Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of Papua New Guinea
(Scientists in the Field Series)
Houghton Mifflin, ISBN 0618496416
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo

“Montgomery and Bishop team up again (The Tarantula Scientist, rev. 7/04) on a Scientists in the Field nature adventure, this time traveling with scientist Lisa Dabek to the remote mountains of New Guinea in search of the rare Matschie’s tree kangaroo. Accompanied by a team of scientists, local residents, and an artist, Dabek intends to locate and radio-collar as many tree kangaroos as possible in order to collect data on their movements over time. Montgomery describes the trip in detail, including arriving at the field site on a tiny missionary plane, visiting a local school to observe a conservation lesson, hiking deep into the cloud forest, and eventually examining and tagging several tree kangaroos. Montgomery’s friendliness and curiosity set the tone: she enthusiastically engages with the people, plants, and animals she encounters on the trip. The realities of field work, with long periods of not much happening scientifically, give her time to include descriptions of camp life in a remote location, such as campfire cooking and bathing in streams. Bishop’s photography is, as always, outstanding, and seamlessly integrated into the narrative. The brilliant colors and sharp focus capture a host of rainforest plants and animals up close, including the adorably fuzzy tree kangaroos. Equally absorbing are his photos of the local residents and the research team as they visit and camp together. Dabek’s advice to young naturalists, websites for further information, a list of words and phrases in the local language, and an index are useful additions.”
—The Horn Book


“In the engaging Quest for the Tree Kangaroo (Houghton Mifflin, $18; ages 10-14), Sy Montgomery recounts a two-week expedition to investigate the famously elusive and increasingly rare Matschie’s tree kangaroo. Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop tagged along with scientist Lisa Dabek as she journeyed to where these cuddly-looking creatures make their homes, an area of Papua New Guinea’s cloud forest so isolated that it can be reached only by an arduous three-day trek. Together, Montgomery and Bishop convey the challenges of such an expedition, which involves several other scientists and a contingent of locals who carry gear and provide valuable assistance as guides. Bishop’s sharply focused photographs have a “you are there” quality, while Montgomery vividly captures the scientists’ excitement when they snare several tree kangaroos — each the size of a small dog or overweight cat — to fit them with radio collars for tracking from afar.”
—The Washington Post


STARRED REVIEW: “The writer and photographer of this exemplary description of science field work accompanied researcher Lisa Dabek on an expedition high in New Guinea’s mountains to study tree kangaroos and promote the conservation of this elusive and endangered species. With early references to Dr. Seuss and hobbits, Montgomery connects the world of the young reader to this beautiful, distant place. She paces her narrative well, alternating focus on people and place, keeping the reader engaged and concerned about the expedition’s success. As in other books in the series, she describes how local schoolchildren are involved. Her detailed account highlights scientific work habits, including extensive planning, necessary patience, careful observations and recording and the continual questions that arise.… Bishop’s photographs, shots of the expedition members, striking close-ups of flora and fauna including the sought-for kangaroo and lush, green cloud forest scenes, are beautifully reproduced. From the maps in front to the concluding suggestions for young enthusiasts, information about the language, and index, this is another commendable title from an experienced team. (Nonfiction. 10-14)”
—Kirkus


“Bishop’s photography is stunning portraiture… the tree kangaroo is marketably adorable…
… There’s plenty of evocative description of their habitat, thoughtful exploration of the role the locals play in conserving the animals, and revealing information about the rigors of this kind of scientific project… Personal focus and as-it-happens eventfulness will absorb young animal lovers.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


“Montgomery and Bishop follow award-winning titles such as The Tarantula Scientist (2004) with another beautifully illustrated entry…This time they join researchers on a grueling expedition in Papua New Guinea to track the rare Matchie’s Tree Kangaroo. Montgomery gives a chronological, sometimes moment-by-moment account of the challenging climb into the remote cloud forest, the conditions in camp (rice-and-fern dinners; icy waterfall showers) and the awe-inspiring encounters with barely studied animals… Montgomery gives an unusually strong, visceral sense of the work and cooperation fieldwork entails and the scope and uniqueness of this particular mission. She also communicates the thrill of studying animals in the wild, making observations, and discovering new information. As usual, Bishop’s color photographs are exemplary and extend the excitement in close-ups of creatures and of the team at work.”
—BOOKLIST, Starred Review