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Saturday, July 18, 2015

How To Save a Species, by Marilyn Baillie, Jonathan Baillie, and Ellen Butcher. Owlkids, 2014. $12.95 ages 10 and up

"All living things on Earth fit together like a giant, complex puzzle. You and I are part of this puzzle along with every animal and plant. Since our lives are intertwined, we depend on each other. Earth is healthiest and works best when we value and care for each other. In small ways, you and I can help out."

The authors concern themselves with the work already done, and future plans for the conservation of a variety of animals and plants to keep them from extinction. There have certainly been some successes: the humpback whale, and the black robin being two of them. A great deal of work was needed to bring them back from the brink. The numbers have increased; scientists only hope that the increase continues.

Using these successes as encouragement,  there is hope that the future will be brighter for other species that are in dire need of protection:

"In this book, you will have close encounters with some of the most endangered animals and plants on Earth. They are taken from the list of one hundred species identified ... "

The authors then describe the basis for their book, letting us know about the many dedicated people who work tirelessly to discover reasons for the declining numbers of so many, how they work to find out as much as they can about them, how they constantly uncover mysteries around the globe, how they make plans to ensure that what needs to be done is done. Then, we meet the species and many of the scientists whose admirable work is so important to their existence.

Each of the double page spread provides captioned photos, a notebook summary sidebar, and a short history of what has happened up until today for the species included.  We are also lucky enough, at times, to meet a scientist whose work has been instrumental in assuring a plan of action for the future of the species.

About the Tarzan's Chameleon, scientist Frank Glaw has this to say:

"Due to the severe rainforest destruction in Madagascar, the discovery of a new species often appears to be a race against their extinction. The beautiful Tarzan's chameleon is a typical but sad example of this."

In back matter, a Where on Earth? map shows each of the species highlighted in green and placed where they can be found. Each of The World's 100 Most Threatened Species is also numbered and placed on the world map. A glossary, an index and a list for further information brings this important and accessible example of exceptional nonfiction to an end.

The design of the book is striking, making it very appealing and meaningful to its target audience. Readers learn an important and serious lesson in its pages. It might just spark some students to become involved in efforts to protect these and other species around the world.

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