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Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot (Scientists in the Field Series)Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery

I find it difficult to convey my enthusiasm for this book without sounding ridiculous. “It’s about these parrots! That smell like honey! And they’re almost extinct, and these people had to wait five years for a chick to hatch so they could go to New Zealand for ten days to write this book! You should totally read it.” Yeah. But that’s pretty much how I feel.

The story has a great sense of urgency, both because the parrots are so endangered (87 are living at one point during the course of the book) and because Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop had such a short window of time to do on-site research, gather observations, and take photographs (visitors are only allowed to stay on the parrots’ island for ten days). I’m not normally the type to get worked up over an endangered species, although I do believe we humans need to undo some of the damage we’ve done, but these birds were thrilling, and I give credit for my enthusiasm to Montgomery and Bishop for gripping storytelling and great photos.

As with other Scientists in the Field books, readers really get a sense of what it is that scientists do and why their jobs are important and interesting (I say this as someone who never enjoyed science class). Here, we see the dedication of the scientists (and the governmental support they receive) as well as what their day-to-day job entails. Waking up at all hours to help heat a kakapo chick? Check. Hiking through all weather to locate birds and monitor food supplies? Check. Store a dead penguin in your fridge? Check. Highly recommended for budding scientists or environmentalists, maybe fourth grade and up (that includes you, grown-ups).

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February 2019
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