BOOK REVIEWS

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cat (Scientists in the Field Series) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-10-17 
Review Score: 5 out of 5 star From 13 user ratings
ISBN:1328740897
LANGUAGE:English

"4.3 stars

Got this title from a list of notable nonfiction for children for 2014.

In 1900, there were over 100,000 cheetahs worldwide. Now, there are about 10,000. There used to be cheetahs in India. There are cheetahs in Iran!

The book is about the efforts of Laurie Marker who developed a program to help endangered cheetahs in Namibia. The program has been successful and is currently being expended to other African countries. Farmers in Namibia consider cheetahs to be pests and kill, on average, 19 cheetahs every year. Instead of berating farmers, Laurie has worked with them and listened to them and asked them about problems on their farms, about how much livestock they have, about the challenges on their farms, etc. And then she tried to solve the problems of the farmers. She developed a program to acquire and train dogs that guard livestock. When farmers received these dogs, they mostly stopped killing cheetahs.

This is incredibly interesting. But it's a little long for many elementary students to read cover-to-cover.
" said.

"I am a huge fan of the Scientists in the Field series by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. They are not only fascinating but well designed with gorgeous photographs. Chasing Cheetahs did not disappoint, it's as high in quality as its predecessors. With the growing emphasis on STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and math) in the education field, these books are a great help in that endeavor. This book takes a look at the work of the Cheetah Conservation Fund's work in Namibia, Africa in saving cheetahs. The work done by Laurie Marker and her associates has clearly made a difference, but like all conservation stories there is still much to be done as Montgomery clearly shows. I found it absolutely intriguing to read about the things the CCF is doing to help the species. The strategies they are using are clearly explained and demonstrated in the book which shows the power of science in action. I for one found the stories about different cheetahs and the way the scientists study them and share what they've learned with local farmers and school children as well as with colleagues worldwide makes for a great story. This book is very readable with lots of gorgeous photographs to highlight the text. A wonderful addition to a great series. " said.

"This book is PHENOMENAL. Absolutely amazing youth nonfiction. Definitely meant for an older set--probably 4th grade (?) and up--but wow, what a great read. There's so much information about cheetahs and it's portrayed in such an interesting way. The book is narrative nonfiction, chronicling the writers' experience at a cheetah conservancy in Namibia. The reader learns about nearly every aspect of what goes on in the conservancy, from rescuing orphaned cubs, tracking wild cheetahs and other game, and introducing some cheetahs back into the wild. The pictures are great--kids will marvel at seeing cheetahs walking alongside their human handlers, almost completely tame. There's also a section on the dogs in the conservancy. Dogs are proving to be a major factor in saving the cheetah population, as they guard the livestock that cheetahs sometimes prey on when no game is available. Cheetahs aren't actually all that big, so if farmers have big enough dogs, they won't come anywhere near the livestock. It's all pretty amazing, how much work and dedication has been put in to figuring all of this out.

I am now very interested in reading the rest of the books in this series--I see from other reviews that they're also really well-done.
" said.

"I believe this book has some crossover content with a social studies lesson. It explains the different jobs Laurie and her crew do to rescue cheetahs and stabilize the population. It also tells of the the local farmers and their struggle with the cheetahs who hunt their livestock. Laurie explains how her organization works with the local farmers to find a solution that saves the cheetahs population and the buisinesses of the farmers.

Bloom's Taxonomy Questions:

1. Knowledge
What is the number one killer of the endangered African cheetahs?

2. Comprehension
Describe what was happening before Laurie began her cheetah program?

3. Application
What would result if all of the cheetahs that Laurie took in were tamed like the ambassadors?

4. Analyze
What is the relationship between Laurie’s organization and the local farmers of Namibia?

5. Evaluate
What is your opinion on how Laurie’s organization worked with the farmers by getting them low cost watch dogs and why do you feel that way?

6. Creating
What do you predict will happen in the future? Will Laurie’s organization be able to build the cheetah population to a stable level? Will her affordable watch dog program help to keep the cheetahs from being shot by farmers?

" said.

"For my Intermediate book I choose "Chasing Cheetahs the race to save Africa's Fastest Cats". The content would be Science, Social Studies and English. By using the representing levels of Bloom's Taxonomy, I will start at the bottom and work my way up with questions for students.
REMEMBERING; Who can tell me where the story takes Place?
UNDERSTANDING; Explain why the story has the title that it does?
APPLYING; What questions would you ask if you were to visit the conservatory?
ANALYZING; What motive is there to creating conservatories for animals?
EVALUATING; Justify Laurie's actions in the story? Do you agree with them?
CREATING; After reading this book, what do you predict will happen to Cheetahs in the future?

