Missoula author Sneed Collard tackles the topic of climate change via an in-depth look at a single species and the consequences of the changes to its environment due to a warmer world.
The snowshoe hare, he tells us, is one of about 20 animals that change the color of their coats to match the colors of the seasons. Hares transform from mottled browns to bright white as summer/fall transitions into a snowy winter, and return to brown hues in the spring. The timing of their molts is tied to hours of daylight, rather than actual weather conditions.
Therefore, in years of little snow or early melts, the snowshoe hare may find itself still sporting a bright white coat when its environment is virtually snowless. This leaves the animal extremely vulnerable to its many enemies, earning it the “cheeseburger-of-the-forest” moniker.
Researchers uncovered many surprising facts about snowshoe hares’ behavior as related to their survival. “The hares seemed to trust in their camouflage, even if they weren’t camouflaged,” notes Collard. Scientists also tell us there is hope that hares may adapt and/or evolve to adjust to changing climate conditions, as have other species in many parts of the world.
Typical of Collard’s writing, the book is packed with scientific information and numerous photos to illustrate the topic. He consulted with over a half-dozen scientists to accumulate material for this highly informative work, suitable for young readers.
Collard is an award-winning author, penning more than 75 titles for young people, ranging from picture books to science books and novels. His 2015 work, Fire Birds – Valuing Natural Wildfires and Burned Forests, was named a Junior Library Guild selection.
– Judy Shafter