My rating: ★★★★★
I adore children’s nonfiction, and I’ve enjoyed the Magic Tree House series since I was a very young child, so when I realized that the Research Guides and Fact Trackers existed, I was thrilled.
Pandas and Other Endangered Species is a wonderful installment to a wonderful series, and I would recommend it to any parent, child, or fan of children’s books.
The book contains six chapters, as well as a “Doing More Research” section. Below is an outline of the contents.
Chapter One: Pandas and Other Endangered Species starts with a look at the US’s first panda residents, Hsing Hsing and Ling Ling, that segues into an explanation of extinction. Habitat destruction, pollution and climate change, hunting and poaching, and new (invasive) species each get their own sections. The chapter ends with an explanation of conservation efforts and an interesting anecdote about the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center’s efforts to save the Whooping Crane.
Chapter Two: China’s National Treasures offers the reader a brief look at the culture history of the panda bear in China, as well as facts about the panda’s habitat, lifestyle, diet, and the like. The chapter ends with a recap of the earthquake and relief efforts that effected China’s Wolong National Nature Reserve, which fans will recognize from A Perfect Time for Pandas.
Chapter Three: Starting Small explores pandas in their infancy and childhood, then ends with a rather endearing myth from Indonesia about “How Pandas Became Black and White”.
Chapter Four: Endangered Species takes a look at some of the less popular endangered species (including an Asian salamander that can grow up to six feet long!). Bengal tigers, Fender’s blue butterflies and Kincaid’s lupines, orangutans, sloths, kiwis, sea otters, and snow leopards each get their own sections.
Chapter Five: Two Heroes recounts the stories and conservation efforts of Jane Goodall and George Schaller.
Chapter Six: Hope for the Future begins by mentioning conservation efforts such as the Okavango-Zambezi Conservation Zone in Africa, then explains how endangered species can come back from the brink of extinction, such as the case with gray wolves, American bald eagles, peregrine falcons, and gray whales. It ends will a small section about what kids can do to help “make the world a better place for all living things”.
The following DVDs:
• African Cats (Disneynature)
• Kids @ Discovery: Endangered Species! (Cerebellum Corporation)
• Mountain Gorilla (National Geographic)
• Young Explorers: Secrets of the Wild Panda (National Geographic)
And the following webpages: