Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Tapir Scientist

Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop are a super team when it comes to collaborating on "Scientists in the Field" type books.  Following in the footsteps of:

  • Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot
  • Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia
  • Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea
  • The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America's Largest Mammal 
Takes the reader to an exotic destination, The Pantanal.

Quite frankly, just writing out that list of amazing nonfiction titles makes me want to be in on this "Scientists in the Field" writing team. Traveling to New Zealand, Mongolia, New Guinea and now South America for "work" doesn't sound too bad to me.  Having wild animals still roaming from prehistoric times named after you (spoiler alert), also not too shabby.

In Tapir Scientist, Sy Montgomery captures the daily trials and successes of Pati Medici and her tapir team.  Nic Bishop's photography helps the reader to feel as if they are there.  The photographs capture the landscape of the Patanal and the diverse population of wildlife besides the tapirs that are found there.  In addition to learning more (much more than I had known before) about tapirs, I learned how to properly pronounce their name.  I never thought to question my pronunciation before, pronouncing it tuh-peer when in fact, it should be pronounced tay-peer.  Good to know.  I liked reading about the length to which the veterinarians and scientists go to not stress out the animals when they are trying to collect data or radio collar the tapirs.  Interesting too was Gabriel's, the master marksman's, backstory of learning to hunt and not liking the feeling of hunting a creature, so he turned his skill to a good cause of helping to learn more about the animals and hopefully justify further conservation of their land by helping to sedate them from afar by a dart instead of having them caught in traps which can cause higher anxiety.

Tapirs are such interesting looking creatures.  So cool that they have remained unchanged since the Miocene period.  They must be doing something right if evolution hasn't touched them!  Likewise, Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop have also been doing something right to create such awesome nonfiction reads that take the reader to places they might not otherwise encounter.  Although, evidently we are all welcome to stay at the ranch.  I'm booking my flight there now.  Check it out: Baia das Pedras

The Tapir Scientist
ISBN: 978-0-547-81548-0
Published 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
I borrowed this copy from my public library to read and review.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you made it a point to talk about the team's backstory. My usual inclination is to skip over those sections, a bad habit I haven't been able to shake since my middle school days. They definitely added incredible value to the overall experience of the story.