From School Library Journal
Grade 6 Up–This meticulously researched labor of love uses drama, suspense, and mystery to tell the story of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker, the first modern endangered species. Its story is also the story of America, its economics and its politics, its settlement and its development, its plume hats and its environmental protection laws. In 1800, the large and impressive woodpecker lived in the southeastern United States, from Texas to the Carolinas and as far north as Indiana. By 1937, it could be found on only one tract of land in northeastern Louisiana. Its last confirmed sighting was in Cuba in 1987. Hoose skillfully introduces each individual involved through interesting, historically accurate scenes. Readers meet John James Audubon as well as less familiar people who played a part in the Ivory-bill story as artists, collectors, ornithologists, scientists, and political activists. Sharp, clear, black-and-white archival photos and reproductions appear throughout. The author's passion for his subject and high standards for excellence result in readable, compelling nonfiction, particularly appealing to young biologists and conservationists.–Laurie von Mehren, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brecksville, OH
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Gr. 5-8. Hoose details the history of the Ivory-billed woodpecker through the lives and work of those who studied it, painted it, and tried to save it from extinction as settlers and loggers reduced its habitat. Increasingly threatened by those who would kill it for sport, for its feathers, or paradoxically because its rarity made it valuable to collectors, the woodpecker found protectors in a growing number of scientists and bird lovers who took up the challenge of observing the bird and attempting to save the dwindling species. Once a distinctive inhabitant of wilderness areas in the southeastern U.S. (with a related variety in Cuba), the Ivory bill has evidently died out as a result of loss of habitat. A great deal of original research went into the writing of this book, as evidenced in the text and the detailed, discursive source notes that are appended along with a time line and glossary. Science, economics, and social and timely political history are intertwined in this precise, chronological record. Profusely illustrated with black-and-white photos. Carolyn Phelan
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