Series Stars – Scientists in the Field

Nonfiction MondayCindy and Lynn: Bookends thanks Nonfiction Monday for allowing us to host this week. On Mondays, many bloggers in the kidlitosphere review stellar nonfiction titles for children and teens. Bookmark the Nonfiction Monday website so you can find each Monday’s host, or volunteer to host yourself. Any bloggers who have a Nonfiction Monday post for today should leave a comment below and we’ll compile the links throughout the day and add them at the bottom of our review. Welcome readers who are new to Bookends! We usually provide dueling opinions about the same title, but today we are reviewing books from the same series. Enjoy!

Lynn: I’m sure most of you out there in the ether know about this outstanding series, but three new entries in the Scientists in the Field series this year were so wonderful that we wanted to do some gushing anyway. This series focuses on individual scientists, discusses their work and examines what it really means to be a working scientist. Fascinating topics, stellar writing and stunning photography have been constants in every book in the series, making them terrific choices for any collection. What I’ve liked best however is the underlying message that being a scientist can be exciting, rewarding and totally cool.

33148964Extreme Scientists: Exploring Nature’s Mysteries from Perilous Places by Donna M. Jackson (Houghton, 2009) profiles three scientists whose research places them in extremely hazardous situations. Paul Flaherty is a meteorologist who flies into hurricanes, Hazel Barton, a biologist, studies the microbes called extremophiles that live in dark caves and Stephen Sillett is an ecologist who studies life at the very top of the world’s tallest trees. Each section examines not only the scientists’ work but also their childhood interests and the education that led to their often dangerous research. A series of “Quick Questions” to the scientist follow each section and an extensive list of resources, and terms is included. The accompanying illustrations are terrific including family snapshots and absolutely gorgeous photographs of the researchers on location.

35365204Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia (Houghton 2009) by Sy Montgomery. Imagine trekking through one of the most rugged, physically challenging places on the planet and rarely seeing the elusive creatures you are researching! The beautiful snow leopard is such a camouflage expert that even scientists armed with radio technology walk within feet of the tagged animals and never see them. It takes a special scientist to persevere and Tom McCarthy is clearly exceptionally dedicated. A nonfiction dream team of Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop spent three brutal weeks in Mongolia with McCarthy and his research group and never saw a single snow leopard. So how good can a book about such an expedition be? Fabulous – trust me! Montgomery tells a fascinating story about McCarthy’s research process, past encounters with the beautiful creatures and his efforts to save them from extinction. The text is lively and informative, packed with intriguing anecdotes about McCarthy’s research and the realities of working in such a remote place. Nic Bishop’s photography is stunning as always, gifting us with a sense of actually seeing the place, its people and rare animals. Additional resources are available on listed websites and of special interest are the author’s and photographer’s notes. Sy Montgomery says, “my big problem was trying not to fall off the mountain.” Thank goodness she didn’t! This awesome book is a treasure for readers of all ages.

frog-scientistCindy: Everything about this series is awesome for the reasons Lynn explained above. I read The Frog Scientist (Houghton, 2009) by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins. This one features amphibian researcher, Tyrone Hayes, who grew up in South Carolina catching frogs in the local waters. He applied to one college, Harvard, after hearing it mentioned on the Green Acres television show. He struggled with grades there, but graduated with honors after he got involved with real research. He later went to Berkley for grad school and now takes students under his wing, even struggling ones, as long as they are “reliable, persistent, and enthusiastic.” The research described in this book centers on his work to save the dwindling amphibian population by testing a group of juvenile leopard frogs from a pond in Wyoming. Nearly one third of the world’s amphibians are endangered, and one potential cause is the use of the popular pesticide atrazine. The process begins with a hypothesis and the conducting of a blind experiment using a manipulated variable and a responding variable and a control group. Readers won’t be confused because the process is carefully explained. The male frogs exposed to atrazine have a high rate of feminization (the males develop eggs in their testes instead of sperm). Tyrone and his lab workers spend long hours doing meticulous work to ensure the validity of the tests but they have fun, too. Tyrone even explains the meaning behind each of his four piercings that stand for: independence, persistence, prudence, and balance. This series provides career information that will spark ideas with budding young scientists. The stars and awards these books pick up are well deserved. Even the back end flap was awesome. Frog puns abound in the bios and the photos of the author and illustrator are a keyboard and a camera with frogs prominently perched. 🙂

Nonfiction Monday Posts:

100 Scope Notes is first in with a post about National Geographic’s How To Get Rich on the Oregon Trail by Tod Olson.

In Need of Chocolate has a post about Awesome Ocean Science.

Here is a first time Nonfiction Monday post from Hope is the Word.

Bookish Blather chimes in with Equal: Women Reshape American Law.

Wild About Nature reviews a new series from Lerner-Lightning Bolt Books, Meet the Animal Groups.

Sally Walker’s Written in Bone is reviewed in Semicolon.

