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The Puzzle of the Platypus: And Other Explorations of Science in Action
     

The Puzzle of the Platypus: And Other Explorations of Science in Action

by Jack Myers, John Rice (Illustrator)
 

Scientists probe eleven animal mysteries. Why do some parrots eat clay? Which elephants are the wisest? Is the platypus a bird, a mammal, or something else? In this collection of science articles from Highlights for Children magazine, teams of researchers travel the world to solve some of nature's most intriguing puzzles. One team uses a high-tech camera to find

Overview

Scientists probe eleven animal mysteries. Why do some parrots eat clay? Which elephants are the wisest? Is the platypus a bird, a mammal, or something else? In this collection of science articles from Highlights for Children magazine, teams of researchers travel the world to solve some of nature's most intriguing puzzles. One team uses a high-tech camera to find polar bear dens under the snows of Alaska. Another group teaches dolphins how to play a game in order to study their sonar. Still other teams spend years studying elephants, crows, wild horses, rattlesnakes, cliff swallows, and other animals. Full-color illustrations bring these fascinating animals to life, and Jack Myers, in his warm, personal style, re-creates the scientists' adventures in discovery. His stories are true cases of science in action—the challenging and often creative process of revealing nature's secrets. He will start young readers thinking about the many secrets that still wait to be discovered . . . maybe by them.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Eleven articles previously printed in Highlights for Children Magazine are included. Original copyright dates are not given. The articles range in length from four to six pages. Each includes at least one full-page, full-color illustration and other smaller pictures. Discovering information about polar bears was difficult at first because denning bears dig into the snow and cannot be seen. Scientists found that using infrared video cameras mounted on helicopters could solve the problem. Exploring the communication skills of dolphins was expedited with the use of sonar and echoes. When the platypus was discovered in Australia by British scientists, it defied categorization, having characteristics of both amphibians and mammals. They created a special group for "one-opening" mammals called monotremes. (The title article appears third in the book.) Other entries include wild horses, elephants, crows, parrots, honey gathering birds, bowerbirds, cliff swallows, and rattlesnakes. Each article stands alone and discusses unusual facts about the featured species. There is no unifying theme for the book. Includes a "Table of Contents," a bibliography, and an index. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6- This collection of 11 articles originally appeared in Highlights magazine during the 1990s and early 2000s. Each article tells how a scientist was able to unravel a mystery about some kind of animal. Myers's stories about dolphins, polar bears, elephants, and other animals contain many interesting scientific facts and are written in accessible and engaging prose. The book has a clean, uncluttered layout that invites consecutive reading. Most of the pages have attractive watercolor illustrations. Each article opens with a humorous picture, and more informative images and diagrams appear in the body. This is a good choice for children who can read chapter books, and who enjoy nonfiction.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590785560
Publisher:
Highlights Press
Publication date:
03/28/2008
Series:
Scientists Probe 11 Animal Mysteries Series
Pages:
64
Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 10.20(h) x 0.50(d)
Lexile:
970L (what's this?)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Jack Myers, Ph.D. (1913-2006) was the senior science editor of Highlights for Children for more than forty years. He was also a scientist at the Unversity of Texas at Austin where, at the time of his death, he was professor emeritus of zoology. HIs many science books for children include How Dogs Came from Wolves, about which the Booklist reviewe wrote, "The writing is clear and the science is explained well without being oversimplified" and the Children's Literature reviewer wrote, "The author distills complex information well."

John Rice is a wildlife artist and the illustrator of the following four books by Jack Myers: On the Trail of the Komodo Dragon, On Top of Mount Everest, What Happened to the Mammoths?, and How Dogs Came from Wolves. He lives in Mount Kisco, New York.

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