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Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World's Strangest Parrot (Scientists in the Field Series) Hardcover – May 24, 2010

27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 5–8—Take a parrot. Color it green. Give it soft, fluffy feathers, and whiskers. Give it sumo proportions and take away its power of flight. Make it nocturnal, and have it nest underground. Aha! A kakapo! Once millions of these rather affable birds waddled all over New Zealand. Reduced (at present) to fewer than 90, the kakapo have been isolated on Codfish Island (free of feral cats, weasels, and stoats—all introduced species) and are now under the strict, careful guardianship of the New Zealand National Kakapo Recovery Team. Montgomery and Bishop were granted 10 days in which to accompany members of the team (many volunteering their time and efforts) as they radio-tracked the birds night and day in their forest habitat, weighed chicks, watched nesting behavior through hidden cameras, and plowed through gale-force winds and torrential rain to monitor the well-being of their charges. Excellent photos and a readable, conversational text provide an intimate look at a concerted effort to save a drastically endangered species unfamiliar to most of the world outside Down Under. Readers who enjoyed this author/photographer team's The Tarantula Scientist (2007) or Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (2006, both Houghton) will gobble up this tribute to ecological science in action.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
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From Booklist

*Starred Review* Montgomery and Bishop, whose highly lauded titles include two Sibert Honor Books, offer yet another winning entry in the Scientists in the Field series. This time, the intrepid duo heads to a remote island off the southern tip of New Zealand, where they join a local government-sponsored research team that is working to save the Kakapo parrot from extinction. Weighing in at nearly nine pounds, these beautiful, honey-scented, once-ubiquitous creatures, named “the most wonderful of all living birds” by a nineteenth-century naturalist, have become a symbol of human civilization's devastating effects on indigenous life, and the New Zealand government is directing significant resources to try to ensure the species' survival. As usual, Montgomery's delight in her subject is contagious, and throughout her enthusiastic text, she nimbly blends scientific and historical facts with immediate, sensory descriptions of fieldwork. Young readers will be fascinated by the incredible measures that the passionate workers follow to help the new birds hatch, and many will share the team's heartbreak when some chicks die. Bishop's photos of the creatures and their habitat are stunning; an awe-inspiring, closing image of the world's eighty-seventh known Kakapo emerging from its shell captures the miracle of birth, for any species. Like many of the team's previous titles, this offers excellent support for units about animal conservation. Grades 4-7. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Series: Scientists in the Field Series
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618494170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618494170
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #396,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"Part Emily Dickinson, part Indiana Jones," as the Boston Globe has called her, Sy Montgomery has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Zaire and swum with piranhas and pink dolphins in the Amazon. To research her books, films and articles, she has worked in a pit swarming with 18,000 snakes in Canada and been hunted by a tiger in India. She has hiked the Altai Mountains of Mongolia's Gobi desert in search of snow leopards and penetrated the cloud forests of Papua New Guinea to radio collar tree kangaroos. No place is too far to go to bring animals' true stories to adults and children around the world.

Th author of the national bestseller, The Good Good Pig, as well as 15 other celebrated nonfiction books, Montgomery writes for print as well as broadcast in an effort to reach as wide an audience as possible at what she considers a critical turning point in human history. "We are on the cusp of either destroying this sweet, green Earth or revolutionizing the way we understand the rest of animate creation," she says. "It's an important time to be writing about the connections we share with our fellow creatures. It's a great time to be alive."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover
It's a flightless parrot with a down turned beak that looks like it belongs on an owl. The unbirdlike face whiskers help it get around in the dark when it's feeding. Weighing up to nine pounds, this is the world's heaviest parrot, one that doesn't talk but rather growls or booms or chings. It reaches treetops by climbing and has feathers that smell like honey. Yes, the kakapo may indeed be the world's strangest bird living in a land like no other place on Earth.

Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop have collaborated to produce a book with appeal for all ages. Nine-year-olds will love the awesome photos accompanied by interesting text, while older and more able readers will find be entranced by the fascinating text accompanied by fabulous photographs.

Kakapo Rescue is a celebration of the resurgence of the kakapo population, once numbering in the millions. With generous worldwide donations, dedicated volunteers devote themselves to ensuring the survival of the extant birds, less than a hundred of them thriving on remote Codfish Island.

