Children's Literature - Judy CrowderDiscovering the biggest of anything has fascinated humankind since the beginning of time. Finding the biggest sharks has been a lifelong passion of diver Jeffrey Rotman, but, he warns, biggest does not necessarily mean most dangerous. In this book, part of the “Shark Expedition” series, the diver/undersea photographer seeks out the gentlest shark, the whale shark, with its average length of thirty-two feet (maximum size: forty-five feet), maximum weight of fifteen tons and life span of one hundred years or more. Rotman describes diving in Ningaloo Reef, off the coast of Australia with fellow diver and shark advocate Rodney Fox. A terrifying experience? No. Scientists believe this filter feeder does not use its teeth to bite or chew. What of a human accidentally fell into a whale shark’s huge mouth? “He would simply spit you back out.” Rotman describes his dive in dramatic detail, even pausing to answer the question of why divers enter the water by diving backwards out of a boat. The book goes on to describe the basking shark, so named because it swims near the surface as if basking in the sun. It took Rotman many trips to get a good photograph because basking sharks do not like to swim near divers; they are shy and easily frightened. Photographing giant manta rays was another daunting task for Rotman, who teamed up with a group of divers in the deep waters south of Mexico’s Baja California. His photos of these huge rays are dramatic and colorful, as are all of the book’s photo illustrations. The author captures Rotman’s awe of the giant sharks, and provides plenty of information on each shark cousin. The book concludes with a guardedly optimistic prediction of these giants’ future, and includes a glossary, book list and internet sites. Beautifully done. Reviewer: Judy Crowder; Ages 8 to 15.
School Library Journal11/01/2014
Gr 4–7—Centered on the experiences photographer and diver Jeff Rotman, this set offers exciting insight into the world of sharks. Information on diving, photography, and Rotman's life are interwoven with plenty of facts about the animals he studies. Rotman's high-quality photographs are varied, incorporating insets, full-page images, and two-page spreads. Some are amazing close-up views of sharks; others show the intriguing process of underwater photography. The diver's accounts are woven into the narrative as he describes hitching a ride on a whale shark's fin and other daring exploits. Useful statistics, diagrams, and fact boxes provide details to support the photographer's first-hand experiences. Readers will also learn how a wildlife photographer impacts conservation efforts. With their focus on more spectacular species, Seeking Giant Sharks and Great White Shark have the highest appeal, but all four books are fresh looks at an always popular subject.
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