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Children's LiteratureThe author has written a book on an interesting subject called cryobiology, the study of human and animal life at low temperatures. Some animals, such as bears, can live off of their body fat during a period called hibernation. A rattlesnake can hibernate up to six months and can go dormant in cold temperatures. Scientists are now studying a new field called suspended animation where a human can be put into suspended animation and awakened at a later date. This forty-eight page picture book has an introduction and six chapters on the different aspects of cryobiology. Chapter one, called "Life on Ice," explains the meaning of cryobiology. Chapter two looks at the possibilities that this field offers. Humans can not hibernate, but scientists are learning about hibernation from studying animals. Chapter three takes a look at how animals go into a frozen state and then emerge from this state, unharmed. The wood frog is an example. A frog can hibernate for the winter by naturally freezing and then thawing itself. Ladybugs, squirrels, and birds can also lower their body temperatures and survive a cold winter. Humans cannot do this without damaging their bodies. They need to keep their body temperatures warm through the use of clothing, heat, and protected exposure to long periods of freezing temperatures. Scientists are experimenting with cryonics, the term for freezing people who have died from some illness. The hope is that they can be revived some day when cures for their illnesses have been found. At the moment, cryobiology is in its early stages, but advances have been made. Although suspended animation is not a reality now, it may be someday when the questions about dormancy are answered.Color photographs are included, as well as a glossary, bibliography, and further reading and website suggestions. 2006, Lerner Publications Company, Ages 8 up.
—Della A. Yannuzzi