Practically Paradise reviews Portuguese Man of War: Floating Misery.

Mission Control, This is Apollo by Andrew Chaiken comes to us from Abby the Librarian.

Liz Burns at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy gives us nice overview of Nonfiction Monday.

Jean Little Library talks about two great books about mosquitoes.

10 Things I Can Do to Help My World is reviewed in The Art of Irreverence.

Lori Calabrese Writes! checks in with a post on The Time for Kids United States Atlas.

BookKnosher sends a review of Bubble Homes and Fish Farts.

Take a look at the review of Plant Secrets on SimplyScience today.

Katie’s Literature Lounge celebrates Deaf Awareness week in her post.

The Reading Tub blogs about two biographies, Bad News for Outlaws and Keep On!

Anastasia Suen sends The Secret World of Walter Anderson from Picture Book of the Day. Thanks for letting us host, Anastasia!

Miniature Horses is reviewed today on MotherReader.

Wendie’s Wanderings discusses Life in a Coral Reef.

Fuse #8 Production stops in with a post on Never Smile at a Monkey.

Flags of the World is featured on A Patchwork of Books.

Kid’s Lit features Yellowstone Moran:  Painting the American West.

Check It Out reviews Night Sky.

Another first time Nonfiction Monday blogger, Quiverfull Family writes about a beginning reader, Slinky, Scaly Snakes.

Wrapped in Foil outlines the exciting activities for the upcoming release of Winter’s Tale: How One Little Dolphin Learned to Swim Again.

Saving Birds is the post by first time participant Bri Meets Books. We’re thrilled to have so many newbies joining the informational fun today!



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

28 Comments on "Series Stars – Scientists in the Field"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. I reviewed an older book today. This is my first time to participate, so I hope that’s okay!

  2.' Angela says:

    I love Non Fiction Mondays! I reviewed “Equal: Women Reshape American Law”

  3.' Kim says:

    Kim from the wild About Nature blog reviews a new series from Lerner’s Lightning Bolt Books. The series is titled Meet the Animal Groups. Read more here

    Thank you for hosting this week!

  4.' Sherry says:

    Hi! It’s my first time to visit youor blog and my first time to participate in Nonfiction Monday. My book is Written in Bone by Sally M. Walker.

  5.' Diane R Chen says:

    I reviewed Bearport’s Afraid of the Water series on SLJ’s Practically Paradise today including the title Portuguese Man-Of-War: Floating Misery

  6.' Abby says:

    Happy Monday! At Abby (the) Librarian, I reviewed “Mission Control, This is Apollo”

    Thanks for hosting!

  7.' Liz B says:

    I’m not sure if you want to include mine or not; I do a bit of a recap of what NF Monday is.

  8.' Jennifer says:

    I’ve reviewed two books on mosquitoes and added some discussion about collection development. Really, it fits together.

  9.' Amy Graves says:

    The Art of Irreverence has “10 Things I Can Do to Help My World” by Melanie Walsh: Thanks!

  10. I was aware of ‘Saving the Ghost of the Mountain’, but the other books sound intriguing as well. Thanks for the heads up!

    Lori Calabrese Writes! takes a look at the Time for Kids U.S. Atlas. The days of boring maps are long gone!


  11.' Robin Gaphni says:

    Thanks for hosting Nonfiction Monday. Today I reviewed Bubble Homes and Fish Farts:

  12.' Shirley Duke says:

    Shirley at SimplyScience has Plant Secrets by Emily Goodman.

    Thanks for hosting.

  13.' Katie says:

    Katie’s Literature Lounge is featuring non-fiction books on the topic of deafness, as this week, now through September 27 is Deaf Awareness Week.

  14. Thanks for hosting Lynn and Cindy. Here’s a link to two nonfiction picture book biographies: Bad News for Outlaws (Bass Reeves) and Keep On! (Matthew Henson)

  15. Thanks for hosting today! I have The Secret World of Walter Anderson by Hester Bass (Author) and E.B. Lewis (Illustrator)

  16.' MotherReader says:

    MotherReader has a title from Bearport Publishing – Miniature Horses.

    Thanks for hosting!

  17. I have a review up of Flags of the World. Thanks for hosting!

    A Patchwork of Books

  18.' Tasha says:

    Just posted a review of Yellowstone Moran by Lita Judge on my Kids Lit blog:

  19.' Jone says:

    I am reviewing Night Sky by Tammi Salzano and tying it in with a fiction book I recently read. Thanks for hosting.

  20. This is my first time here at Nonfiction Monday, but I happen to have a review of Slinky Scaly Snakes – a DK Level 2 Reader (factual info about snakes!) up today here:

    Thanks for hosting!

  21.' Roberta says:


    Just wanted everyone to know about the exciting activities surrounding the release of Winter’s Tail at

    Thanks for hosting. I know I’m a bit late, have an injured thumb…

  22. I’m doing this for the first time with Saving Birds.

    Thanks for hosting!

Post a Comment