mark all the places where the average July temperature is just 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). They join these places together with a line and call everywhere north of this temperature line the Arctic. In North America, the line starts in northern Alaska, dips south around Hudson Bay, then curves up again to the northern tip of Labrador.

The third and most common way to describe the Arctic is with the tree line. The tree line marks the border between the northern forests and the treeless tundra. In this definition, the Arctic simply includes all the lands north of the trees. Like the 50-degree-Fahrenheit (10 degree Celsius) temperature line, the tree line starts in northern Alaska, dips south of Hudson Bay, then swings north to northern Labrador again.

Within the Arctic, there are thousands of plants, hundreds of birds and dozens of mammals which I could write about, but that would take a book much longer than this one. Instead, I'm going to tell you about the amazing animals and plants and other phenomena that exist in the wild spaces of the North.

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