Fish in the Desert

The Untold Story of the Death Valley Pupfish

Children - Educational
31 Pages
Reviewed on 11/28/2023
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Author Biography

We are David and Gisa, lovers of national parks and nature! We wrote a children's book series, Bringing National Parks to Life, to share our love for nature and science. We want to inspire others to be good stewards of the earth and natural places by emphasizing the importance of taking care of animals and wildlife.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

Discover fascinating facts about the unique pupfish and other animals in the delightful children’s story, Fish in the Desert: The Untold Story of the Death Valley Pupfish by Adalgisa and David Nico. Though she is still recovering from a sports injury, Adele is excited to visit Death Valley with her family and see the amazing animals that live in this harsh habitat. The family first stops at the Badwater Basin, a huge salt flat that was once a lake. Adele is excited to discover fish living in the hot climate. Marjorie, who is Death Valley’s aquatic ecologist, explains where the Salt Creek pupfish and other species of pupfish live and how they survive as the seasons change. Adele is inspired by their resilience and captivated by other animals they encounter.

This is a wonderful story that overflows with educational detail and useful lessons that will empower young readers. Adele is an engaging main character who learns lessons about resilience and adapting that will resonate with young and adult readers. Having never heard of the pupfish species before, I was especially thrilled by the different types there are and loved learning about their various habitats. Young readers will enjoy the activities included that involve learning about the wildlife in the story. There are important discussions about how to help preserve pupfish and reduce climate change which are accompanied by practical suggestions about how children can get involved. The brilliant illustrations enliven the work and help portray the animals in the story. The glossary and the map of the areas visited were also helpful. Fish in the Desert by Adalgisa and David Nico is an outstanding children’s work with enthralling adventures and facts. It is an unforgettable read for young and adult readers and all nature lovers.

Essien Asian

The time has come around for another road trip and this time Adele's parents have spared no expense to prepare the family for a visit to the Death Valley National Park. As with trips like these, Adele looks forward to the new sights and sounds that come with exploring the great outdoors but this time it will not be business as usual. This is because Adele hurt her leg and has to move around with a cast. What do you think this inquisitive young lady and her parents will discover on this trip? Join them as they encounter new friends both human and animal in Fish In The Desert written by Adalgisa Nico and David Nico and illustrated by Andy Atkins.

We get a first-hand introduction to a little fish that has been around for millions of years in this collaboration between Adalgisa Nico and David Nico. Fish in the Desert is a children's picture book that focuses on the lifecycle of the Death Valley pupfish. Despite its adult-sounding title, the duo uses sentences in a simplistic format which is easy for little ones to read as well as understand. The information on the pupfish is thorough as even the small details about this species are taken into account in the book. Andy Atkins's illustrations are simply top-notch as he uses vibrant colors and drawings that make the young reader wish they were outdoors doing the exploration themselves. The glossary of big words is a timely addition that would help readers with their vocabulary but I consider the masterstroke in this book to be the way a clinic on pupfish is linked to the importance of maintaining the ecosystem we live in. This is a lovely book that could easily spark an appreciation of nature in the young reader.

Philip Van Heusen

Deserts are dead! Or are they? Most people believe deserts are desolate, dry areas with no life. Reading Fish in the Desert by Adalgisa and David Nico will really surprise them. It turns out that even deserts like Death Valley and its Badwater Basin, which is dry and salt-crusted, have an abundance of life including aquatic life such as the Salt Creek Pupfish and its cousins. This children’s picture book follows a family’s adventure as they explore and learn all about different parts of Death Valley. Not only will this book entertain young children, but it will educate them as well with illustrations, a glossary, and information on how they can help preserve desert life as well as the earth. Each of the various sub-species of pupfish is endemic to its location. Read this book with and to your children and watch their faces light up as they have fun while they learn.

If you love nature, you will adore Fish in the Desert by Adalgisa and David Nico as it tells the amazing story of the survival of animals and plants in the blazing heat of Death Valley. This book is the first in a series called Bringing National Parks to Life, encouraging children to visit the various national parks. Adalgisa and David write in a conversational manner that is as easy to read as it is exciting. The illustrator, Andy Atkins, does an excellent job depicting the events of the story. At the end of the book, the authors share scientific knowledge and include a treasure hunt to find the different animals throughout the story. This is the book for any animal or nature lover! It is a great introduction to the various living creatures found in the inhospitable environments we call deserts.

Keith Mbuya

What would you do if you were supposed to visit an amazing place but you hurt your leg and ended up wearing a cast? That’s pretty simple for Adele; she would still go. Adele had hurt her leg playing soccer, but that did not stop her from tagging along when her family decided to visit Death Valley National Park. Adele meets Marjorie, the Aquatic Ecologist for Death Valley. Adele is thrilled to learn about the history of Death Valley and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, and the fascinating places and creatures found in this paradise of Mother Nature’s wonders, among these being the different species of Death Valley Pupfish. Get yourself Adalgisa and David Nico’s Fish in the Desert: The Untold Story of the Death Valley Pupfish, and join Adele, as she is guided by Marjorie on her incredible journey of discovery.

If you are looking for children's picture and adventure books based on wildlife and nature, Adalgisa and David Nico’s Fish in the Desert is a must-read for you. Brace yourself because you’ll be in for an adventurous ride once you open this book. I can only describe the pictures in the book as magnificent art. They uniquely capture the breathtaking views of Death Valley, not losing the adventurous hint surrounding the park. I learned a lot from the enthralling facts about the park and the wildlife refuge. Did you know that almost every pool of water in the valley has a distinct species of Pupfish? The authors’ enlightening choice of words will teach kids a lot about wildlife. Kids will also learn the importance of environmental conservation and its impact on wildlife. This book just made me want to visit Death Valley National Park and experience its beauty for myself.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

Adele’s excitement over her family trip to the Death Valley National Park was slightly dampened by the fact that her leg was in a cast. However, once there, she met an enthusiastic ecologist who introduced her to the Desert Valley pupfish. As they discussed various aspects of pupfish biology, Adele realized that her discomfort over her injury had lessened. How can the story of an amazing fish species affect her views on life? Find out in Fish in the Desert: The Untold Story of the Death Valley Pupfish, written by Adalgisa and David Nico and illustrated by Andy Atkins.

The author duo and the illustrator poured every ounce of their love for the natural world into this book. Their passion and experiences made Fish in the Desert a one-of-a-kind read, easily enthralling readers and making them curious to know more. It boasts interesting tidbits about pupfish habits, habitats, and evolutionary history. Adalgisa and David Nico dispense these pieces of information in easily digestible packages, never overwhelming readers. The glossary explains the related terms, and the end notes give readers deeper insights into pupfish biology. The book enriches readers’ knowledge about biodiversity, speciation, and conservation efforts while making us aware of our impact on the environment. I loved Atkins’ illustrations of the unending harsh vista with scattered aquifers that make the book come alive. Portraying the same area in different seasons or distant epochs makes us appreciate the short-term and long-term changes. While Fish in the Desert is geared primarily toward a younger audience, readers of all ages will love it.