Paper pub. date
May 2016
ISBN 9780870718427 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870718434 (ebook)
7 x 9.5, 128 pages. 18 2-page full color illustrations; over 30 pen and ink line drawings.
Now Available as an Adobe Digital Edition

Ricky’s Atlas

Mapping a Land on Fire

M. L. Herring and Judith L. Li
Illustrations by M. L. Herring

In this sequel to Ellie’s Log: Exploring the Forest Where the Great Tree Fell, Ricky Zamora brings his love of map-making and his boundless curiosity to the arid landscapes east of the Cascade Mountains. He arrives during a wild thunderstorm, and watches his family and their neighbors scramble to deal with a wildfire sparked by lightning. Joined by his friend Ellie, he sees how plants, animals, and people adjust to life with wildfires.

While hiking across a natural prairie, climbing up a fire tower, and studying historical photos and maps, Ricky and Ellie learn about the role of fire in shaping the landscape of the eastern semi-arid plateau. They experience the scary days of wildfire in progress, explore a gritty site after a wildfire, and discover how some plants and animals depend on fire to survive.

Color pen-and-ink drawings accompany the text and vividly illustrate plants, animals, and events encountered in this exciting summer adventure. With his friend Ellie, Ricky creates a brightly colored diary of the fire, with maps, timelines, and sketches of what they see in this fire-prone land. Ricky’s notebook about his summer visit to his uncle’s ranch becomes an atlas of fire ecology, weather patterns, and life in the rain shadow.

Upper elementary kids will enjoy the mixture of amazing adventures with actual historical, physical, and ecological data about the region. Woven into the story are the small pleasures of ranch life, intriguing histories of Native Americans and early settlers, and almost unbelievable views of ancient fossils. Ricky and Ellie’s explorations, accompanied by their hand-written notes, introduce readers to a very special landscape and history east of the mountains.

American Association for the Advancement of Science / Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Best Hands-On Science Book 2017

About the author

M. L. Herring lives on a peach farm in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, where she writes and illustrates works of science. She is an associate professor emeritus of science communication at Oregon State University.

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Judith L. Li, retired Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, is a stream ecologist who studies aquatic bugs and riparian food webs.She is the editor of To Harvest ,To Huntand coeditor of Wading for Bugs. She enjoys sharing science with young students and contributing to citizen science programs.

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"... there is such a richness to the illustrations and information that this book has much to offer to older readers and could even find use in a classroom setting as part of a science unit on ecology."

Marc Lavine, Science

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