Tracking Tortoises: The Mission to Save a Galápagos Giant

Millbrook. Sept. 2021. 64p. Tr $34.65. ISBN 9781541596115.
Gr 4-9–Messner delves into the work of the Galápagos Tortoise Movement Ecology Programme by painting a vivid picture of not only the giant tortoises of these unique islands but also of the scientists who study animals that will outlive them. Beginning with theories on how the tortoises arrived on the volcanic islands and progressing to the challenges posed by increased farming, tourism, and climate change, the author explains the uniqueness of these amazing creatures and the enthusiasm of the people who work every day to ensure their survival. Male and female scientists and assistants from a variety of countries (the United States, United Kingdom, Spain, and Ecuador) are represented. Messner never talks down to her audience, describing historical horrors and modern realities in unflinching but age-appropriate ways, and seamlessly defining unfamiliar terms in the same sentence in which they are introduced. QR codes that take readers to videos of the scientists in action supplement engaging sidebars, full-color photographs, and helpful maps and illustrations. Readers are encouraged to head to to track the migration of individual tortoises as well as to “join the tortoise team” by raising money for further GPS tracking or for supporting the crucial hatchling work that boosts tortoise survival. A “Tortoise Timeline,” glossary, comprehensive source notes, further reading, and an index round out the additional features that make this work accessible.
VERDICT Highly recommended for libraries and science classrooms with budding naturalists.

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