Synopses & Reviews
B95 can feel it: a stirring in his bones and feathers. Its time. Today is the day he will once again cast himself into the air, spiral upward into the clouds, and bank into the wind.
He wears a black band on his lower right leg and an orange flag on his upper left, bearing the laser inscription B95. Scientists call him the Moonbird because, in the course of his astoundingly long lifetime, this gritty, four-ounce marathoner has flown the distance to the moon—and halfway back!
B95 is a robin-sized shorebird, a red knot of the subspecies rufa. Each February he joins a flock that lifts off from Tierra del Fuego, headed for breeding grounds in the Canadian Arctic, nine thousand miles away. Late in the summer, he begins the return journey.
B95 can fly for days without eating or sleeping, but eventually he must descend to refuel and rest. However, recent changes at ancient refueling stations along his migratory circuit—changes caused mostly by human activity—have reduced the food available and made it harder for the birds to reach. And so, since 1995, when B95 was first captured and banded, the worldwide rufa population has collapsed by nearly 80 percent. Most perish somewhere along the great hemispheric circuit, but the Moonbird wings on. He has been seen as recently as November 2011, which makes him nearly twenty years old. Shaking their heads, scientists ask themselves: How can this one bird make it year after year when so many others fall?
National Book Award-winning author Phillip Hoose takes us around the hemisphere with the worlds most celebrated shorebird, showing the obstacles rufa red knots face, introducing a worldwide team of scientists and conservationists trying to save them, and offering insights about what we can do to help shorebirds before its too late. With inspiring prose, thorough research, and stirring images, Hoose explores the tragedy of extinction through the triumph of a single bird. Moonbird is one The Washington Post's Best Kids Books of 2012.
"National Book Award winner Hoose (Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice) introduces readers to the small rufa red knot shorebird known as B95, which makes an 18,000-mile migratory circuit from the bottom of the world to the top and back again each year. 'Something about this bird was exceptional; he seemed to possess some extraordinary combination of physical toughness, navigational skill, judgment, and luck,' writes Hoose. Eight chapters offer an extraordinarily detailed look at everything red knot, from a description of its migratory paths and the food found at each stopover to the physiology of its bill and factors that threaten the species with extinction. Profiles of bird scientists or activists conclude most chapters. The information-packed narrative jumps between past and present as it follows a postulated migration of B95, accompanied by numerous sidebars, diagrams, maps, and full-color photographs. Readers will appreciate Hoose's thorough approach in contextualizing this amazing, itinerant creature that was last spotted in 2011. Those motivated to action will find an appendix of ways to get involved. An index, extensive source notes, and bibliography are included. Ages 10 up. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A stunning addition to the Scientists in the Field series that explores mercury pollution found in the rivers and streams of Western Montanaand#160;that might cause harm to humans--and the extinction ofand#160;the entireand#160;ospreyand#160;species.
This meticulously researched and photographed account follows three University of Montana scientists and their interdisciplinary work with osprey: fish-catching birds with gigantic nests and a family that functions with teamwork and cooperation. Today the osprey is studied to monitor the effects of mercury on living things. The osprey hunts in a very small area around its large nest and so scientists can pinpoint where mercury is coming from. In Missoula, Montana, the scientists have been following ospreys for six years, collecting data on the amount of contaminants found on their feathers and in their blood. The rivers and streams in Western Montana are still suffering effects from inappropriate mining activities performed more than a hundred years ago. This man-made pollution is still dangerous to people and to wildlife.
Today, an ancient world is vanishing right before our eyes: the age of giant animals. Over 40,000 years ago, the earth was ruled by megafauna: mammoths and mastodons, saber-toothed tigers and giant sloths. Of course, those creatures no longer exist, due to the evolution and arrival of the wildly adaptive human species, among other factors. Many more of the worldandrsquo;s biggest and baddest creaturesandmdash;including the black rhino, the dodo, giant tortoises, and the great aukandmdash;have vanished since our world became truly global. Last of the Giants chronicles those giant animals and apex predators who have been pushed to extinction in the modern era.
In the newest addition to the ever-popular and authoritative nonfiction Scientists in the Field series, the team behindThe Frog Scientist take you on a research trip toand#160;New Caledonia in the Pacific Ocean to follow crows in aviaries and in the wild while answering many thought-provoking questions like: andquot;Can a crow outsmart a scientist?andquot; Remarkably engaging narrative nonfiction coupled with beautiful photographs, this is a tripand#160;you wonand#39;t regret booking!
