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Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon by Sy…
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Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon

by Sy Montgomery

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There are many ways a teacher could use this book in a 10th grade biology class. It could also be used in middle and elementary school science. This book could be introduced when doing lessons on evolution and ecology. The author elaborates on the specific biological and ecological factors that have contributed to the evolution of the pink dolphins and many other organisms in the Amazon Basin. She tells the story of her time spent at the Rainforest Lodge located in the Tamshiyacu-Tahuayo Community Reserve in Peru. She tells the story as if you, the reader, are the one that is living it. She describes her many canoe rides in the Amazon River during the rainy season in search of the pink dolphins, also referred to as encantadoes. She describes the dolphins and other organisms of this place as potentially magical, I guess to keep younger audiences intrigued with the story. She describes her observations with great detail as if the reader is making them. The observations are suggested scientifically, ethically, and in awe. With good reason, the author evidently loves the Amazon. I considered her to be authoritative enough on the information she presented because she made this observations on her own. Sometimes I think she over-simplified the information a bit too much, possibly assuming that the reader leaves a very sheltered life. There were also a few grammatical errors, but not many. One instance she used the incorrect term “poisonous” instead of the correct word “venomous” when describing the beloved bushmaster viper. Although her overall style of writing was good. I could see how a child would be intrigued by this book.
She included other perspectives of the encantadoes and life forms in the Amazon. She interviewed humans that live on the river in houses that float, she interviewed a local biologist that studies the dolphins, and she interviewed a paleontologist that was staying at the lodge doing research. The author did a beautiful job at demonstration the dinosaur times of the region with illustrated diagrams and maps. She also presented a wealth of information of conservation of the rainforest.
She gave credit to all the humans that she interviewed and provided additional descriptions of the Amazon in the back of the book, such as statistics, organism characteristics, and additional resources.
  777100987 | Mar 2, 2013 |
Today I'm looking at three middle grade adaptations of Sy Montgomery's adult works. Sy Montomery is one of my favorite Scientists in the Field series writers, so I thought I'd check out some of her other books. I tried to make it through her adult books, but just wasn't interested in that amount of philosophy mixed into animal stories. So, I took a look at three adaptations of adult books.

The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans tells the story of tigers who are unlike any other species. They have adapted to live in an estuarine environment and have developed many unusual behaviors, including an unusually high rate of attacking and eating people. The book includes comparisons and explanations of normal tiger behavior, hypothesis on how these tigers developed their odd behaviors, and interviews with local inhabitants, including tiger lore and myth in the area. It was interesting, but there was too much speculation and not enough facts. Eleanor Briggs' photography was detailed and varied but this book was still very text-heavy.

Encantado: Pink Dolphins of the Amazon is written in a very odd tense, which I can't remember the name of right now. For example "You're about to meet one of the most mysterious dolphins in the world. Scientists are eager to find out more about them. They could use your help. but studying them can be extremely difficult - as you'll soon find out." The facts and stories about these strange creatures were interesting, but the style drove me nuts. There's also lots of miscellaneous information about the Amazon and doing research and living there thrown in as well. Dianne Taylor-Snow's photography is ok, but nothing special.

Search for the Golden Moon Bear follows the Scientist in the Field model much more closely. A group of scientists and interested people go on an expedition and do research to solve a specific question: Do golden moon bears exist and are they a separate species? Along the way they encounter the different culture of Cambodia, lots of bears, unexpected setbacks and help, and many bears. Returning to the United States, the bear samples are sent to labs and there's a detailed and lengthy discussion of DNA and how testing works. The DNA testing shows some surprising results - not what they'd hoped, but something unexpected and interesting. This one was like a very long Scientist in the Field and there weren't quite as many photographs, all of which were taken unofficially by members of the expedition.

Verdict: The bears were my favorite, the tigers a close second. I really couldn't stand the weird tense in Encantado. If you need some longer naturalist/animal/science books for middle grade these would be good. Most of my animal lovers are much younger though and so I will stick with Scientist in the Field.

The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans
ISBN: 978-0618077045; Published February 2001 by Houghton Mifflin; Borrowed from the library

Encantado
ISBN: 978-0618131037; Published March 2002 by Houghton Mifflin; Borrowed from the library

Search for the golden moon bear
ISBN: 978-0618356508 ; Published November 2004 by Houghton Mifflin; Borrowed from the library
  JeanLittleLibrary | Jan 13, 2012 |
Beautiful photos, but the text is a bit dull. ( )
  dcoward | Oct 8, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0618131035, Hardcover)

Welcome to a forest filled with water. In the wet season, the swollen Amazon becomes a looking glass into another world, where pink dolphins swim like something from a dream. In Peru they are called bufeo colorado—the ruddy dolphin. Their color ranges from white to gray to a vivid pink. These astonishing mammals, actually river-dwelling whales, easily navigate their way through the complex, hazardous world of the Amazon rain forest. Encantado invites readers on the adventure of a lifetime as we travel into one of the world’s most lush and beautiful jungles in search of these magical creatures. Our guides include scientists and researchers as well as the local people, who have lived with the encantados—the enchanted ones—literally at their doorsteps for centuries. Our main guides are the dolphins themselves. They lead us into myth. They take us back in time to a prehistoric era. They alone can show us the depth of the Amazon’s beauty, diversity, and magic—and help us to keep our planet rich and whole.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:35 -0400)

Introduces the world of the freshwater dolphins called Encantados, or Enchanted, by the people who live near them in the region of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in South America.

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