The Tapir Scientist

Have you seen the newest middle grade nonfiction by the award-winning pair of author Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishopthe-tapir-scientist yet? The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal (Scientists in the Field Series) features the work of scientist Patricia Medici and her team in the Pantanal region of Brazil.

A veteran of the Scientists in the Field series, Sy Montgomery’s text gives just the right amount of excitement and wonder, without being overwhelming. Being on the scene allows her to give a blow-by-blow account that brings the reader right into the story.

Give a camera to Nic Bishop and of course he can’t ignore the other wildlife in the region. His gorgeous photographs of birds, snakes, giant anteaters and more add interest and local flavor to the main theme.

The stars of the book, however, are the tapirs themselves. What are tapirs and why study them? Tapirs are unusual-looking animals with long noses that we know little about. There are four different kinds in the world: Malayan, Bairds’s, mountain and lowland. This book concentrates on the lowland tapir that lives both in grasslands and rainforests of Brazil. Because they eat large quantities of fruit, these elusive creatures move seeds from place to place, serving an important role in the ecosystem.

Ready to fall in love with tapirs? Check out this baby Malayan tapir born recently at the Minnesota Zoo (more photos and another video here).

The baby lowland tapirs also have this curious stripy look.

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal is an obvious choice for future scientists and veterinarians, but also could be tied with units on rainforests, conservation, and geography lessons on Brazil.

Fabulous! Where were these books when I was a child?

Age Range: 10 and up
Grade Level: 5 – 9
Series: Scientists in the Field Series
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (July 23, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0547815484
ISBN-13: 978-0547815480

Our family’s love affair with tapirs started with a childhood toy, which would make a fun addition to the book even for older children.


Aurora Flopsies TAPIR 8″ Plush


Mojo Fun 387178 Brazilian Tapir – Realistic International Wildlife Toy Replica – New for 2013!

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.



Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. We invite you to join us. For more information and a schedule, stop by Booktalking to see who is hosting each week.

Today’s round up is at Perogies & Gyoza.