Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Chasing Cheetahs

Text by Sy Montgomery  Photographs by Nic Bishop
HMH Books for Young Readers (April 1, 2014)

Description from GoodReads:
Since the year 1900, cheetah footprints quickly dwindled in African dirt as the species plummeted from more than 100,000 to fewer than 10,000. At the Cheetah Conservation Fund's (CCF) African headquarters in Namibia, Laurie Marker and her team save these stunning, swift, and slender creatures from extinction. Since the organization's start in 1990, they've rescued more than 900 cheetahs, most of whom have been returned to the wild.

But this arduous challenge continues. For most African livestock farmers, cheetahs are the last thing they want to see on their properties. In the 1980s, as many as 19 cheetahs per farmer died each year. Cheetahs were considered vermin--but, in learning more about this magnificent species, we know this is far from true.

Today, CCF acts as a liaison between the farmers and the cheetahs, in order to promote cohabitation in an ecosystem that cannot thrive without the existence of the precious and predatory cheetah. On a wild ride through the African wilderness--sometimes sniffing out scents left in the dirt--Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop join CCF in studying the cheetah's ecological, genetic, and behavioral patterns in order to chase down the fastest animal on land and save the species--before it is too late.

A Message from Dr. Laurie Marker and the Cheetah Conservation Fund:

Introduction to the Cheetah Conservation Fund 2013:

About Scientists in the Field: Where Science Adventure Meets -
The Scientists in the Field series shows people immersed in the unpredictable and dynamic natural world, making science more accessible, relevant, and exciting to young readers. Far from the research laboratory, these books show firsthand adventures in the great outdoors—adventures with a purpose. From climbing into a snake den with thousands of slithering snakes to tracking wolves, swimming with hammerhead sharks, and collecting bugs, readers experience the thrill of discovering the unknown.

The Scientists in the Field series has been deemed consistently excellent, imaginative, engaging, and informative. The series provides a broad range of curricular opportunities that will both teach and entertain children.

Follow them on: Twitter | Facebook

My thoughts on the book:
Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop have collaborated on a number of books about wild animals for The Scientist in the Field Series.  Each book is a bit different depending on the animal, and the location.  In Chasing Cheetahs, the focus in on Dr. Marker's work with the Cheetah Conservation Fund and how she is working to save cheetahs.  What I love about this series is the focus not only on the individual animals being highlighted but also on the scientists that study them and the way the animal is part of a larger ecosystem and why different animals/creatures are crucial to the health of the ecosystem.

Beautiful photographs, and engaging dialogue invite readers into the story and the lives of Dr. Marker and her amazing wild cats.  Delving into the story, readers learn about the cheetahs that she has rescued but also her attempt to reintroduce cheetahs to the wild.  Additionally, Dr. Marker has focused on creating successful ways to reduce farmers' tendency to kill cheetahs whom they believe are killing their stock by providing them with special dogs who help to care and protect their livestock.

If you are looking for a great read aloud for younger students or a nonfiction text for upper elementary age students, Chasing Cheetahs is an excellent option.

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews: