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Review of The Great White Shark Scientist

montgomery_great white shark scientistThe Great White Shark Scientist [Scientists in the Field]
by Sy Montgomery;
 photos by Keith Ellenbogen
Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    70 pp.
6/16    978-0-544-35298-8    $18.99

Biologist Greg Skomal studies great white sharks off the coast of Cape Cod, using a variety of technologies, including video and telemetry, to document their burgeoning population as the marine ecology of Cape Cod changes. Montgomery and photographer Ellenbogen join Skomal aboard research ships and planes, then back in the lab, documenting, in a nearly real-time account, six days of scientific adventure in Massachusetts (and in the waters off Guadalupe Island, in Mexico, where the author meets sharks close-up in a shark cage and learns about documentation efforts by scientists in that region), plus one day 
of critical data analysis. One minute Montgomery recounts the technical details of shark tracking, the next minute relays the steps she needs to take to be safe on the ocean, and the next narrates an all-out shark chase, as researchers on a boat and in a plane work together in a successful shark identification bonanza. This approach fully immerses readers in the field research experience, as do the excellent photographs of people, sharks, and the environment. In, on, and especially above the ocean, Ellenbogen captures the majesty of the great whites as well as the beauty and impermanence of the Atlantic barrier islands, dunes, and shoreline. Text interludes include descriptions of shark anatomy and consideration of the relationship between local residents, sharks, and the tourist industry. Appended with maps, shark facts, a selected bibliography, web resources, and an index.

From the July/August 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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Danielle J. Ford About Danielle J. Ford

Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

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