PoachingFacts Rating: 5 of 5 stars
We don’t get a chance very often to review a book like Saving the Ghost of the Mountain written with younger audiences in mind. This one is a treat and is great even to read with younger readers with a strong vocabulary, but is probably aimed at junior high school/middle school students. The book is more about the journey of understanding snow leopards, than about the animal itself. Yet it’s also a great introduction to the exotic country of Mongolia with lots of interesting facts about its wildlife and people. That makes it a great read for the adventurous and curious!
Reader will enjoy lots of great pictures on each page to go along with what they’re reading. It’s not all pictures of snow leopards, either. There are also many photos about the culture and people of Mongolia as well as what life is like when doing research in the field. Photographs of nomadic life will give readers a an introduction to the people and their lifestyle: nomadic herders in their traditional outfits; the round, single-room home called a ger; the beautifully colorful doors common across Mongolia; and many more photos about the journey of sighting the elusive snow leopard.
Chapters are short enough for younger readers, but interesting enough for readers of all ages. The only thing that might be confusing is that, like modern magazines, a small article is sometimes in the middle of a chapter. Readers need to turn the page past the article to continue reading, then remember to come back for some interesting facts about camels, horses, dinosaur fossils, or how to make a ger in six simple steps.
Saving the Ghost of the Mountain does a wonderful job of describing what field science is and how it’s done. That is: identifying questions, making observations, and discovering answers (analyzing data). And when you do all that in a place as unique as the Altai Mountains and Gobi Desert of Mongolia that can be pretty exciting! Most importantly, the book keeps it fun and exciting while also being realistic about working in wildlife conservation — it’s a lot of work!
We’re always pleased to see books name the organizations supporting these efforts. Of course, that’s because the book follows the field adventures of Tom McCarthy, conservation director at Snow Leopard Trust! Snow Leopard Trust and Wildlife Conservation Society are important parts of snow leopard research and conservation. They’re also important parts of helping rural communities find jobs that will support them and help them avoid human-wildlife conflict with snow leopards.
Overall Saving the Ghost of the Mountain was very enjoyable and readers are sure to have a fun adventure. The photos and facts about Mongolian people and wildlife are sure to capture the attention of anyone who gets their hand on this book. We would love to see more books of this quality and insight in the hands of readers of all ages.