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The Tarantula Scientist

by Sy Montgomery
Photographed by Nic Bishop

Published by Houghton Mifflin, 2004
80 pages
ISBN: 0-618-14799-3

Ages 9 - 14

Next time you marvel at the size of that hefty spider lurking in a corner of the basement, consider the Goliath birdeater tarantula. In this captivating volume, one especially vivid description states that "with outstretched legs, this spider could cover your whole face." Although many children and adults would be inclined to run in the opposite direction if confronted with a member of the largest spider species on earth, arachnologist Sam Marshall devotes his professional life to studying the Goliath and other tarantulas, both in their natural environment and in his lab at Hiram College. The book opens with one of Marshall's research trips to French Guiana, where readers share the pain, sweat, dirt, and occasional excitement of field work. Later on, back in Ohio, the scientist is shown working with the data he collected in South America, as well as mentoring undergraduate students conducting their own spider research. In addition to providing insight into a scientist's daily work, a substantial amount of information about tarantulas is delivered within the text and enhanced by first-rate color photographs. Longer and denser than some of the earlier entries in this series, The Tarantula Scientist continues to hold to a high standard of excellence. And, as we've come to expect, the portrayal of a contemporary scientist's enthusiasm and passion for his field of study remains a standout feature. (MVL) 2004 Cooperative Children's Book Center

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