Salmon Storyby Brenda Z. Guiberson
Describes the salmon's life journey to the sea and back, and the threat posed by pollution, commercial fishing, and other factors.
School Library JournalGr 2-4-A simple narrative for transitional readers. The description of the Pacific salmon's life cycle reads like an adventure story, for its history is rich in Indian lore. The account of its present status outlines the abuses of the environment that began with westward expansion and presents hopeful solutions that scientists have begun to effect. The sentence structure is questionable at times, and the Native American myths mentioned lose their flavor when abstracted. However, a good ecological picture is drawn, with a lucid explanation of how environmental abuses affect the balance of nature. Informative black-and-white photos and illustrations, including some simple flow charts, clarify and strengthen the text. An accessible index completes this solid, basic nonfiction entry. No mention is made of the Atlantic salmon, eloquently portrayed in Bianca Lavies's The Atlantic Salmon (Dutton, 1992).-Susan Oliver, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System
Hazel RochmanGuiberson describes the dramatic life cycle of the Pacific salmon, including its instinctive ability to travel thousands of miles to the ocean and later return to spawn in the very stream where it was born. She shows how the natural balance worked well for centuries while the Plateau and Northwest Coast Indians lived off the salmon but took only what they needed. Now, however, the salmon is in grave danger, its numbers greatly reduced by human pollution and interference. In a final section, Guiberson describes the rescue plan being carried out by scientists, farmers, and many concerned groups. The nature writing is precise and plain, allowing the facts to speak for themselves, both the wonder of the natural instinct ("they leap over waterfalls and huge rocks . . . They know where they are going and will do anything they can to get there") and the anguish of how that natural journey is being dammed up and destroyed ("Salmon never turn back; they never quit . . . they slammed against the concrete wall until finally they died"). For research papers and for personal reading, this makes ecology urgent and compelling. The cover is a bright color photo; illustrations were unseen in galley; no source notes or bibliography.
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