Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Chasing Jaguars (Wild Survival #3)

Melissa Cristina Márquez. Chasing Jaguars (Wild Survival #3)
April 5th 2022 by Scholastic Paperbacks
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

The Villalobos family is back for another adventure after Crocodile Rescue and Swimming with Sharks. Adrianna and her brother Feye are still worried about the poachers they've seen in both stories, and the involvement of their producer, Mr. Savage, with these people. They are excited to head to Mexico on their latest adventure since they have their father's family there (their mother is from Puerto Rico). They are trying to locate an injured and endangered jaguar and help it, but when they arrive, they find that local farmers are not happy with the jaguar population, because their livestock are targets of the predatory animals. They get help from Daniela Corrales Gutiérrez , a local scientist, and her children, Mónica and Leo.  Gutiérrez is tagging and tracking jaguars with satellite collars in order to protect the population, and also uses cameras to check on the animals in the wild. The group also goes to visit Gutiérrez' husband, Manolo, who studies endangered porpoises, the vaquita. While there, Adrianna gets stung by a poisonous scorpion, and when the crew's first aid kit is out of anti-venom, has a scary experience with her arm going numb. Luckily, despite some lingering pain, the injury is not too severe. Will she and her family be able to find the injured jaguar, or will the poachers reappear and get to it first?
Strengths: Márquez does a great job of describing locations which seem exotic to me while outlining the environmental challenges faced by the wildlife there. She also manages to insert exciting scenes, like Adriann's injuries or the struggles with the poachers. There are not as many books about environmental issues as there should be, especially since young readers are very interested in animals and helping to save them. If this series shows up in your Scholastic book fair, make sure you request extras. This could be the last book in the series, although there could possibly be another one. 
Weaknesses: There is a lovely glossary of Spanish language terms at the end of the book, but I wish it had been in alphabetical order. I imagine that it was in the order that the words appeared in the text, but since I was reading an e book, I couldn't easily flip back and forth. The words are easy to understand through context, but it would be easier to find a term if the list were organized. 
What I really think: I am looking forward to some slightly longer stand alones from Márquez that are also set in interesting locations and have environmental themes. Her books are well-written, the characters are engaging, and she deserves to be in hard cover!
Ms. Yingling

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