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Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 06/01/2008 Gr 2-5-Removal of one predator-the wolf-from Yellowstone National Park caused the decline of many animal species, subsequently changing the very terrain of the area as ponds and trees also disappeared. The rise and fall and interdependence of species are explained simply in this slim survey of some of the park's wildlife. Patent begins with the Congressional designation of Yellowstone as a national park in 1872, stating that in the early years the geologic wonders rather than the animals were the main attraction. The wolf was a popular hunting target, and its demise led to an overpopulation of elk and coyotes and a complex chain of effects. The format sets small chunks of text and two or three small color photographs on a black background at the far right of the spread. A large color photo fills the remaining space, with a framed sentence superimposed on the picture. The two blocks of text become repetitive, but they're apparently intended as a dual-level text, so that children can read either the briefer explanations on the left or the longer ones opposite. Bits of background terrain are seen in the pictures, but they do not capture the dramatic decline and renewal of the ecosystem suggested. There is no map to indicate the large size and location of Yellowstone. The book concludes with a review quiz with small animal photos.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information. - Copyright 2008 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Bulletin for the Center... - 07/01/2008 This carefully crafted natural history documents the important role of the wolf in the Yellowstone National Park ecosystem. Veteran biology writer Patent concisely chronicles the history of Yellowstone and the myriad effects caused by the eradication of its wolf population in the early twentieth century. The elk population then expanded and caused stress on the local flora, with resultant reduction of birds and animals dependent on the trees; coyotes, no longer having to compete with wolves, began to overfeed on the pronghorn population and shoulder out smaller predators like foxes. The book then describes the beneficial effects of the return of the wolves, including the movement of the elk away from the most vulnerable foliage and the tendency of wolves to leave scraps of their kills that then feed desirable scavenger species. Though a couple of questions are left unanswered, the argument is clearly and convincingly compiled, with simplified single-sentence distillations of the larger text helpfully offering even briefer summations for the paragraph-intimidated. The pictures don’t have the clarity of portraiture found in the photographs of William Muñoz, Patent’s best-known partner, but they offer an impressive gallery of Yellowstone inhabitants, providing silent testimony to the diversity of the population there. Add this to an ecology unit for a comprehensible, focused picture of the delicate interworkings of Mother Nature. An index and a list of kid-accessible resources are appended, as is a brief photo quiz about the material covered in the text. DS - Copyright 2008 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 02/15/2008 Hunted almost to extinction by 1926, Yellowstone’s wolves have made a dramatic comeback thanks to human intervention, and their increasing numbers have restored essential balance to the park’s ecology. In a familiar, photo-essay format, veteran science writer Patent gives a concise history of these essential predators, effectively using precise examples of the wolf’s place in the natural order to show the profound interconnections of life in Yellowstone and the devastation that the absence of a single species can cause. Contributed by a father-and-daughter team, the many crisp, exciting color photos will easily draw readers into the fascinating story of natural survival and balance, while the multilevel text (short, simple sentences in framed boxes and longer, more complex sentences in paragraphs) widens the book’s audience. A final, illustrated page, entitled “The Wolf Effect,” encourages kids to review the links among Yellowstone’s fauna and flora. A great choice for elementary units about science and environmental protection. - Copyright 2008 Booklist.