Welcome to the lab of Dr. Randy Lewis, where goat embryos are injected with genes from golden orb weaver spiders. When the goats grow up, some of the females will produce spider silk proteins in their milk. The project aims to produce filaments with the varying degrees of strength and flexibility characteristic of spider silk. Practical applications range from space suits to artificial ligaments to lightweight bulletproof vests. A chapter on the “Ethical Concerns and Lifesaving Possibilities” of transgenic organisms lays out ethical objections to the research and counters each one with a response representing Dr. Lewis’ point of view. The overall quality of the photos is quite good, and some pictures are exceptionally fine. At times the text seems aimed at very young children, as it includes details and anecdotes that are unlikely to interest older readers. However, the explanations of Lewis’ research will be confusing to students without previous knowledge of genetics. While there’s worthwhile information here, the presentation limits the audience for this attractive volume from the Scientists in the Field series. Grades 7-10. --Carolyn Phelan
"Move over, Spider-Man. . . . Abundant photographs and a lively narrative make the topic accessible and almost lighthearted, and Heos lays groundwork for readers with a basic introduction to DNA and gene theory."
—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A complex, controversial topic, positively presented."
—School Library Journal
"Clear focus, careful explanztions with occasional repetition of denser information, and a wealth of color photographs make this title inviting and accessible. . . and the kissin'-cute goats should entice quite a few readers to explore this project further."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books