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The Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest

The Salmon Bears: Giants of the Great Bear Rainforest

by Ian McAllister, Nicholas Read

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Extensively illustrated with Ian McAllister's magnificent photographs, The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the grizzly, black and spirit bears and their natural environment, the last great wilderness along the central coast of British Columbia. Key to this relationship are the salmon that are born in the rivers each spring, who then go


Extensively illustrated with Ian McAllister's magnificent photographs, The Salmon Bears explores the delicate balance that exists between the grizzly, black and spirit bears and their natural environment, the last great wilderness along the central coast of British Columbia. Key to this relationship are the salmon that are born in the rivers each spring, who then go out to sea as juveniles and return as adults to spawn and die, completing a cycle of life that ensures the survival of not only their own species but also virtually every other plant and animal in the rainforest. In clear language suitable for young readers, the authors describe the day-to-day activities that define the lives of these bears through the four seasons. But this is also very much the story of the Great Bear Rainforest--a vast tract of land that stretches from the northern tip of Vancouver Island to the Alaska border and contains some of the largest stands of old-growth forest left on the West Coast. The Salmon Bears focuses on the interconnectedness of all life in the rainforest and makes a strong case for the importance of protecting this vital ecological resource.

Editorial Reviews

"A fascinating book about the black, Spirit and grizzly bears of the Great Bear Rainforest...This book should be placed in every elementary classroom in North America."
The Barrie Advance
"Incredible photographs and captivating text will enthrall nature lovers ages nine and up, including adults. A must read about these fascinating Canadian bears. "
The Vancouver Sun
"Has something to offer all ages."
PSLA Top Forty
"In addition to learning a lot about bears, readers will gain knowledge about the ecology of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia...McAllister's photography is spectacular."
The Globe and Mail
"This excellent book…[has] a sprightly narrative that takes the reader through a year in the life of a bear…The illustrations for this book, a plentitude of photographs…are nothing short of gorgeous."
Quill & Quire
[Starred review] "A thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening read. The text's kid-friendly, informal tone helps steer the way through a mass of information…The Salmon Bears shines a spotlight on a precious national treasure and makes an impassioned case for protecting its future."
"Plentiful, well-captioned photographs capture bears and other animals in this lush landscape…The attractive format, with plenty of good-sized color photographs, and the informal, inviting tone make this a solid choice for browsers as well as school reports."
Canadian Children's Book News
"Close-up shots of bears in the wilderness are endlessly fascinating…An engaging book, written in a chatty, friendly tone that would be pleasing to read aloud."
Resource Links
"Spectacular, appealing photographs appear on almost every page, enhancing the fact-filled dialogue. The bears look almost friendly and very photogenic!...Written in an appealing, lyrical style, this excellent book is appropriate for both early intermediate readers and older research students...This text should prove to be a popular addition."
Canadian Teacher
"Illustrated with stunning photographs of the wolves and bears that live in the Great Bear Rainforest on the western edge of Canada...[Sea Wolves and Salmon Bears] would be useful for classroom units on animals, ecology, [and] wilderness conservation."
CM Magazine
"The exceptional qualities of the Great Bear Rainforest will begin to captivate young readers on first glimpse…Each turn of the page brings you face to face with the bears…An engaging and valuable read. With so much at stake, its urgent messages are worth repeating for every generation. Highly Recommended."
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This Canadian product (watch for the use of metric measures) studies the inhabitants and ecosystems of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia. It also provides extensive and intriguing information about the interdependency of bears and other inhabitants of this rainforest biome. There are many "Bear Facts" scattered throughout the book in sidebars that will intrigue young naturalists. Bear trivia such as the fact that grizzly bears are named for their "grizzled" (multi-colored) coat not their grisly habits, should intrigue your readers. In addition to the seasonal exploration of the habits of black bears, grizzlies, and spirit bears (once thought to be southern polar bears), authors McAllister and Read explain the interdependence of the bears and their ecosystem. The authors also explain how bears can be genetically different from one another. Especially interesting when looking at the overall message of this book is its discussion of the spawning habits of salmon, a favored food of the B.C. bears, and how they nourish both bears and the land. However, the salmon are being endangered by the infestation of a tiny pest known as sea lice that could bring the entire food chain to its knees. The chatty, accessible writing style will inform readers, while the remarkably beautiful photos of the bears and their habitat make this a visually gratifying book. Included in the book are other environmental contacts and an index. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Read's conversational text and McAllister's excellent photos provide a perfect framework for this evocative look at the big bears of the Great Bear Rainforest of British Columbia, and an intriguing investigation of its ecological pattern of dependency. The authors present a round of seasons from one winter to the next, touching upon such topics as the effects of fish farms on wild salmon populations, what happens during a salmon run, and what the future may hold for the fish, the bears, and the Great Bear Rainforest itself. Extensive bear data on size, diet, range, habitat, and family life (sows and cubs) is sure to please most researchers. Sections on "Spirit Bears" (a genetically different group of "white" black bears), and the descriptions of the complex web of life created by an old, established specialized habitat round out the presentation. Information boxes consist of one question and an answer ("Is the Spirit Bear related to the polar bear?). Superbly readable, informative, and attractive, this book provides a clear picture of a pristine environment and its major inhabitants, both of which are under pressure from human encroachment.—Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY

Product Details

Orca Book Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
1130L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Ian McAllister is an award-winning photographer and author of six books, including The Salmon Bears, The Sea Wolves and The Great Bear Sea (all with Nicholas Read). He is the founding director of Pacific Wild, a Canadian nonprofit wildlife conservation group. For more information, visit www.pacificwild.org.

Nicholas Read is the author of six books for children including three about the Great Bear Rainforest. He is a former journalist who now teaches journalism at Langara College in Vancouver. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with two rescued cats.

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