The kakapo is a wondrous bird living in an otherworldly location protected from the clumsy hands of human interlopers. Its story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. This reader, many generations removed from middle school, enjoyed this book immensely.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Smith's Rock on December 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The child in me (my wife says that aspect of me never became "inner") was entranced by this book. Nine pound flightless parrots that smell like honey, play peek-a-boo with humans, and growl like puppies? Adult or child, one wants to know more!

In simple, and yes, somewhat childlike language, this book details a story that has happened many thousands of times in recent centuries: A prevalent animal or plant species encounters humans and the animals that accompany us (dogs, cats, rats) and is subsequently reduced to extinction, or near extinction. The beauty and intelligence of the Kakapo make their story more poignant, but no more tragic than countless other similar tales. What is powerful about Kakapo Rescue is the fusion of breath-taking photography and the careful, non-judgmental telling of the impact our human presence has had on other living beings. Young and old readers are invited to contemplate how once thriving species (whales, passenger pigeons, kakapo) can be moved from almost innumerable abundance to catastrophic reduction by human action, AND they are invited to contemplate how dedicated, skillful, and committed humans can begin to undo the harm that has been done. The story of individuals, governments, and corporations banding together to nurture a devastated species toward recovery is powerfully hopeful. Regardless of age, a message of hope sometimes seems more a call to action than repeated and relentless tolling of disaster.

Dr.Suess attempted to tell the story of our human impact on the Earth to children and adults in whimsical form; Kakapo Rescue tells it in stunning photos, simple and accurate prose, and in age-appropriate scientific language. Much as I admire Dr.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By mtrevino on May 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Anyone age eight and above who has an interest in birds, conservation, and the out of doors would enjoy this well written and beautifully presented chapter book. The language is simple enough for young readers and sufficiently complex to hold the interest of adults who are interested in nature. The photographs taken by Nic Bishop are beautiful and like all his other books, make you feel as though your there. Author Montgomery and photographer Bishop traveled to the remote islands that are home to the only remaining kakapo; soft, fluffy, moss-green parrots in New Zealand. For ten days Montgomery and Bishop lived with the scientists, technicians, and volunteers working to save these rare and mysterious parrots. Written with warmth, humor, and suspense, "Kakapo Rescue" is truly and amazing read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Highlandbird on October 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My daughter and I read many, many books together, but this one has really stuck with us. Perhaps because we had not read anything similar before, but I think it is because it was such an intimate glimpse into an heroic effort to save an animal that is so cute. As a parent, I felt it was an accessible glimpse into the life of a biologist, doing great worth with passion. I hope my daughter some day has the passion of the folks trying to save the Kakapo. My daughter was 8 when we read this and she loved it. The photography was wonderful and you really got a sense of the island and the birds. Highly recommend this one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 18, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Sy Montgomery's KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD'S STRANGEST PARROT pairs fine color photos by Nic Bishop with a natural history that will attract both grades 4-5 and many an adult reader. It follows the author and illustrator on a 10-day excursion to witness the events in the life of the endangered kakapo on a remote New Zealand island, and provides a lively coverage kids will find engrossing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Experienced Editor VINE VOICE on April 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Author Montgomery and photographer Bishop traveled to the remote islands that are home to the only remaining kakapo -- soft, fluffy, sweet-scented (they smell like honey!), moss-green parrots in New Zealand. For ten days Montgomery and Bishop lived with the scientists, technicians, and volunteers working to save these rare and mysterious parrots. Heavy, flightless birds, kakapo nest in underground burrows from which they emerge to forage at night. Once as numerous as the buffalo that roamed the American plains, these defenseless creatures were easy prey when humans brought non-native predators to New Zealand, and by the mid-20th century kakapo were on the brink of extinction. In 1951 only 51 kakapo existed on Earth. As of September 8, 2010, there were 122--thanks to the efforts of New Zealand's National Kakapo Recovery Team. This book's magnificent photographs of exotic long-range vistas and detailed closeups transport the reader to the scenes. Written with warmth, humor, and suspense, "Kakapo Rescue" is highly recommended.
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