Saturday, October 6, 2018

Fall Reading 2018 Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill


Who would ever think that roadkill could be interesting, well - to anyone besides Granny Clampett? But the intrepid Heather L. Montgomery took the time to research, get her hands dirty (and sometimes more than her hands), and put together a fascinating look at what causes roadkill, how people are working to prevent it, how scientists are using data from it, and how some people are using the roadkill itself in various ways.

For instance, did you know that some people collect statistics on what types of roadkill are seen, how often, at what locations, even to the date and time it was seen? Then the numbers are used to help figure out what is causing the collisions between animals and vehicles. Is it low visibility? Are there food sources attracting the wildlife? Is the roadway cutting across a migration path or bisecting a habitat? Once the situation is better understood, sometime there are possible solutions put in place by helpful groups. Bridges or tunnels might give animals a safe path, fences can funnel them toward one of those paths, etc. 

But our daring author also visited museums and wildlife rehabilitation centers to see how rescued animals were cared for, or how scientists study those who were not so lucky. And she even did some study on her own - including getting covered in scent from a skunk. She also contacted individuals who donate roadkill to food banks and use it to help feed the hungry. And she visited with an artist who creates taxidermy pieces with some of the unfortunate animals.

What a weird and wonderfully informative book about a topic that is sure to lure in reluctant readers with its potential gross factor, but can also appeal to those interested in STEM topics in general. Back matter includes a list of books, videos, and Internet sites to find more information; suggestions on science projects to try; and an annotated bibliography.

Highly recommended for middle grade readers and up. I read an advance copy, but it will be released on October 16 - so everyone else doesn't have long to wait.

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