Saturday, August 23, 2014

Summer Reading 2014 The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery


Sandra Markle has the knack for writing about scientific concepts in an enjoyable narrative. Similar to her book on the vanishing honey bees, this book tells about the little brown bats and how scientists are trying to save them. It traces the story from the first realization that something was happening to the bat populations in northeastern caves, through the investigations and testing to identify the problem, and then goes into what scientists are doing now to combat the White-Nose Syndrome. 

Each 2-page spread has either a full page illustration, or large illustrations on both pages. The photos bring the story to life and capture the reader's interest, as well as keeping the reader from being overwhelmed by nonstop text. I particularly like the map that shows where and when the WNS has been identified. It is easy to see how the problem has spread over time and readers can see if it has reached their area of the country. Other nice elements include captions for all photos, definitions of words within the text (as well as in a glossary at the back of the book), a listing of books and websites for further information, and even a list of ways to help in your area and bat conservation groups to contact.

This would be a great book for anyone interested in wildlife - either studying the animals, conservation efforts, or related scientific fields. It would also be great to use in a classroom as an example of nonfiction/informational text and all the useful text features that help readers find the facts they need (table of contents, index, etc.). It could also be used with a unit on maps and how they serve as infographics to convey various types of information. However it is used for learning or recreational reading, it will be a winner.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It will be released in stores on September 1, 2014.  In the meantime, you can check out the author's blog.

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