When I first received this book, I thought, “Oh no, another ‘save the endangered enter cute animal here’ book.” However, I soon realized that this book is not that at all. It has wonderful details about turtles. Did you ever wonder where all the turtles go in the winter? “…in the cold winter months, they can burrow into the mud at the bottom of a lake and hibernate, getting their oxygen in a different way” (p. 10). There is also a great diagram of turtle anatomy with brief descriptions of several major structures. The level of detail is perfectly appropriate for most students but may be a little “light” for advanced high school students. For example, I wanted details about how the frogs breathe in the winter.
Saving Turtles is meant to interest students in becoming active conservationists. There are some pretty graphic pictures of turtles that have been injured by humans, but none of them are terrible, and there are many great pictures of turtles being turtles. As the author says, “If no one knows about the dire situation that turtles are in, nothing will change” (p. 52). The book gives lots of information about current conservation efforts, including treating injured turtles, “headstarting,” and raising awareness. “Headstarting” turtle eggs is a way “to ensure that these eggs are not lost,” by harvesting, incubating, and hatching the eggs and then releasing the babies (p. 34).
This book would be a valuable addition to any biology or environmental science teacher’s collection. Or better yet, to any school’s library collection. It would be a great resource for a student report or project. And there are additional resources listed in the back of the book, after a very nice glossary and index.
ELIZABETH COWLES teaches freshman-level biology, biochemistry, and entomology at Eastern Connecticut State University. She has taught at the undergraduate and graduate college levels for over 20 years. Her interests include insect toxicology, protein characterization, and astrobiology. Cowles holds degrees in biology and biochemistry from Cornell University and Michigan State University. Her address is Department of Biology, ECSU, 83 Windham St., Willimantic, CT 06226; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.