Emi and the Rhino Scientist

emicover.jpgThe zoo! What a great setting for kids’ books. The zoo allows young readers to ponder so many concepts, from the concrete to the abstract, so zoo books are great ‘grow with your kids’ books. Emi and the Rhino Scientist (Houghton Mifflin, $18) is a fascinating look at the work of scientists in the wild and with captive endangered animals, and how both efforts support the continuation of the species. But that’s the boring description! Really, it’s about seeing a rhino sonogram, learning that rhinos are pregnant for sixteen months—egad! Kids will see pictures of Emi’s first adorable and rare hairy rhino calf as well as the staunch and stalwart Rhino Protection Unit that patrols Indonesian forests on the hunt for poachers. The entire Scientists in the Field series by Houghton Mifflin is excellent. You can actually use books like Emi or Wildlife Detectives, another book in the series, for bedtime reading. Why? Because in addition to fabulous photos and lots of timelines, maps and other cool graphics, there is a terrific narrative thread throughout the books. As an adult, I have very mixed feelings about zoos. This is a great thing to discuss with older kids. Can you justify keeping an animal in captivity because you are making the public at large more educationally aware and conducting research that will help dwindling populations in the wild? We need Aristotle to weigh in from the grave on that one. Learn more about the series at http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/features/science/children.shtml.


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