Scott, Traer. Nocturne: Creatures of the Night. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2014. 978-1-61689-288-3. 126 p. $19.95. Gr. 6+.
This is a beautiful, rare glimpse into the lives of nocturnal animals from Traer Scott, who is also the author/photographer of Shelter Dogs. Working with wildlife rehabilitation centers, educational facilities, and conservation-oriented zoos, Scott used a “Little Black Box” made of foam core to photograph smaller animals and insects. Larger animals required a more creative approach, and the results are uniformly stunning and intimate. Included here are exotic animals such as a snow leopard, red panda, serval, and small-eared galago. There are more familiar faces, too, such as a raccoon, beaver, hedgehog, and domestic cat. Scott captures a remarkable range of both personality and pathos in the eyes of these elusive creatures of the night. Each photo spread is accompanied by a paragraph of text that explains the animal’s characteristics, habitat, and challenges to survival. The author notes that many of the animals seen in Nocturne were injured or orphaned, and they now serve as “wildlife ambassadors,” inspiring people (especially children) to care about nature. She concludes the book with a brief overview of the critical threats nocturnal animals face (habitat loss, poaching, and light pollution), and organizations that work to protect animals and their habitats through conservation. It’s a deceptively simple book that will support STEM curriculum, inspire research on endangered species, and catch the interest of casual browsers in the nonfiction section.
Science Amy V. Pickett, Ridley High School
After reading this book, I was inspired to “adopt” a fennec fox through the World Wildlife Federation as a Christmas gift for my best friend. Doing a small fundraiser and adopting one of the featured animals would make for a fun, rewarding enrichment activity for a Biology class!