Children's LiteratureIn a fascinating and unique phenomenon of nature, salmon always return to their birthplace to spawn and die. The Sockeye Salmon in this story was born in a freshwater river in Washington state and lived in the Pacific Ocean for three years before returning to the Cedar River. The reader learns how his color and shape change as he begins to return home, how the scent of algae and fish from his birthplace guide him, and how he grows teeth and a hump on his back to fight other males. For a book that goes into such detail about the process, there is unfortunately very little included about how the male salmon fertilizes the eggs laid by the female. The illustrations are large and colorful and the large-print text is easy to understand. Sockeye's Journey is much more readable than an encyclopedia entry about salmon, but it does not have the pull and excitement of a real story. Part of the Smithsonian Oceanic Collection, it is very much like an interesting and informative museum exhibit. 2000, Soundprints,
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 3-This fictionalized account of a salmon's journey from the Pacific Ocean to the spawning grounds describes the difficulties of the trip. Sockeye must elude various predators including bears, ospreys, and humans. During the arduous swim, his body changes in preparation for reproduction. An author's note emphasizes how human activities have drastically reduced the sockeye salmon population. Popeo's artwork is adequate but static. In fact, the entire production looks as though it were designed chiefly to supplement teaching units. If demand for books on the topic exceeds supply, this could serve as an adequate introduction. Bruce McMillan's Salmon Summer (Houghton, 1998) provides an Alaskan-native perspective on the salmon run and uses photos instead of paintings to illustrate events.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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