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Friday, January 13, 2012

Review: The Polar Bear Scientists by Peter Lourie

The Polar Bear Scientists by Peter Lourie. A Scientists in the Field Book.

The Polar Bear Scientists by Peter Lourie

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: January 2012
List Price: $18.99
ISBN-13: 9780547283050

Review: The sub-zero temperatures, high winds and the ice stretching out for miles in all directions may seem like a horrendous job for some people, but not the polar bear scientists. These people work in a barren landscape of snow and ice to protect and conserve the polar bears. In The Polar Bear Scientists, by Peter Lourie, you are brought into the world of the polar bear scientists in Barrow, Alaska. This non-fiction book leads you along three journeys of the polar bear scientists and has a lot of background information on the polar bears. It also includes many pictures to show you the brilliant landscape of ice and the magnificent polar bears.

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) has stationed a research base in Alaska, NARL (Naval Arctic Research Lab), to study the polar bears. The United States has been interested in polar bears since the 1960s when the species was threatened by hunting. Now, polar bears are being threatened by global warming, which is thought to be the cause of melting pack ice in the Arctic. Polar bears depend on the pack ice for hunting and without it, the population may decline. The scientists at Barrow are working hard to gather information that will teach us about the polar bear's health, how they react to climate change and how their environment impacts them. In The Polar Bear Scientists, you learn of two missions where this data is collected and analyzed. It is still unknown however, how much polar bears will be affected if the ice along the continental shelf melts.

One of my favorite things about this book is the descriptions of the Arctic and the polar bears. It helps you learn about the bears and helps you feel like you are on the Arctic pack ice with the scientists. On the other hand, what I dislike is that there is little excitement so the book goes at a medium pace. The beginning is slightly interesting; however, you do not get hooked until the middle where the author describes the polar bear captures. The beginning included the background on the polar bears and the polar bear scientists, which is important, but is not as intriguing as actually interacting with the polar bears. Another thing the author describes well is the polar bear scientists. The scientists who are described come from all different parts of the polar bear research project, so you get different points of views from each part of the project. The author also includes a glossary and a Polar Bear Field Guide so that you get a better understanding of the bears and their habitat. This is a fantastic section of the book for readers who do not have an expansive knowledge on polar bears or the Arctic. I rate this book an 8/10 because it is interesting, but did not go at a fast pace. To conclude, The Polar Bear Scientists by Peter Lourie is an amazing book about the adventurous lives of polar bear scientists.

Review written by Shannon (7th grade student).

We would like to thank Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing a copy of The Polar Bear Scientists for this review.

Have you read The Polar Bear Scientists? How would you rate it?

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