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The Tarantula Scientist (Scientists in the Field Series) Hardcover – March 23, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 5 - 9
  • Lexile Measure: 890L (What's this?)
  • Series: Scientists in the Field Series
  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (March 23, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618147993
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618147991
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 11.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #513,392 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-10-Superb color photos abound in this spectacular series addition. Readers follow the career of Sam Marshall, tarantula scientist extraordinaire, from his "Spider Lab" at Hiram College in Ohio to the rain forests of French Guiana as he hunts for, finds, and studies the creatures he loves so well. The conversational text contains as much spider lore as scientific investigation and provides a cheerful look at a dedicated scientist. (The fact that he did not do well in school may encourage those late bloomers who have not yet found their passion in life or believe it to be far beyond their academic grasp.) Informative, yes, but even more important, this is a vivid look at an enthusiastic scientist energetically and happily at work, both in the field and in the lab, questioning, examining, testing, and making connections. A treat, even for arachnophobes.
Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-7. Montgomery and Bishop, who worked together on Snake Scientist (1999), team up once again to deliver another fascinating slice of the natural world. This time they venture to the French Guiana rain forest, where they follow arachnologist Sam Marshall on his quest for his favorite quarry: tarantulas. Enthusiasm for the subject and respect for both Marshall and his eight-legged subjects come through on every page of the clear, informative, and even occasionally humorous text. Bishop's full-color photos, which concentrate on detail, not scale, are amazing--Marshall coaxing an elusive tarantula into the open or bringing readers literally face-to-face with a hairy spider. The section on students' research seems tacked on, but it adds an interesting sidelight to the book, which is longer and richer in both text and illustrations than others in the Scientists in the Field series. Readers will come away armed with facts about spiders in general and tarantulas in particular, but even more important, they'll have a clear understanding of how the answers derived from research become the roots of new, intriguing questions. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 12 customer reviews
Very informative book.
L.C.
Arachnologist Sam Marshall leads the author and photographer on a quest that will inspire even the most reluctant young scientist.
E. Fox
An older child with an interest in tarantulas is the best person this book is for.
BGar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on February 15, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have no problems with spiders. When an arachnid lodges itself in the upper right hand corner of my shower, it's me (not my hubby) who forces it into an empty glass and releases it back into the wilderness (i.e. out the window). I don't think they're particularly cute, but I respect what they do. Similarly, I didn't think I had any problems with tarantulas either. I'd never held one or stared one in the eight eyes, but I wasn't about to freak out over reading Sy Montgomery's excellent addition to the "Scientists In the Field" series. It was with zero reluctance that I plucked "The Tarantula Scientist" from its shelf and proceeded to page through it. Just my bad luck that such paging began with a stomach churning view of young gooey transparent tail whip scorpions riding on their mother's back, really. To my infinite surprise I found portions of this book grotesque, other parts, disturbing, and every single page can't-physically-tear-my-eyes-away fascinating. For any kid vaguely considering transferring their love of the creepy crawlies into a full time career, this book is a must-have. Just keep a firm grip on your phobias while you peruse it.

Our hero is named Sam Marshall. He's an average college professor (go Hiram!) with a truly above-average obsession. Marshall loves tarantulas. He loves to travel to distant rainforests and observe them in the wild. He loves to tend to his five hundred live spiders in Hiram College's Spider Lab. But most of all, he loves to discover new and interesting things about the species. Tarantulas, as it happens, are relatively mysterious creatures. No one in the scientific community has ever taken the time to understand their growth rates, space needs, ways of creating homes, social obligations, etc. No one until now, that is.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. Fox on October 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Even squeemish spider-haters couldn't help but love this book, it's so readable and fun! Arachnologist Sam Marshall leads the author and photographer on a quest that will inspire even the most reluctant young scientist. Journeying through the jungles of French Guiana, we enounter the world's largest spider, the Goliath Birdeater Tarantula. Nic Bishop's photos of the spiders are unexpectedly beautiful (how many eyes does that thing have?); he even managed to capture images of a spider shedding it's skin on a silk mat it wove especially for the occasion. The book has a lot of human interest as well, as readers learn that Marshall was an apathetic student himself, until the joy of discovery through research snared him. (Marshall is considered to be the world's foremost authority on tarantulas, and now is director of a the J.H. Barrow Field Station at Hiram University, where he is also an assistant professor.) One of the neat things about this book, beyond telling us everything about tarantuals, is that it gives us a glimpse what scientific inquiry means in the field and lab. There are photos of young lab students working with their research projects; a grade 5-8 reader would relate and be inspired by this portrayal. This book would be an excellent addition to any middle school library or a great gift for an aspiring biologist or tarantula owner.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Kids in grades 4-6 and more will relish Nic Bishop's startling close-up photos and scientist Sy Montgomery's vivid descriptions of scientific investigations in his Tarantula Scientist. Almost 80 pages pack in the photos and plenty of facts about the giant spiders, and will delight kids of all grade levels with accounts of investigative qualities. More than a picturebook but not quite a pre-teen read, this will reach a larger audience than most simple spider coverages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By rmp on January 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book did what is described. Nicely written and very appealing to younger kids. The pictures are integrated nicely. Good purchase for school work of a 10year old.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The ramblings of a madman. Contains scant factual information about tarantulas. Who cares that he has a friend who likes moss?!
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By Prince Fan on December 18, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My daughter' 4th grade class uses this book for the new common core reading program. She left it in school on the night of a homework assignment and freaked out. I decided to check for the e book version and there it was! Now she can read on the go , without any added weight to the book bag, and it is hers to keep. Very affordable as we'll.
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