Last weekend I took Mary and Katie to the library to pick up some books for the next few weeks. The two of them did their best to decimate the natural science/animal books. Out of the massive quantities of easy read books on Tigers, Koalas, Snakes and Sharks, a book by the title of Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea landed in our bag.
Who knew that there was a kangaroo that live in trees like monkeys? Not me...never heard of them. These creatures are absolutely adorable. Quite possibly the cutest animal I have ever seen. But, more than the intriguing topic, this has to be the best juvenile non-fiction natural science book I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It isn't an "easy reader", written on what would probably be a 6th grade reading level, which makes it a really good read aloud for my children.
The author, Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop join a conservation scientist on a trip to study Tree Kangaroos in the Cloud Forests of New Guinea. The two of them document the entire trip from introducing the scientist in the group, discussing the supplies needed to undertake a two week trip into the bush, exposing the reader to the lives of the people of the native villages and how these natives have been convicted to no longer hunt the tree kangaroo. What a great book not just on the science of these creatures, but how scientists actually work out in the field.
This 'science' book has been a springboard for geography, cultural awareness, comparisons of how different people live and why conservation of our resources are important. The awareness that scientist and conservationist they see on TV don't work in a vacuum and the enormous amount of supplies and help they receive from people all over the world to do their jobs. It oesn't just report what scientists have discovered about Tree Kangaroos, but How.
Very inspiring for us.