Reviews for Tarantula Scientist


Booklist Monthly Selections - # 2 March 2004
Gr. 4-7. Montgomery and Bishop, who worked together on Snake Scientist (1999), team up once again to deliver another fascinating slice of the natural world. This time they venture to the French Guiana rain forest, where they follow arachnologist Sam Marshall on his quest for his favorite quarry: tarantulas. Enthusiasm for the subject and respect for both Marshall and his eight-legged subjects come through on every page of the clear, informative, and even occasionally humorous text. Bishop's full-color photos, which concentrate on detail, not scale, are amazing--Marshall coaxing an elusive tarantula into the open or bringing readers literally face-to-face with a hairy spider. The section on students' research seems tacked on, but it adds an interesting sidelight to the book, which is longer and richer in both text and illustrations than others in the Scientists in the Field series. Readers will come away armed with facts about spiders in general and tarantulas in particular, but even more important, they'll have a clear understanding of how the answers derived from research become the roots of new, intriguing questions. ((Reviewed March 15, 2004)) Copyright 2004 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Fall
This book follows arachnologist Sam Marshall on an expedition to South America to investigate several tarantula species. Information about spider basics, spider silk, and how to observe your own local spiders is woven into the main narrative. The color photography is so interesting that even the squeamish may take a second look at the hairy tarantulas portrayed in close detail. Websites. Bib., glos., ind. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #4
Writer and photographer team up again to bring us another excellent entry in the Scientist in the Field series. We follow arachnologist Sam Marshall on a field expedition to South America, and then back to his laboratory in Ohio to investigate several tarantula species. Information about spider basics, spider silk, and how to observe your own local spiders is woven into the main narrative. Montgomery is effective in showing how scientists' research questions integrate their field and laboratory study, and how Marshall's enthusiasm drives his scientific work. The additional profiles of undergraduates in the lab illustrate manageable projects, inviting young readers to imagine themselves as researchers someday (and the students profiled are women, helping to dispel any stereotypes about which gender likes spiders). Unlike other books in the series, the discussion of Marshall's childhood and initial interest in science is brief. The color photography is outstanding, and so very interesting that even the squeamish may take a second look at the glossy and hairy tarantulas portrayed in close detail in both their natural and laboratory habitats. Appended material includes a list of websites, a bibliography, a glossary, and an index. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2004 February #2
Sam Marshall loved animals, but disliked school-until a college research project on tarantulas made him realize that science is a process, not a set of answers. Montgomery and Bishop team up for another stellar excursion into the world of working scientists. They accompany Marshall on a research trip to the rainforests of French Guiana, and document his enthusiasm for large, hairy "spider dinosaurs" in crisp, detailed photographs and clear, lively prose. Returning with him to his Hiram College lab, filled with spiders, student researchers, and questions, they show what kind of questions scientists ask about spiders, and how they learn the answers. Montgomery has a gift for scene-setting, describing Marshall's activities in just enough detail. She deftly weaves clear explanations and comparisons into the main text (" . . . their 'skin' is called an exoskeleton, because exo-like exit-means 'outside' "). Bishop's phenomenal photos show spiders mating, shedding their skin, even leaping through the air. It's enough to make Miss Muffet fall in love. (Nonfiction. 8-14) Copyright Kirkus 2004 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2004 May
Gr 5-10-Superb color photos abound in this spectacular series addition. Readers follow the career of Sam Marshall, tarantula scientist extraordinaire, from his "Spider Lab" at Hiram College in Ohio to the rain forests of French Guiana as he hunts for, finds, and studies the creatures he loves so well. The conversational text contains as much spider lore as scientific investigation and provides a cheerful look at a dedicated scientist. (The fact that he did not do well in school may encourage those late bloomers who have not yet found their passion in life or believe it to be far beyond their academic grasp.) Informative, yes, but even more important, this is a vivid look at an enthusiastic scientist energetically and happily at work, both in the field and in the lab, questioning, examining, testing, and making connections. A treat, even for arachnophobes.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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