Review Detail

An Island's Battle For Survival
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
What worked:
The idea of preserving natural ecosystems is compelling and Isle Royale offers a mostly closed system that’s perfect for studying. The presence of humans wiped out all but two wolves on the island so efforts are being made to restore the natural balance. The author introduces the scientists, supervisor, and other researchers involved with the introduction of wild wolves onto the island so readers can identify with the people working on the project. The book includes information regarding what it takes to become a member of the research team and what applicants can expect if accepted.
The author recounts her one-week visit to the island beginning with her six-hour boat trip just to get there. She’s accompanied by an experienced photographer and her color photographs capture the animals, plant life, and workers they meet during their time there. Descriptions of data collection, hiking where trails don’t exist, and anecdotes shared by field observers highlight the narrative. The researchers keep careful records and collect everything they find including moose and wolf dung.
The book includes an overview of the least-visited national park, its history, and how the island reached a point of needing genetic rescue. Settlers established copper mines on it but the winter climate and distance from the mainland don’t make it an ideal location to live. The researchers themselves leave the island during the winter months. An old lighthouse and some historic homes offer limited sites for tourists and the one restaurant closes at 7:00 pm. The natural beauty of the island and its wildlife lead to it becoming a national park in the 1940’s.
What didn’t work as well:
The narrative is a bit dry as the author recounts her experiences on the island. This is to be expected in a non-fiction book so it’s not a surprise. The purpose of the book is to inform more than entertain so descriptions aren’t embellished with flowery language. However, the topic of the book is interesting and the author makes the experience relatable for young readers.
The Final Verdict:
The graphics can appeal to all readers but the narrative will be most appreciated by lovers of wildlife and scientific research. Ecology issues and global warming are addressed along with the genetic rescue project itself, so readers with social awareness will enjoy the book too.
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