Quest for the Tree Kangaroo by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop

(Suggested reading level: Ages 9-12)

This is the third collaboration between Montgomery and Bishop that Amber and I have read. We’re huge fans and this book was as great as we expected it to be.

The book follows biologist Lisa Dabek and her team of scientists and local guides through the rugged, remote cloud forest of Papua New Guinea in search of the Matschie’s tree kangaroo. This elusive, adorable creature is fascinating. The team first has to find and capture the kangaroos and then they can fit them with radio collars to learn more about them. It is certainly not an easy effort, but Dabek’s love for the animals shines through, and conservation efforts of the local people are also highlighted.

Bishop’s photographs capture the expedition in brilliant detail. Stunning close-ups of plants, insects, and birds vie for attention with panoramas of moss-draped trees in the eerie, ancient forest. And the tree kangaroos themselves are so cute, they look like teddy bears.

One of the reasons we love these Scientist in the Field books is that they give a true picture of the work the biologists and their teams do. Amber loves animals of all kinds and her current ambition is to become a wildlife biologist, so this was perfect. Lisa Dabek is a woman who has overcome obstacles and is doing all she can to help the creatures she loves, a great role model for young girls who are interested in science and nature. We also learn about the tools they use and all the supplies they need for this type of expedition.

The book’s fascinating glimpses into a little-explored region will hold the attention of anyone interested in unusual creatures and the efforts to study them. I really can’t recommend this book enough for middle school age kids. It’s an easy to read, informative, fun non-fiction book, which is not as easy to come by for this age group as I think it should be. If I rated books here, I would give it 5 stars.


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