Trigger warning: creationists might find this review
offensive. Just saying.
"High in a pine tree in Southeast Asia, a Draco lizard searches
for ants to eat. As it swivels its head...
...and stares into the eyes of a deadly paradise tree snake.
The snake lunges!
The Draco leaps out into space. With the ground a hundred feet below,
death seems certain."
But the splat never happens. The creature spreads its ribs and
skin folds into wing like structures and manages to glide away, land
on a safer tree, and resume its task of noshing on ants. It is one of
the fascinating creatures Sneed B. Collard III introduces readers to
in Catching Air: Taking the Leap with Gliding Animals.
(If the author's name seems familiar, we enjoyed his Hopping
Ahead of Climate Change back in May. I was thrilled to see his latest
offering out so soon.)
In addition to the lucky lizzard, you're going to meet a variety
of varmints from all over the world including:
The flying squirrels (I had some as pets once; they are velvet soft)
that can glide 150 feet when a predator is closing in;
The adorable Australian sugar gliders that are actually marsupials,
related to less than cute American possums;
And even gliding frogs, snakes, and fish.
How do they do it? Collard very capably explains the
evolutionary adaptations that endow them with this very useful
talent. Did you know that gliding mammals left fossil remains 125
million years ago? Bet you can't guess what modern day species has
taken up the habit.
Can you believe Collard is the author of over 80 juvenile
science books? I'd say any volume with his name on it would be well
On a personal note, I had the most wonderful night last night!!! The
visiting African scholars are in Maine for six weeks. They are
leaders in their repective countries, very intelligent, thoughtful,
sociable, and great dancers. I was very fortunate to snag an invite
to a dinner and dance in their honor. The meal was delish! Their
company was wonderful. And the hours of dancing were total bliss!!!
I live for nights like that!!!
Cliffhanger: as I post this Joey cat is at Veazie Vet getting his
summer shave and check up. He gets what they call the lion trim.
Everypart of him except head, legs, and stub tail is shaved. He will
be much more comfortable as we move into the humid dog days. He's
still adorable. I'm expecting his check up to go well. But you never
I'll update you in my next post.
A great big shout out goes out to our visiting scholars and all who
host them and coordinate their program and Joey's vet practice.
Sent from my iPod