Great Illustrated Books

Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea (Scientists in the Field Series)

By Sy Montgomery, Photographs by Nic Bishop

Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2006
Pages : 80
Suggested Ages: 9 and Up
ISBN: 0618496416

As part of the "Scientists in the Field" series, author Sy Montgomery has written another stellar profile of an admirable and committed scientist, animal-lover Lisa Dabek, a woman who has spent the past 20 years trekking through the cloud forests of New Guinea, studying the Matschie's (MATCH-EEZ) tree kangaroo of New Guinea. Dabek encountered her first one in the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle when she was a graduate student. "It looked like a big stuffed animal," she says. Once she learned that the Matschie's tree kangaroo, one of 10 kinds of kangaroos, is one of the rarest animals on earth, she was hooked. Dabek has always loved animals but has been allergic to fur since elementary school, and grew up with asthma. Nevertheless, now she climbs mountains, leading teams of scientists and volunteers in the search for tree kangaroos, looking for answers to simple questions: What do they eat? How many are left? What do they need to survive?

Sy Montgomery and photographer Nic Bishop didn't just supply text and photographs; they went along on one of Dabek's expeditions to New Guinea, and this was no walk in the park. Bishop's glorious color photographs chronicle the group's grueling expedition on foot up into the cloud forest, 10,000 feet high, to track the elusive marsupials, easily the cutest mammals you've ever seen, and find out more about them and about the people who live in New Guinea.

I'm a huge fan of the whole Scientists in the Field series. These are down-to-earth books, beautifully designed color photo-filled essays, that introduce scientists who are devoted to their work. This one won a well-deserved Sibert Honor for distinguished informational books. Lisa Dabek offers practical advice to children who love and want to study or learn to protect animals. First, she says, "Follow your passion!" Find more pictures of tree kangaroos at

Reviewed by : JF.


If you love this book, then try:

Bishop, Nic. Digging for Bird-Dinosaurs: An Expedition to Madagascar. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Bishop, Nic. Nic Bishop's Marsupials. Scholastic, 2009.

Collard, Sneed B., III. Pocket Babies and Other Marsupials. Darby Creek, 2007.

Montgomery, Sy. Encantado: Pink Dolphin of the Amazon. Houghton Mifflin, 2002.

Montgomery, Sy. The Man-Eating Tigers of Sundarbans. Houghton Mifflin, 2001.

Montgomery, Sy. Saving the Ghost of the Mountain: An Expedition Among Snow Leopards in Mongolia. (Scientists in the Field series) Houghton Mifflin, 2009.

Montgomery, Sy. Search for the Golden Moon Bear: Science and Adventure in the Asian Tropics. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Montgomery, Sy. The Snake Scientist. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Montgomery, Sy. The Tarantula Scientist. (Scientists in the Field series) Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. When the Wolves Returned: Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone. Walker, 2008.

Swinburne, Stephen R. Once a Wolf: How Wildlife Biologists Fought to Bring Back the Gray Wolf. Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Turner, Pamela S. The Frog Scientist. (Scientists in the Field series) Houghton Mifflin, 2009.

Turner, Pamela S. Gorilla Doctors: Saving Endangered Great Apes. (Scientists in the Field series) Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Critics have said

"The book's fascinating glimpses into a little-explored region will hold the attention of anyone interested in unusual creatures and the efforts to study them."
School Library Journal