nonfiction nuggets…what’s soft, mossy-green, smells like honey, booms, chings, and waddles?

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot, written by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop

Now THIS is how science books should be written!  I search high and low for books like this!!

Fabulous, narrative style; information galore presented clearly and creatively; not a whiff of talking down to children, but instead written so incredibly well that anyone ages 7 or 8 through adult will

Sy Montgomery...and friend

be utterly absorbed; exuding a sense of wonder, curiosity, awe, and delight that a person ought to feel when encountering a fascinating piece of this rich world.

And the photographs!  I love Nic Bishop’s work.  There are loads of photos here. 

Nic Bishop

Nicely-sized. Stunning. Partnering with the text beautifully.  Bishop is obviously a painstaking, brilliant wildlife photographer, who takes a prodigious amount of care in his work.

Really, it’s like getting a National Geographic documentary film…in a hefty picture book.

The subject:  the kakapo parrot, once thought extinct, now being tenderly, intensely cared for on one small New Zealand island in a grand effort to increase the fragile population.  This is a massive parrot — 9 pounds; it is flightless, nocturnal, with sweet, honey-scented feathers, and a curious, playful, affectionate disposition which past kakapo-owners have likened to that of a kitten or a dog!  Easy prey for the human populations that arrived in New Zealand as well as the domestic animals they carried with them and the rats and weasels who also came along for one reason and another, the kakapo shrank from a population in the millions to near-extinction.  At the time of the book, there were 87 being cared for in the wild. 

Montgomery and Bishop document their long-awaited journey to Codfish Island, beautifully describing this rare, unusual parrot, its past, and the present efforts to coax these birds into laying eggs and then to carefully monitor eggs and chicks in order to assure survival.  This book won the 2011 Sibert Award for best informational book, and for very good reason.  Don’t miss it!

Amazon link: Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot (Scientists in the Field Series)