One Day in the Alpine Tundra, written by Jean Craighead George, is a part of a series in which Ms. George explores different ecologies through the camping/hiking adventures of young people. In this short chapter book, Johnny Moore is out camping on an alpine tundra where he experiences the peculiar weather patterns and animal activities of the environment before a storm breaks loose over the mountain.
There were several facts that Ms. George mentioned that I found interesting. For example, did you know that the tundra only boasts 200 species of plants and seven species of animals as opposed to the 100 million plant kinds and 500 species of animals that live in the tropics? That’s a huge difference!
Also, I had never read anything about hibernation. Here, Ms. George describes that of a marmot.
The marmot was in the first stage of hibernation. He was sleepy. His head drooped and nodded as he ate. A heavy frost two nights ago had set off his internal sleep clock. He was slowing down toward the hour when he would waddle into his den, put his paws over his nose, tuck his head in his groin and hibernate. His body temperature would drop to almost 34 degrees F., his heart rate would slow down and he would breathe only once or twice a day. In winter torpor he would live through the food-less subzero temperatures under the ice and snow. [pg. 17]
Maybe it was silly of me not to put two and two together, but I never realized that an animal’s body temperature and breathing rate changed during hibernation.
Mating season is mentioned but not described.
Conclusion. Solid. A detailed examination of tundra life that is sure to interest animal-loving children.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret