Survival at 40 Below
by Miller, Debbie S.; Van Zyle, Jon (ILT)

A follow-up to the award-winning Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights describes the extreme environmental conditions that tundra wildlife endure in the winter, from the cooling and warming cycles of the ground squirrel to the partial-freeze hibernation of the wood frog.

Debbie S. Miller has written many acclaimed books, including Arctic Lights, Arctic Nights and Big Alaska. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Jon Van Zyle is a noted children's book illustrator and the official artist of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Jon lives with his wife and their Siberian huskies in Eagle, River, Alaska.

Miller takes readers to Gates of the Arctic National Park in northern Alaska to observe animals collecting and storing food, preparing for "eight months of snow." As temperatures fall, a frog burrows into fallen leaves and prepares its body for near-frozen hibernation; a chickadee fluffs his feathers and lowers his temperature and metabolism; and caribou sniff out and forage for lichen hidden beneath the snow. The book describes how many different species' physical adaptations and behaviors keep them alive through the winter. From sweeping landscapes to close-ups, skillful acrylic paintings help readers visualize the setting and the animals that live there. An author's note, a glossary, and recommended books and Internet sites are appended. With more detailed information than one might expect from the picture-book format, this will be a good addition to classroom units on animals in winter. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Focusing on the fauna that make their home in Gates of the Arctic National Park, Miller explores the many different kinds of adaptations that allow these animals to survive the brutal winters. From caribou and blackfish to Arctic fox and chickadee, most rely on physical characteristics. In preparation for winter, the wood frog literally freezes, flooding its body with glucose to prevent damage from ice crystals. The musk ox is naturally suited to the cold, with thick wool, short legs and small ears. In addition to their physical adaptations, these animals must feed and shelter themselves. The ptarmigan plunges into the powdery snow to survive nighttime temperatures, while the squirrel stores a cache of food to last the winter. The author segues nicely into spring, giving readers a sense of the full cycle of a year. Van Zyle's acrylic artwork realistically portrays both the animals and their Arctic habitat. Predominantly blue, brown and white, the paintings evoke the harsh climate of northern Alaska. A fascinating look at the great diversity of animal adaptations, as well as an introduction to some lesser-known species. (author's note, glossary, map, additional sources) (Informational picture book. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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