The Tarantula Scientist

( 11 )

Overview

A Sibert Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
A John Burroughs Nature Book for Young Readers
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A 2005 Outstanding Science Trade Book for K–12
A Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice List
 
* “Superb ...

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The Tarantula Scientist

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Overview

A Sibert Honor Book
An ALA Notable Book
A John Burroughs Nature Book for Young Readers
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A 2005 Outstanding Science Trade Book for K–12
A Kirkus Reviews Editor’s Choice List
 
* “Superb color photos abound in this spectacular series addition. . . . This is a vivid look at an enthusiastic scientist energetically and happily at work. . . . A treat, even for arachnophobes.”—School Library Journal, starred review

Describes the research that Samuel Marshall and his students are doing on tarantulas, including the largest spider on earth, the Goliath birdeating tarantula.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Montgomery's lively prose shows readers what a passion for a topic can turn into. Sam Marshall, a college biology teacher and researcher, is followed by Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop as he studies Goliath bird-eater tarantulas on the forest floor in Tresor Reserve, French Guiana. It is along way from Hiram, Ohio to South America. Without the emphasis of sidebars or headings, the text simply tells what Marshall does but the reader learns plenty about scientific procedure, patience, preparedness and the right tool (even if it is a stick or cottage cheese container), comparison by quadrant, measurement and its uses, and careful notes. Montgomery works readers through the way science classifies spiders, types of spiders, the Goliath's qualities, and what Marshall is learning. Bishop's pristine photos show close-up, and well-lit, the spider part under investigation and the way scientists sometimes look as a somewhat worn and sweaty Marshall lies in the dirt, making notes, teasing spiders out of their holes or weighing them. Invitations to readers are sprinkled through the book in the form of direct address, posing of unanswered questions, interesting speculations as to why certain spiders behave the way they do, listing other spiders that no one has studied yet, and fittingly, the book ends with one of Marshall's college students who is seen back in Ohio using the computer in her own spider studies. As in other books in the series, this one introduces us to animals, habitat, a career in the sciences, and ecology with a thoughtful note on why we would wish to preserve the habitat of these animals. End matter includes cautionary notes about handling tarantulas (preferably not at all),spider stats, spider vocabulary, "how this book was researched," bibliography, websites, how to contact spider watching sites in French Guiana, and an index. This excellent entry in the series shows just how good Montgomery and Bishop have become in the hard work of conveying information by seeming effortlessness. It is a wonderful nonfiction book, in every sense of the word. This is a volume in the "Scientists in the Field" series. 2004, Houghton Mifflin, Ages 9 to 14.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-10-Superb color photos abound in this spectacular series addition. Readers follow the career of Sam Marshall, tarantula scientist extraordinaire, from his "Spider Lab" at Hiram College in Ohio to the rain forests of French Guiana as he hunts for, finds, and studies the creatures he loves so well. The conversational text contains as much spider lore as scientific investigation and provides a cheerful look at a dedicated scientist. (The fact that he did not do well in school may encourage those late bloomers who have not yet found their passion in life or believe it to be far beyond their academic grasp.) Informative, yes, but even more important, this is a vivid look at an enthusiastic scientist energetically and happily at work, both in the field and in the lab, questioning, examining, testing, and making connections. A treat, even for arachnophobes.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sam Marshall loved animals, but disliked school-until a college research project on tarantulas made him realize that science is a process, not a set of answers. Montgomery and Bishop team up for another stellar excursion into the world of working scientists. They accompany Marshall on a research trip to the rainforests of French Guiana, and document his enthusiasm for large, hairy "spider dinosaurs" in crisp, detailed photographs and clear, lively prose. Returning with him to his Hiram College lab, filled with spiders, student researchers, and questions, they show what kind of questions scientists ask about spiders, and how they learn the answers. Montgomery has a gift for scene-setting, describing Marshall's activities in just enough detail. She deftly weaves clear explanations and comparisons into the main text (" . . . their 'skin' is called an exoskeleton, because exo-like exit-means 'outside' "). Bishop's phenomenal photos show spiders mating, shedding their skin, even leaping through the air. It's enough to make Miss Muffet fall in love. (Nonfiction. 8-14)
From the Publisher
"Montgomery has a gift for scene-setting... She deftly weaves clear explanations and comparisons into the main text... Bishop's phenomenal photos show spiders mating, shedding their skin, even leaping through the air. It's enough to make Miss Muffet fall in love." Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"...this is a vivid look at an enthusiastic scientist energetically and happily at work, both in the field and in the lab, questioning, examining, testing, and making connections. A treat, even for arachnophobes." School Library Journal, Starred

