Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World

Pikas, tiny rabbit relatives living high in the mountains, serve as an entry point toward understanding the consequences of climate change.

Author: Dorothy Hinshaw Patent & Marlo Garnsworthy
Photographer: Dan Hartman
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 32
Ages: 3-5
Grade Levels: K-4
Lexile: 1020L
Hardcover ISBN: 978-1970039023
Price: 17.95
Where to Purchase:

Award Named one of “The Best Children’s Books of the Year” by the Children’s Book Committee and the Bank Street College of Education

Award Received the California Reading Association’s EUREKA! Excellence in Nonfiction Gold Award

“Pikas, tiny rabbit relatives living in high altitudes, serve as an entry point toward understanding the consequences of a warming world. Following At Home With the Beaver, with photos by Michael Runtz (2019), Patent, with co-author Garnsworthy, returns to the idea of the interconnectedness of species with this welcome new title. Hartman’s photographs dramatically illustrate a clear, well-organized text that opens with descriptions of the mountainous “pika country” near Yellowstone National Park and the feisty pikas. Readers first see a pika “scurry, scurry, hurry,” gathering food for the day and for its winter hay pile. There’s a helpful map and photos of the scenery in several seasons. The writers introduce the idea of climate change (printed in boldface and defined, like other important words, in a glossary) and other animals sharing this gradually warming habitat. Not only is the pika’s livable world shrinking as the snowline moves up the mountains, there’s less of an insulating snowpack in winter and fewer hours with appropriate temperatures for foraging in summer. Photos, diagrams (by Garnsworthy), and words work together to demonstrate the food web that includes this tiny mammal and other plants and animals, also threatened by the changing climate, whose lives connect with theirs. In conclusion, final essays explain today’s climate change causes and suggest some personal actions in the realms of transportation, living and eating habits, and sharing information, but no sources or further resources are offered. An effective demonstration of the reverberations of climate change. (Nonfiction. 6-9)” Kirkus Reviews

“Beautifully illustrated with full color photography on each page, “Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World” will take young readers ages 5-9 on a journey to a place they have never ventured before that is beneath a rock pile on a lonely mountain top. There they will meet the pikas, or rock rabbits. These scurrying, squeaking, industrious, and exceedingly cute mammals make their living harvesting grass and wildflowers during the brief alpine summers. But despite the remoteness of their homes, the pikas’ lifestyle and survival are threatened by Climate Change. Children will enjoy following the story of pikas which is told with lavish photographs by Dan Hartman, and the clear prose of collaborative authors Dorothy Patent and Marlo Garnsworthy, and learn how small actions on our part can have global benefits. “Pika Country: Climate Change at the Top of the World” is an extraordinary, fun and informative addition to elementary school and community library Wildlife and Environmental Studies picture book collections and reading lists.”Midwest Book Review

“Pikas may seem cute and cuddly, but in this book they serve as a clear representation of the dangers many species face amid a warming climate. Winner of the National Science Teachers Association Outstanding Science Trade Book Award, this non-fiction resource stands out through its succinct text and large photographs. Elementary school-aged children can learn about the life of pikas in their chilly alpine environment and how climate change endangers them. Authors Dorothy Hinshaw Patent and Marlo Garnsworthy also help frame how the plight of pikas is connected to predators, pollinators, and alpine plants. This helpful climate change resource contains several food web diagrams and is followed up by a definition of climate change, actions we can take in response to it, and a glossary.” –Green Teacher

Click to download Mapping, Research, Nature, Art, Vocabulary and Literature Activities.

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Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Dorothy Hinshaw Patent is the author of more than 100 books for children. She is the recipient of many awards, including the Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild Award for Nonfiction, the New York State Reading Association Charlotte Award, and the Edward O. Wilson Biodiversity Technology Pioneer Award. She lives in Kauai, Hawaii with her husband Greg. To find out more about Dorothy and her books, please go to www.DorothyHinshawPatent.com.


Marlo Garnsworthy

Marlo Garnsworthy is an Australian-American author, illustrator, editor, science communicator, and naturalist. Her published works include fiction and nonfiction, though nonfiction and science are her passion. She has traveled extensively, frequently accompanying scientists working in the field, and spent two months on a scientific research expedition, sailing on an icebreaker from Antarctica through the planet’s roughest seas, in the Southern Ocean. She lives in Wakefield, Rhode Island. You can learn more about Marlo, her books, and her school presentations at www.wordybirdstudio.com.


Dan Hartman

Dan Hartman has lived on the border of Yellowstone National Park for 38 years. Over that time he has seen what loss of habitat can do to a single species. Through his photographs and writings, he has worked to bring awareness to the plight of wildlife. Dan lives in Silvergate, Montana. For more information about Dan and his photographs, visit www.wildlifealongtherockies.homestead.com.