The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammalby Sy Montgomery, Nic Bishop
If you’ve never seen a lowland tapir, you’re not alone. Most of the people who live near tapir habitat in Brazil’s vast Pantanal (“the Everglades on steroids”) haven’t seen the elusive snorkel-snouted mammal, either. In this arresting nonfiction picture book, Sibert winners Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop join a tapir-finding… See more details below
If you’ve never seen a lowland tapir, you’re not alone. Most of the people who live near tapir habitat in Brazil’s vast Pantanal (“the Everglades on steroids”) haven’t seen the elusive snorkel-snouted mammal, either. In this arresting nonfiction picture book, Sibert winners Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop join a tapir-finding expedition led by the Brazilian field scientist Pati Medici. Aspiring scientists will love the immediate, often humorous “you are there” descriptions of fieldwork, and gadget lovers will revel in the high-tech science at play, from microchips to the camera traps that capture the “soap opera” of tapir life.
Pair this with other intriguing stories of real-world science, at www.sciencemeetsadventure.com.
Gr 5–10—In this addition to the series, readers join Pati Medici and her team in their quest to study tapirs in the world's largest wetland, the Pantanal Wetlands of Brazil. Although its appearance may lead some to suppose that the tapir falls somewhere near elephants or hippopotami in the family tree, this flexible-snouted, hoof-toed tropical creature is most closely related to rhinoceroses and horses. Medici has dubbed the tapir "the gardener of the forest" for its critical role in maintaining foliage by ingesting fruits and excreting the seeds elsewhere, but little else is known about this vanishing species. By observing and trapping the animals to outfit them with radio collars or microchips and collect samples including blood and ticks from infestations, Medici's team hopes to better understand their lifestyles to enhance conservation efforts. Although in-text pronunciation guides are included for some Portuguese names and select scientific terminology is explained, no glossary is provided, and many of the exotic birds discussed are not shown. Following each chapter are several pages of related information with text and photographs placed on top of a marbled background with shadows that can make the text difficult to read in some places. A list of several websites and YouTube videos is included, and the index differentiates between text and photographic references. Bishop's captivating photographs, paired with Montgomery's narrative, not only call attention to a lesser-known endangered species, but also expose readers to the working conditions, obstacles, and emotions experienced by passionate scientists in the field.—Meaghan Darling, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Chapters about the team's day-by-day experiences, written in a lively, first-person voice, include memorable detail. . . A splendid addition to an exemplary series."
—Kirkus, starred review
"This contribution to the Scientists in the Field series seamlessly blends eloquent text and vivid images to spotlight the gentle tapir and those field scientists whose lives are committed to conserve animal species for the sake of our environment and our humanity."
—Booklist, starred review
"Bishop's captivating photographs, paired with Montgomery's narrative, not only call attention to a lesser-known endangered species, but also expose readers to the working conditions, obstacles, and emotions experienced by passionate scientists in the field."
—School Library Journal, starred review
"[The book] offers a clear-eyed picture of the challenges and the joys of pioneering fieldwork."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Montgomery's dramatic account of tracking the elusive animals is interspersed with scientific information about the various tapir species, samples of Medici's data on tapir movements, explanations of the technologies used in the research, and discussions of Brazilian ranching culture."
—The Horn Book Magazine
Meet the Author
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.
- Hancock, New Hampshire
- Date of Birth:
- February 7, 1958
- Place of Birth:
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Syracuse University: B.A., Newhouse School of Public Communications, 1979; B.A., College of Arts and Sciences, 1979
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