Children's Literature - Triss RobinsonThis book about dolphins is from the series "The Wild World of Animals." The photographs have captured the grace and beauty of this spectacular mammal. The text on each page is clear and concise, explaining how the dolphins live, what they eat, their close dependency on other dolphins, and how their young are born. By reading the text and studying the photographs, the dolphins' playful nature is shown by their interactions with other sea animals. Even humans have been known to go swimming with these gentle animals. In ancient times the dolphin was sacred and killing them was considered nearly as bad as killing a human. Unfortunately today dolphins are not treated so well. They become tangled in tuna fishing nets and drown. Over the past few decades over twelve million have died. Some countries started refusing to buy tuna caught in dolphin nets. Safer nets are now being used, but the killing of dolphins is still a problem. The photographs are beautifully done. The reader can readily see the beauty of the dolphin's environment. Younger children who still cannot read will be enthralled by these stunning photos. This book includes a glossary at the back of the book to help older readers grasp the full meaning of unfamiliar words that are used to explain important aspects of this beautiful mammal.
School Library JournalGr 3-5-Spectacular color photography dominates these general introductions, but the information is limited. Particularly good are the pictures of dolphins breaching water, leaping high into the air; a head shot of a scarlet macaw delicately eating a piece of fruit; and a full-body shot of a large, coiled snake, its scales gleaming. Narrow columns of text are set against pastel backgrounds and overlaid on the photos; like sidebars, placement is most often on the far left or right of the pages. Each title briefly describes the major physical and behavioral characteristic shared by all of the animals, some distinctive characteristic of a few species, habitats, diets, birth and care of young, etc. The last sections outline the animals' relationship to humans, e.g., their appearance in myths and folklore, commercial exploitation, etc. Although the books are clearly written, the space allotted to the texts is relatively small; as a result, there is little detail on any subject. Also, while the photos are of outstanding quality, they are often only tangentially connected to the texts, particularly in the first two titles. For example, in Parrots, a column discussing how the birds' best defense against predators is flying in flocks accompanies a shot of a single macaw in flight. Picture captions, which are tacked on to the bottoms of texts, are set in very small print, which some children will find difficult to read. Students doing research will have to go elsewhere for more facts about these animals.-Karey Wehner, formerly at San Francisco Public Library Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
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