Fall 2023

Mysterious Glowing Mammals

An Unexpected Discovery Sparks a Scientific Investigation

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Late one night, ecologist Jonathan Martin was searching for tree frogs in his Wisconsin backyard when he made an unexpected discovery. As he shined an ultraviolet flashlight in the direction of a high-pitched chirp, Martin saw a flash of bright pink at his bird feeder. That pink glow was coming from a flying squirrel. What was going on?

You’re probably familiar with some kinds of glowing animals. Fireflies light up summer nights. Bioluminescent jellyfish and other sea creatures fill our oceans. But some animals glow only under ultraviolet light. This is called biofluorescence. That flying squirrel Martin found turned out to be one of the first-ever recorded sightings of a biofluorescent mammal.

Follow along with Martin and his colleagues as they delve into the mystery of the flying squirrels and discover that they aren’t the only glowing mammals out there!

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Science
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Expository Literature, Animals, STEM, STEM: Interdisciplinary, STEM: Life Science/Animals, STEM: Technology
Copyright 2024
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 56
Publication Date 2023-09-05
Text Type Informational/Explanatory
BISACS JNF003320, JNF051150, JNF051070
Dewey 599
Dimensions 8 x 10
Guided Reading Level X
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Glossary, Index, Maps, Page Plus™, Photo captions, Primary source quotations/images, Reviewed, Sidebars, Source notes, Starred Reviews, and Table of contents

Author: Maria Parrott-Ryan

Maria Parrott-Ryan is a writer and editor based in Madison, Wisconsin. She writes fiction, nonfiction, and educational material for both children and adults.


  • Great Lakes Great Books Award Nominee, Nominated, 2024
  • Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choices, Winner, 2024


School Library Journal

“Young explorers are encouraged to think critically, look at the varying perspectives of a new discovery, and seek out their own observations. A must-purchase for collections serving curious minds, suitable for upper elementary or middle grades.” —starred, School Library Journal


“Stellar storytelling sure to make a citizen scientist out of any curious reader.” — Booklist