Book of My Choosing - 2019 · Book Review · Middle Grade · Nonfiction · Young Adult

Book Review: Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom by Rebecca L. Johnson



Title: Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom: Life in the Dead Zone
Author: Rebecca L. Johnson
Pages: 88

Genre: Non-Fiction, Wildlife, Animals, Science, History, Middle Grade, Young Adult
Story Perspective: Third-Person
Themes: Consequences, Animal Care, Research

Publication Date: August 1, 2014 
 Twenty-First Century Books



In this photographic account, readers can look into the effects that Chernobyl, the 1986 nuclear explosion, had and continues to have on the wildlife surrounding the area.

my review

My husband and I recently finished the HBO mini-series, Chernobyl (which I highly recommend!), and since then I’ve been fascinated about the traumatic and frightening incident. Due to this, I picked this goodie up at my local library and really enjoyed it.

Normally, non-fiction can be a genre that can really be a turn-off for me, depending on how the facts are presented. Many times for me, the material can seem rather dry or stale and I don’t make it far into the book. Luckily, this wasn’t the case in Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom. I was captivated the entire time in this short read and appreciated the author’s ability to convey the information in a simple and engrossing way.

One of the interesting facts that I learned was about how little voles are affected by the radioactive dirt and area. One would think since these rodents travel specifically on the ground and perhaps beneath, they would be one of the more affected creatures, but nope! Scientists continually observe and jot down observations of the wildlife, and the voles seem to be relatively healthy and “normal”. Birds, on the other hand, can still have some negative affects being around the area. There were photos of birds with tumors included in the book…the poor creatures. Since closing off the area for human living and activity, several animals have flourished and species that were once in danger have grown. Of course, it isn’t due to the radiation, but to the fact that there aren’t as many people visiting the area. However, it’s still a neat fact to learn.

I also found it interesting to know that there are people who currently live in the exclusion zones of Chernobyl. These people were first evacuated, but then returned back on their own accord. Many of them are of the older generations who would like to live out the rest of their time in familiar and comforting surroundings.

Overall, I truly enjoyed Chernobyl’s Wild Kingdom, and wouldn’t mind checking out Ms. Johnson’s other works.

My Rating5 stars


I would recommend this to middle grade, young adult, and adults (like me) who can only handle some doses of history. This book would specifically be good for those who enjoy reading about wildlife.

Number of books of my choosing versus for review:

8 out of 52 books of my choosing for 2019
7 books for review for 2019

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