KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRANGEST PARROT by Sy Montgomery
Montgomery, Sy. 2010. KAKAPO RESCUE: SAVING THE WORLD’S STRANGEST PARROT. Ill. Nic Bishop. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. ISBN: 9780618494170
2. PLOT SUMMARY
On the brink of extinction, the kakapo is considered as one of the strangest parrots. Unlike other parrots, the kakapo doesn’t fly, live in a tree, or even come out during the day. No, this unique bird can’t fly, lives underground, and only comes out at night. Discover the world’s strangest parrot only found off the southern coast of New Zealand, and the people who are determined to keep this beautiful creature from disappearing.
3. CRITICAL ANALYSIS
Montgomery takes you on his ten-day excursion, along with photographer Nic Bishop, to Codfish Island, a small island off the coast of beautiful New Zealand where the last living species of a rare and near extinct parrot called the kakapo (KAR-ka-poe) fights for survival. With less than ninety left in the world, the kakapo still has a long way to go to come up from the brink of extinction. Fortunately, this strangely large, heavy, flightless, and night-active parrot is not alone. Fourteen volunteers are fighting right along with them and giving the kakapo the help they need to successfully breed and flourish. Organized into chapters, Montgomery gives you facts about the kakapo, it’s current situation in New Zealand, how their near extinction came to be, interesting details of New Zealand and it’s other wildlife, and his experience with the volunteers as they go about their everyday (and night) routines. Montgomery, along with vivid and beautiful photographs provided by Bishop, makes you feel you are there in the dense forests of Codfish Island and an observer right along with them. You experience the triumphs and the heartbreak the volunteers deal with on a daily basis. As one of the volunteers, Daryl, said about losing one of the chick eggs, “That’s life with a kakapo. Things crumble sometimes.”
The style and layout of Kakapo: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, is filled with factual information, complementing photographs, and direct insight from the volunteers themselves in order to provide the reader with a rare look at world so far away, yet so important to one species and the humans that care so deeply about their survival. This non-fiction text is perfect for readers 10 and up. The small text and more advanced reading level may not be suitable or appeal to younger children, although the photographs can almost tell the story without words. A wonderful edition for science lessons on endangered species and the importance of wildlife preservation.
4. REVIEW EXCERPT(S)
BOOKLIST starred review: "Montgomery’s delight in her subject is contagious, and throughout her enthusiastic text, she nimbly blends scientific and historical facts with immediate, sensory descriptions of fieldwork. Young readers will be fascinated."
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL starred review: "Take a parrot. Color it green. Give it soft, fluffy feathers, and whiskers. Give it sumo proportions and take away its power of flight. Make it nocturnal, and have it nest underground. Aha! A kakapo!...Excellent photos and a readable, conversational text provide an intimate look at a concerted effort to save a drastically endangered species unfamiliar to most of the world outside Down Under. Readers who enjoyed this author/photographer team’s The Tarantula Scientist (2007) or Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (2006, both Houghton) will gobble up this tribute to ecological science in action."
* This book is great to share with students to teach about a rare and almost extinct parrot. This is also great to share as a lesson about wildlife preservation and protecting endangered animals.
*Collect other books by Sy Montgomery: SPELL OF THE TIGER CL, THE WILD OUT YOUR WINDOW, SNOWBALL: THE DANCING COCKATOO, THE QUEST FOR THE TREE KANGAROO: AN EXPEDITION TO THE CLOUD FOREST OF NEW GUINEA, and SAVING THE GHOST OF THE MOUNTAIN: AN EXPEDITION AMONG SNOW LEOPARDS IN MONGOLIA.
*Other books about Kakapo parrots and other endangered animals:
Ballance, Alison. KAKAPO: RESCUED FROM THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION. ISBN: 978-1877517273
Garbutt, Nick. 100 ANIMALS TO SEE BEFORE THEY DIE. ISBN: 978-1841622361
Jenkins, Steve. ALMOST GONE: THE WORLD’S RAREST ANIMALS. ISBN: 978-0060536008
McGavin, George. ENDANGERED: WILDLIFE ON THE BRINK OF EXTINCTION. ISBN: 978-1554071838
Satore, Joel. RARE: PORTRAITS OF AMERICA’S ENDANGERED SPECIES. ISBN: 978-1426205750