Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cats

Montgomery, Sy. Photographs by Nic Bishop. Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa's Fastest Cats. Houghton, 2014. 80pp. Lexile 1000.

Another outstanding entry in the Scientists in the Field series, this introduces Laurie Marker, an American scientist who has opened a clinic in Namibia to help save cheetahs.  The excellent team of writer Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop spends time at the clinic and out in the field with the scientists.  They participate in an annual physical checkup of a cheetah, including a dental check that shows the cheetah will need a root canal next year.  They accompany other volunteers into the savanna to take a census of the animals.  The text and photographs present facts about this remarkable animal and the efforts to keep it from extinction. The book brims over with helpful material including a map, resources list, index, and even "advice for saving world" from Marker.

Reading Std #5: Analyze the structure of texts, including how specific sentences, paragraphs, and/or larger portions of the text relate to each other and the whole. Like other books in the series, this photo-essay weaves together the story of a specific scientist and how she came to do this work; a sampling of her everyday activities as a scientist; a strong sense of setting; and lots of information about the book's focus, in this case, the cheetahs.  Have students examine the structure that Montgomery uses to integrate these topics, and how the photographs contribute to the balance.  Students can create a quick outline to illustrate their analysis.