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Children's LiteratureThis volume, one of a series by the senior science editor of Highlights, collects twelve of his articles about animal discoveries that originally appeared in the magazine. Each chapter is based on a book or report published in a scientific journal by researchers in the field. The author distills complex information well for middle grade readers and often provides excellent detail about chemical reactions using simple language. Animals discussed in this volume include elephants, dogs, whales, common wild birds, puffins, albatrosses, ants, seals, and fish. Each chapter takes a refreshing, conceptual look at its subject and ties that in to a scientific study. For example, the chapter "How Birds Hatch Their Eggs" discusses the work of scientists who placed small thermometers in the nests of weaverbirds in a Los Angeles aviary in order to record the temperature of the eggs when the parent bird was on the nest, when the parent flew away, and the discovery that, despite the parent's need to leave the nest sometimes, egg temperatures were held almost steady. This particular volume concludes with three related chapters about fish: how fish manage to live in Antarctic Ocean water temperatures without freezing; how cold-blooded fish everywhere manage to keep warm; and fish which have bodies capable of creating electric fields. Although there is no single theme to the book, aside from the amazing diversity of the animal world and the remarkable research going on about animals, the diversity of species represented here is stimulating, and the author's curiosity and genuine appreciation for his subjects is inspiring. 2004 (orig. 2001), Boyds Mills Press, Ages 8 to 12.
—J. H. Diehl