Survival at 120 Above

Overview

After exploring one of the coldest places on Earth, Debbie S. Miller travels to one of the hottest places, to introduce readers to the variety of animals who call the desert home and show the ways they have adapted to survive temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Creatures such as the sand goanna and red kangaroo have fascinating and unique coping mechanisms for keeping it cool at these extreme temperatures. Miller's expert research and accessible writing will captivate readers as Jon Van Zyle's signature ...

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Overview

After exploring one of the coldest places on Earth, Debbie S. Miller travels to one of the hottest places, to introduce readers to the variety of animals who call the desert home and show the ways they have adapted to survive temperatures as high as 120 degrees. Creatures such as the sand goanna and red kangaroo have fascinating and unique coping mechanisms for keeping it cool at these extreme temperatures. Miller's expert research and accessible writing will captivate readers as Jon Van Zyle's signature illustrations beautifully depict these animals and their desert habitat.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a fascinating companion to Survival at 40 Below (2010), readers visit Australia’s Simpson Desert, spending a day (and night) with the animals that can tolerate its punishing temperatures. Readers may be familiar with emus, red kangaroos, and skinks, but plenty of creatures—mulgaras, dunnarts, thorny devils—will be new to adults and children alike. Miller’s prose incorporates significant detail about each animal’s habits without sacrificing lyricism (“Filling her throat pouch with air, a female emu makes a drumming sound as she strides across the open woodland. She smells water”). Equally evocative are Van Zyle’s acrylic paintings, drawn from photographs Miller took on a trip to the desert. Ages 7–10. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Animals and plants in Australia's Simpson Desert have made remarkable adaptations in order to survive in that brutally arid wasteland. After rainfall ends a seven-year drought, this hostile environment teems with life. Seedlings and animals that have lain dormant for years come alive, and many animals emerge from cooler hiding places seeking prey and newly formed bodies of water. The author records a day in the life of the desert as birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and plants revel in the glory of water and relative coolness of the world's longest parallel sand dunes. Well and clearly written, the book introduces young readers to many animals children have likely never seen nor heard of and helps them understand the fascinating ways in which animals and other life-forms have adapted to this extreme climate. Helpful pronunciation guides are incorporated within the text. Van Zyle's acrylic paintings, while realistic, are only serviceable. They lack a sense of movement and real drama, though the artwork does present readers with a good idea of the scale and wonderful colors of the red desert landscape. The book might have benefited from the photographs Miller took on her three-week field trip to Simpson with a scientific team from the University of Sydney. Enjoyable, interesting reading for animal lovers and browsers alike. (author's note, glossary, temperature chart, bibliography of books and websites, maps) (Informational picture book. 7-10)
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5—Miller's brief but informative white-lettered text floats on Van Zyle's vivid, realistic illustrations in this look at the flora and fauna of the Simpson Desert in the hot, arid heart of the Australian outback. Goannas, thorny devils, emus, kangaroos, blue-tailed skinks, and other critters pop in and out of readers' vision, accompanied by interesting snippets of information (a ningaui "weighs as little as six paper clips" and hunts for beetles and spiders). Visited by a sudden downpour, cracked claypans turn into swampy ponds, allowing dormant eggs and seeds to develop and estivating animals to emerge from a twilight existence. Miller includes an extensive note about her visit to a research site with scientists from the University of Sydney and a brief list of websites and books for further investigation. Maps of Australia and the Simpson Desert decorate the end panels. A companion volume to Miller and Van Zyle's equally handsome look at the other end of Earth's thermostat, Survival at 40 Below (Walker, 2010), this is a nifty look at some very unusual adaptations to an extreme climate. Eye-catching and inviting.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802798138
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 7/17/2012
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 832,180
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

DEBBIE S. MILLER is the author of Survival at 40 Below, an NTSA/CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book; Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights; The Great Serum Race; and Big Alaska. www.debbiemilleralaska.com

JON VAN ZYLE is a noted children’s book illustrator and the official artist of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. His recent books include Survival at 40 Below, The Great Serum Race¸ and Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights. www.jonvanzyle.com

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