"Bishop's photographs rise magnificently to the challenge of capturing earth-toned spiders amid earth-toned jungle surroundings, bringing the critters up-close and personal and offering a few of his trademark astonishing stop-action shots... This would liven up a science curriculum no end, and it might also convince young readers to go beyond the elemental pleasures of 'Ew, gross' to the more sophisticated appreciation of 'Wow, cool.'" The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, Starred

This beautifully photographed book explains just about everything an elementary school student might want to know about this often misunderstood and maligned creature.
The Five Owls, Starred

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618915774
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/1/2007
  • Series: Scientists in the Field Series
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 484,373
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Sy Montgomery

Nic Bishop, who holds a doctorate in the biological sciences, is the photographer of many acclaimed books for children. He lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.Visit his website at: www.nicbishop.com

Nic Bishop and author Sy Montgomery won the Sibert Medal in 2011 for their collaborative work on Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot , another Scientist in the Field title.

Sy Montgomery is an author, naturalist, newspaper columnist, scriptwriter, and radio commentator who writes award-winning books for children as well as adults. She lives in Hancock, New Hampshire. Visit her website at symontgomery.com.

Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop won the Sibert Medal in 2011 for their collaborative work on Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot , another Scientist in the Field title.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview with Montgomery, she revealed a few fun anecdotes:

"My companion pig, Christopher Hogwood, age 12, lost 60 pounds on his new diet and now weighs in at a trim 690 pounds."

"My first known act of Eco-Conscience: I was sent home from kindergarten for biting a little boy who had pulled the legs off a daddy longlegs. I would do it again today."

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    1. Hometown:
      Hancock, New Hampshire
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 7, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Frankfurt, Germany
    1. Education:
      Syracuse University: B.A., Newhouse School of Public Communications, 1979; B.A., College of Arts and Sciences, 1979

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 11 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(8)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2013

    SPiDER!!

    I read this book and had bad dreams about spiders for like,two weeks and also i think the arthour is good

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    The games

    Yep i love this book-thepvpgames

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    This title

    This book is so long abd i think im going to passout

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    Spider scientist

    This book inspired me to be a spider scientist. If you like spiders, this is the book for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2011

    Best book ever!

    Thi s book was very enjoyable. I strongly recomend it

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  • Posted October 14, 2011

    Awesome

    The Tarantula Scientist by Sy Montgomery is a very interesting book. It takes you through all different type of spiders that you would not even imagine. Unlike most informational books, this book is extremely easy to follow and shows great graphics.

    If you are someone who is very interested in spiders, this is definitely the book for you. It does not even matter what age you are; you will enjoy it either way. Even if you are not a spider person you will find this novel to be quite entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2011

    Grate book

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted January 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly recommended - very interesting

    This is a fast and fascinating read. Sy Montgomery brings life, humor and fact together with her engaging conversational writing style. My only critique is that it is much too short - I yearned to learn so much more about these wonderful animals and the people who study and care for them. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004

    Amazing!

    What a great book! The text is highly readable and appealing to children without being even the least bit condescending. The pictures give me the heebie-jeebies. Big, hairy spiders creep me out. So I guess they're perfect! Younger readers will enjoy the pictures and can have the text read to them if they'll sit still long enough. Reluctant readers as old as 13 will find themselves drawn into this fascinating (and creepy) book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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