Monday, October 13, 2008

Book Review: Science Warriors

Science Warriors: The Battle Against Invasive Species by Sneed B. Collard III. (Grades 5-8.)

Over 6200 aliens have invaded the United States alone.

Er... alien species, that is.

Alien (or exotic) species are species of animals that have settled in a place that's different from their original, natural homes. Sometimes these species become invasive species, meaning that they cause serious problems in their new home.

One example is the red imported fire ant, which took over the southern United States after being brought over from South America. Finding a new home rich with food and without the predators and parasites they faced in South America, the red imported fire ant expanded to invade 13 states. They dominate native ant populations, kill other native animals, decimate some kinds of crops, sting humans (sometimes even causing death), and damage farm equipment with their plentiful mounds.


Luckily there are scientists researching invasive species and figuring out ways to control them. Efforts to poison the red imported fire ant actually resulted in an increase in their population (the poison wasn't effective and killed off other ant populations, making it easier for the imported fire ants to take over more). Scientists had to find another way to contain the population.

In Science Warriors you'll learn about these ants and other species that cause serious problems when introduced to a new ecosystem. You'll also learn about the scientists who study them and devise ways to control the populations. Full color photos accompany a readable text that will appeal to kids interested in animals, science, and the environment. The book includes information about how everyone can do their part to control the spread of invasive species. A glossary, index, and list of further resources are all included as well.

I haven't loved all the Scientists in the Field books, but this one is a definite hit!

It's Nonfiction Monday, so head over to Picture Book of the Day for the roundup!

Review copy received from Houghton Mifflin (thanks!).