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

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Hardcover, March 23, 2004
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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
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • 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: 11 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,368,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 5 year old and 7 year old and I read this book as we studied tarantulas. There was a great bit of information and the story telling method about the tarantula scientist kept them engaged. I am terrified of tarantulas, at least in my face, so I had my 5 year old son turn the pages! But the imagery was great, many details!
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By rp 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: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is a book full of lovely pictures, and with a beautiful lay out. It is worth buying for the great close ups pictures. But mostly I think this book is made for kids who will like to learn of the Tarantula-world. If you are an adult who seriously wants to keep Tarantulas, buy some of the other books, like The Tarantula keepers guide, and Animal Planet's, Tarantulas. And to have some fun, buy "The Lagacy of Annie Rose" by Carolyn E. Swagerle....
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Format: Paperback
If you love spiders than this is the book for you. This book follows an Arachnologist as he travels through the rainforests explore different locations in which tarantulas live. You gain a lot of important facts and information about the tarantulas. They give various backgrounds for the spiders, the breeding cycles, and other intriguing information about the lives of tarantulas. The pictures are very realistic so this book isn't for someone who is squeamish. The pictures are very intriguing to look at, especially if you love spiders and other creepy crawlies! The pictures are up close views of spiders so you can see the differences in the many different types of tarantulas. This book also tells the reader about the labs in which the scientists record real life daily logs of each of the 500 tarantula habitats.
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