Friday, September 21, 2018

Fact Friday and review: The Great Penguin Rescue: saving the African penguins by Sandra Markle

The Great Penguin Rescue: saving the African penguins by Sandra Markle. 48 p. Millbrook Press/ Lerner Publishing Group, September, 2017. 9781512413151. (Review of purchased finished copy.)

Did you know that there are penguin colonies off the coast of the African countries of Namibia and South Africa? Back in the 1800s, they numbered in the millions, but human interference such as harvesting eggs, overfishing, and disturbing nesting sites have driven their numbers down to less than 50,000. Fact Friday features The Great Penguin Rescue by Sandra Markle. 

Science writer Markle explains the plight of the African penguin in a beautifully designed book filled with plenty of gorgeous full-color photographs. She tugs at the reader's heartstrings with the story of a hungry chick awaiting her parents' return. Adult penguins return from the ocean to feed their young, but our little chick waits in vain. Another day and night go by before the chick wanders off. Sob!

Markle's strength as a science writer is her ability to make an emotional connection with the reader and then explain complicated science concepts in a straightforward, accessible manner. She also highlights the work of scientists and conservation volunteers. Lerner's strength is in designing beautiful backgrounds, colors and font that keep the reader engaged. There is at least one full-color photo on every page. All are well-captioned and support the text. There are also maps and charts to enhance understanding. 

Backmatter includes an author's note, a "Did You Know?" page, a timeline, source notes, a glossary, a list of three books and four websites for readers who want to learn more about African penguins. This book belongs in every school, public and science classroom library. 

A visit to Ms. Markle's website revealed the news that she has a new book releasing this January! Thanks for the heads up! 

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