About the Author
Pamela S. Turner has a masterandrsquo;s degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley, and a special interest in microbiology and epidemiology. Her articles for children and adults have appeared in numerous scientific publications.andnbsp;Her books includeandnbsp;Hachiko: The True Story of a Loyal Dog, Gorilla Doctors,andnbsp;The Frog Scientist, Dolphins of Shark Bay, and Project Seahorse.andnbsp;She lives in California.
Reading Group Guide
Music/Speaking: Research songs from different genres written about the environment, including Phillip Hooses “The Delaware Bay Blues”. Divide the class into groups. Each group analyzes its songs lyrics and techniques and prepares for and holds a class debate to argue which song is most effective in sending its message about the environment. R.1, R.4, R9, W.1, W.7, SL.1, SL.4, L.1, L.3, L.5
Writing: Read the Smithsonian Magazine article “Return of the Sandpiper” by Abigail Tucker (Oct. 2009) and the New York Times article “Casualties of Torontos Urban Skies” by Ian Austen (Oct. 2012). Watch videos from People for the ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Research how various media influence their audience. Compare and contrast these techniques with those used in MOONBIRD. Using supporting evidence, write a persuasive essay arguing which techniques are the most effective and why. R.1, R.2, R.4, R.5, R.6, R.7, R.9, R.10, W.1, W.4, W.5, W.7, SL.2, SL.3, L.1, L.2, L.5
Multimedia: Research public service announcements, videos, films, podcasts, and other media whose message it is to protect the environment. Analyze how they create their message. Divide the class into groups. Each group chooses an environmental issue and creates a multimedia presentation using similar techniques/strategies. The class debates and votes on the most affecting and effective message and shares with appropriate local officials to try to make change in environmental policies. R.3, R.4, R.6, R.7, R.8, R.9, W.1, W.6, W.7, W.10, SL.1, SL.2, SL.3, SL.4, SL.5, SL.6, L.1, L.3, L.5, L.6
Art/Photography: Teacher creates Gallery Walk in the classroom. Hang conservation photographs around the room with poster paper below each. Include photographs from MOONBIRD. Students walk around the room in groups, discuss what methods the photographer uses to move his/her audience and to convey his/her message, and jot notes onto the poster paper. After 3 minutes, the groups continue on to the next photograph and repeat. As a whole class, discuss what messages are conveyed through the photographs, and how they are most effectively communicated. R.7, SL.1, SL.6, L.1
Writing: How does Hoose make his readers care so much about B95 and the red rufas? Analyze the choices Hoose makes in his nonfiction book to open up our hearts. Find “bird‐loving pen pals” at http://www.fws.gov/sssp and explain in your letter to them 3 ways Hoose most affected you with his writing and his choices. Be sure to use specific examples. (Consider personification of B95, structure of the book, inspirational quotations opening each chapter, profiles of researchers so we get to know them as real people, photography, addressing of opposing views, connection of nature to human needs, stories about how young people can get involved, etc.) Ask your pen pals what they liked about Hooses book and look forward to them writing back! R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.5, R.6, W.2, W.4, W.5, W.9, W.10, L.1, L.2, L.3, L.5
Science/Social Advocacy: Set up a banding expedition…in your own classroom! Research the steps, tools and latest inventions used to create a successful expedition. Classroom groups may include the scientists who measure and weigh the birds, the cannon net team, volunteers who help band and transport birds, etc. Record your “findings”. Volunteer for a real banding expedition and as a class write an op‐ed piece to your school or towns newspaper highlighting knowledge learned and persuading your peers to get involved. R.10, W.1, W.2, W.4, W.5, W.7, W.10, SL.1, SL.6, L.1, L.2, L.6
Art/History/Science: Create an informational packet on the red rufas migratory circuit. Divide the class into groups. Each group researches a different stop along the circuit and creates a visual representation that informs the reader about that locations geography, climate, environmental policies, history, local industries, pollution levels, etc. and how these all play a part in the success of the red rufas. Also include information about your local birds! Look out your window: how are they different from each other and from the red rufas? What are their behaviors? Each group presents to the rest of the class. Combine each groups work to create an informational packet. Mail the packet to another school to help them learn more about the red rufas remarkable journey and your local winged friends. R.1, R.10, W.2, W.7, W.9, SL.1, SL.4, SL.6, L.1, L.6
History/Writing: What does success look like? Choose an historical figure that you view as "successful". In an essay, explain your definition of “success” and compare and contrast B95's qualities that led to his success with those of this persons from history. Use significant supporting evidence to make your argument. R.1, R.2, R.3, R.10, W.1, W.2, W.4, W.5, W.7, W.8, W.9, W.10, L.1, L.2