Mysterious Glowing Mammals: An Unexpected Discovery Sparks a Scientific Investigation

Millbrook. Sept. 2023. 56p. lib. ed. $33.32. ISBN 9781728460413.
Gr 4 Up–When a scientist accidentally finds a glowing flying squirrel in his backyard, a whole chain of scientific events is set into motion. Did you know there are mammals that glow different colors under a UV light? Or that this is called biofluorescence, which differs from bioluminescence? How about what a naturalist, a chemist, and a biologist might have in common and what their specific roles are in a scientific discovery? This title answers all those questions and so many more. The narrative nonfiction format reads like an adventure novel, exploding with every text feature imaginable from maps and diagrams to an abundance of sidebars devoted to deep dives on things like how UV light works and differences between mammal species. The text is strongly aligned to curriculum standards, covering topics such as animal traits and classification while thoroughly exploring the scientific process through story and inquiry. Abundant full-color photographs are sprinkled throughout as well as a QR code which links to a YouTube video of the glowing flying squirrels. Young explorers are encouraged to think critically, look at the varying perspectives of a new discovery, and seek out their own observations. Parrot-Ryan urges, “Discoveries don’t have to come in a flashy neon package to lead to some exciting science.” An author’s note, glossary, index, and suggested further reading are also included in the back matter.
VERDICT A must-purchase for collections serving curious minds, suitable for upper elementary or middle grades.

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