Ricky's Atlas
128 pages, 7 1/2 x 9
18 2-page full color; 30+ small drawings
Release Date:15 May 2016

Ricky's Atlas

Mapping a Land on Fire

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

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 Cascades 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 semi-arid plateau east of the mountains. 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.
Though the book is fiction, once again Li has made a great learning tool. A retired stream ecologist, she bridges the gap between fact and fiction by combining history and scientific observations in the story.'
Jason Howard, Forest History Today
... 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
Judith Li, retired Associate Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Oregon State University, studies stream and riparian food webs. She spent many summers studying stream bugs and fish on the “eastside” where Ricky’s Atlas takes place.  Her first children’s book, the award-winning Ellie’s Log, was based on her experiences at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest in the Oregon Cascades.
M. L. Herring lives on a peach farm in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. She writes and illustrates for Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences, where she is an associate professor and director of communications. Her research, stories, and pictures have appeared in numerous publications for scientists, policy makers, and other perfectly normal people, including Ellie and Ricky.
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