This book was inspiring, informational, and fun to read. Like myself, I think kids would love to know that Cheetahs are different than the other "Cats" out there, how they do not growl, how hard it really is for them to choose, mate and live with a partner. Knowing that Cheetahs are not predator's to the farmers and the other inhabitants of Africa are simply amazing and that a dog can for the most part solve unnecessary deaths for these animals. It is so amazing how something simple as knowing the correct information can change communities and make it a better place for humans and animals alike.
" said.

"Chasing Cheetahs is an informational text with lots of photographs showing what scientists are doing to save cheetahs and learn about them. In Africa, farmers see cheetahs as vermin because cheetahs hunt the livestock. In turn, farmers have started killing the cheetahs. Laurie, whom this book is mainly about, talks about using Kagal dogs to protect the livestock, and therefore protect them from the cheetahs. She and her team also use border collies to find cheetah poop. They then go into detail about how they collect DNA samples from the poop- which might be quite funny and/or gross to a young reader! It then talks about how they give the cheetahs yearly checkups to keep them healthy so they can live longer. Next Laurie says she loves going to schools in Africa and talking to the children about the animals that live near them. She teaches them to respect these animals instead of being afraid of them. At the end of the book, Laurie encourages the reader to get involved and help animals instead of letting someone else do it.

I liked that there were little fun tidbits thrown in to keep the reader interested such as "fast facts on the fastest cats", and "the crucial role of predators" where you could learn all about cheetahs. I know when I was little I thought cheetahs were the coolest animal, so this book would be good to give someone who loves cats, especially cheetahs.
" said.

"Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop travel to Namibia and visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund's African headquarters. There they learn about the variety of programs the CCF has instituted to rescue cheetahs, reintroduce them to the wild, prevent their deaths, and increase their numbers.

This was a fascinating book in many aspects. The ways the CCF are using dogs and education to save cheetahs from being killed by farmers was fascinating and such a great example of a scientist finding the root cause and instead of pointing a finger finding a way to help both the cheetahs and the farmers. I also appreciated the way this book demonstrated the importance of each species in an ecosystem. It does a fantastic job of demonstrating how the elimination of the top predators can hurt everything down the food chain. If I were still teaching Biology I would definitely use this book as a resource during the ecology and biodiversity unit (the book also explains the harmful effects a limited gene pool is having on cheetahs). So much good science in here, and of course there's the info on the big cats themselves which would probably be enough on its own to draw many readers in. All around an excellent non-fiction book. Interesting enough to be read for fun, and also a rich resource for numerous science classrooms from elementary all the way to AP Bio.

Notes on content: No language issues I remember. No sexual content. The deaths of some animals are mentioned, but not shown.
" said.

"Another terrific entry in the Scientists in the Field series, this one follows the cause of Laurie Marker and her Cheetah Conservation Fund's Namibia compound. Although the work of Marker and her colleagues and staff is fascinating, the cheetahs are the stars here. Readers are informed that the species' numbers plummeted from 100,000 in 1900 to 10,000 presently. Sadly, the demise of the cheetah can be blamed on humans who have killed them out of fear and ignorance. Marker is trying to work with locals to find a way for cheetahs and humans to coexist peacefully, and she enlists the services of Kangal dogs that are raised alongside goats to protect the herders' flocks from predators. Marker is involved in education and rehabilitation projects, and even takes care of orphaned cheetahs. Some of them are painstakingly reintroduced to the wild and then monitored while others, brought to Laurie's workplace at too young an age, remain at the compound and are cared for there. Filled with photographs of the cheetahs and the science team, the book contains sections describing how scat is examined for clues about eating habits. The information provided is fascinating while the writing sparkles--as it always does when Sy Montgomery is at work. The author's awe at the cheetah's ability to move so quickly and at the species' beauty is as evident as her awareness that humans must act to fix the mistakes they've made. She also makes a careful case for why it's a mistake to remove the predators from an area, something the states intent on killing wolves might want to keep in mind. Don't hesitate to add this to your classroom book shelf since it contains a section that describes what young people today can do to save this species from extinction. " said.

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