HMH Books for Young Readers, ISBN 978-0544352995
“Montgomery thoroughly mines the social and economic effects the piabas have on locals alongside an in-depth exploration of the Amazon river and its ecosystems. The science and sociology are interesting and unusual, and the narrative itself enthralling… A true-to-form installment in a valuable series.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Their trip is reported smoothly and illustrated with well-chosen photographs… An adventure that might help protect an ecosystem.”
“Color photographs (many underwater) and captivating, take-you-there storytelling immerse readers in the ecosystem . . . An expansive and engaging story of biological interconnectedness and beauty.”
“The peripatetic Ms. Montgomery is off again, this time to the Brazilian town of Barcelos on the Rio Negro, one of the two rivers that become the Amazon. The town’s big industry is the harvesting of tropical fish, those dazzling tank inhabitants familiar from pet-store displays, and scientists are partnering with the locals to keep that industry competitive and ecological.
“It might be surprising that biologists are favoring the removal of animals from the wild, but Montgomery makes the advantages clear: the hand-harvesting means the species are at no risk of endangerment, the river’s health stays economically important, new species get discovered, and the locals don’t have to turn to rainforest-destroying agriculture for their incomes.
“The book also explores the life of the piabeiros (the fishers) and their town, chronicling the annual Ornamental Fish Festival where people divide up into teams allied with particular fish and create glorious spectacles with costumes and dance; brief interpolations on the Amazon, its pink dolphins, the local tarantulas, and other aspects of the region add breadth. This effectively hits the marks of some previous Scientists in the Field titles by tying the ecology of a region to the economy of its inhabitants, and it makes that often complicated connection accessible and logical in its Amazonian context.”
— The Bulletin for the Center of Children’s Books